The segment of inclusive tourism is actively developing in Russia. Within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, at the round table “Digital economy in tourism as a key factor in the development of the industry” this week, a presentation of a new digital platform aimed at developing an accessible environment in the tourism industry took place.
As told First Vice President of Synergy Corporation Olga Grishchenko, at this stage the project is completely charitable. It is a map of Russia, which in the future will display the entire infrastructure, ready to receive tourists with disabilities. Anyone can add objects to the map, but they will become available to Internet users only after verification.
Now the launch of pilot projects in three regions is being prepared – Yakutia, Voronezh and Kaliningrad regions. The full version will start working in December this year. Next year, the platform will be translated into 40 languages and will become available to foreigners.
According to moderator of the round table of the founder of the Biletarium startup Anisia Evdokimova, the emergence of such online services is one of the main trends in the development of all sectors of the economy, including tourism. She recalled that the national project “Tourism and Hospitality Industry” pays great attention to the digitalization of tourism and the spread of online travel services.
Vice President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers Vadim Prasov considers the emergence of such niche projects as one of the evolutionary paths of the tourism industry. Major players are already beginning to actively segment their product, including by developing inclusive tourism. Thus, the tour operator ANEX Tour at the end of 2019 launched the project “Rest without Borders” – a portal that contains proposals for disabled people in different parts of the world.
According to the expert, the niche of inclusive tourism has recently been actively developing, for example, there is already an application for hearing impaired people. However, this segment is limited both by the number of people with disabilities in general and by those who can afford to travel. “Many of them do not have the financial capacity for tourism. So this niche is pretty highly specialized and will fill up quickly. Ultimately, the one who will be the most competent and offer the most coverage will dominate it. I think one or two strong players will be able to be present in the market, ”Prasov said.
According to Renata Anpilogova, co-founder of the inclusive marketplace of impressions and services Globe4all, in Russia there are more than 11 million people, and in the world there are more than 1 billion people with disabilities. Not all of them use wheelchairs, and many do. And this audience is growing (no one is immune from loss of mobility) – thanks to the development of medicine and technology, more and more people can afford it. For example, today a group of wheelchair users can climb to the mouth of a volcano in Kamchatka with the help of special equipment – a monowheel.
But the development of this segment in our country is limited by the lack of special infrastructure.
“This market has prospects, but the question is where all these people will leave their money. Today, in most cases, the answer is abroad. Choosing between Sochi and Finland, the tourist will not go to Sochi, because there are many steps in the hotels and there are almost no ramps, and the control of the elevator for the disabled is on one side. A wheelchair user will not go to St. Petersburg either, because in winter it is impossible to go outside because of ice and poor cleaning of sidewalks, and many ramps have a slope at an angle of 45 degrees. For comparison, in 10 minutes in the Dubai Mall, we counted 15 people in wheelchairs. Therefore, as soon as the borders open, most tourists will go to Europe and other developed countries in this respect, ”Anpilogov concluded with regret.
Only important. For the pros only.