The Accessible Qatar Conference concluded with an awards ceremony recognising the most accessible venues in Qatar for the mobility impaired. Held at the Intercontinental Doha the City and supported by Qatar Tourism Authority, the ceremony was attended by key government figures, developers, and representatives from winning venues, which included five-star hotels, shopping malls, tourist attractions, parks and recreational areas.
Held as part of Project Qatar, the 14th International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition, the two-day Accessible Qatar Conference aimed to raise awareness about accessibility, encourage knowledge sharing, and influence project developers to make existing and future venues accessible to the disabled.
Accessible Qatar is an initiative of Sasol, a leading international integrated chemicals and energy company participating for the first time as the Accessibility Partner to Project Qatar, Sasol has been a driving force in the conversation around accessibility since the launch of its Definitely Able program in 2012. With the help of an international accessibility expert, Sasol has audited close to 100 venues in Qatar so far, making accessibility information available through the globally awarded app <Accessible Qatar> which is available for download in all stores, free of charge.
During the award ceremony, Vuyo Kahla, Executive Vice President Advisory & Assurance at Sasol, Phinda Vilakazi, President GTL Ventures at Sasol in Qatar, together with Saif Al Kuwari, Director of PR and Communication at Qatar Tourism Authority bestowed trophies for accessibility on winners in five categories:
Trophies for the most accessible 5-star hotel for the mobility impairment were awarded to Intercontinental Doha The City, Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park, The Torch Doha, The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa and Al Rayyan Hotel Doha. Movenpick Westbay received a certificate in recognition of its specific efforts to address the needs of the visually impaired community.
Trophies for the most accessible shopping venue for mobility impairment were awarded to the Mall of Qatar, The Gate Mall and Gulf Mall.
The trophy for the most accessible tourist attraction for mobility impairment was awarded to the Museum of Islamic Art. Katara Cultural Village received a certificate recognising its dedication toward improving accessibility, in general, at its premises.
The trophy for the most accessible park & recreation venue for mobility impairment was awarded to Al Khor Park.
Lastly, the trophy for the most accessible stand at Project Qatar Exhibition 2017 was awarded to the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Saif Al Kuwari, Director of PR and Communication, Qatar Tourism Authority said:
We are pleased to have this opportunity to recognise the country’s pioneering venues that have demonstrated their commitment to accessibility. By supporting the first Accessible Qatar Conference and its accompanying awards ceremony, we have created a new platform for stakeholders along the value chain to explore creating visitor experiences that are authentic, enjoyable and accessible to all. I would like to congratulate all those who have received an award today, and encourage them to continue inspiring their peers and setting new industry standards in the field of accessibility.’
Early last year, QTA introduced a new hotel grading and classification system which directly links the number of stars a hotel has with how accessible it is. QTA also has a regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs.
Commenting on the winners, Charlotte Mokoena, Executive Vice President HR & Corporate Affairs at Sasol said:
We are proud to see a growing number of stakeholders investing resources to build an inclusive society in Qatar. Accessibility is a pillar of a sustainable city providing access to both its residents and visitors and is an important priority of Sasol and its Accessible Qatar initiative. Today’s most accessible venue winners are leading the way to make Qatar a better place for people with disabilities and are examples of good practices. I would like to thank all winners for their tremendous efforts to make their venue as accessible as possible.’
Sasol has developed the Accessible Qatar initiative in partnership with The Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Tourism Authority, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Mada, and Shafallah Center, and in close collaboration with Qatar Social & Cultural Center for the Blind, and The Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf, the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, and the UNESCO Doha Office.
More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.