Facilities for disabled in hotels by Sept next

Facilities for disabled in hotels by Sept next

All hotels will have to comply with the directive by September 1, 2010, according to the norms for approval of hotel projects and guidelines for classification of hotels, which have been reviewed after a gap of six years. Thus, every hotel will now have to comply with accessibility requirements, special rooms with bathrooms and facilities in public areas for the differently abled persons, if it wants to be approved by the ministry of tourism. “As against the popular perception, the only requirement for differently abled tourists is not ramp access to structures. They also need special bathrooms and facilities in public areas, such as a minimum one-metre wide lobby and rooms earmarked for them on the ground floor,” tourism secretary Sujit Banerjee said.

The new guidelines have also taken into account the issues of security and safety of tourists. In fact, one of the major reasons for the review of  norms was the changing requirements of international and domestic travellers and emerging safety and security consciousness in view of the recent incidents in the country, according to the tourism ministry officials.

Depending on the star category, hotels are now required to have metal detectors, CCTVs, X-Ray machines, under-belly scanners to screen vehicles, verification of staff and suppliers, among other requirements.

Banerjee said the new guidelines also had taken into account the issue of rampant construction in hill stations. “No construction will be allowed if they do not take into account local ethos, ecology and architecture in environmentally fragile areas,” he said. Also, in Grade A cities — Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad/ Secunderabad and Delhi/NRC — hotels would be required to offer more types of cuisine and number of food and beverage outlets compared to other cities, which will be considered Grade B cities.

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