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Making travel accessible to differently-abled

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:17 -- geeta.nair

BENGALURU: In order to provide hassle-free travel to the differently-abled, a startup named, Enable Travel was launched in 2017. Based in Mumbai, it covers more than 85 destinations. In India, they have designed itineraries for places such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bombay, Goa, Bangalore, Mysuru and Coorg. All itineraries have been specially designed keeping the disabilities in mind. On an average, they receive 12-15 enquiries every month from Karnataka.
It offers curated holiday packages customised for unique needs of a wheelchair user, the hearing and speech impaired and the visually impaired. They have facilitated travel for over 200 disabled people since December 2017. Their digital campaigns ‘#CanDo Diaries’ and ‘Travel Tales’ have won awards. The idea behind ‘#CanDo Diaries’ is to capture the travel experiences of the differently-abled. On the other hand, ‘Travel Tales’ is an extension of the CanDo spirit, an event organised in different cities to encourage them to come out of their homes and participate in the community to meet their peers and share their travel stories with the world.

Enable Travel powered by Cox & Kings, is led by Debolin Sen and supported by a panel of differently- abled travel experts who understand the requirements of such travellers. They have been the guiding force when it comes to planning the itinerary, locating the right hotels and restaurants. “Today many buildings, offices, public places, tourist destinations and monuments have become disable–friendly but there is more to be done. There is a need to bring about a positive impact on the subject of disability among both the abled and differently-abled,” says Debolin, head of Enable Travel.

Many differently-abled international tourists who wish to travel to India are afraid due to lack of suitable transportation facilities, easily accessible hotel rooms and sightseeing points at tourist destinations. They also face other issues such as improper travel information, lack of wheelchair-friendly transport and apathy of the public, says Debolin. 

The startup has even partnered with airlines, hotels and sight-seeing experts to provide infrastructure and systems customised for the disabled. They bring the abled and the differently-abled together for a fun session under Enable Experiences. Their services include specialised equipment, a fleet of wheelchair accessible vans, experienced guides, caregivers, escorts and sign language interpreters. The range of travel experiences ranges from short hikes and treks to wheelchair-bound diving.

K Rekha, a wheelchair-bound, says, “I began my journey from Bengaluru to Mysuru. From the very first moment, I was fascinated by the comfortable wheelchair accessible vehicle that Enable Travel provided. On the tour, I visited various historical sites that I had never visited before. The hotel I lived in was comfortable. The next day, I even got a chance to visit the Mysore Palace.” Heena Kausar Siddiqui, a hearing impaired, says on her tour, she learned about the Pataleshwar Caves, Dagdusheth Temple and their stories. “I was able to enjoy as they made my tour accessible with a skilled sign language interpreter,” she says.

■ Debolin Sen is a high altitude Himalayan trekker and has travelled to the base camps of Mt Kanchenjunga in Sikkim in 2005 and Mt Everest in Nepal in 2008. He is a travel, media marketing and advertising professional with experience of over 18 years. 
■ Enable Travel has a panel of experts on board who are also differently-abled to plan 
itineraries. The panel of experts include Divyanshu Ganatra (visually-impaired), Dr Alim Chandani (hearing-impaired), Rustom Irani and Shama Noorani (wheelchairbound).  
■  27 million Indians are disabled as per the latest census out of which 20.3 per cent is wheelchair bound, 18.8 per cent is vision impaired, 18.9 per cent is hearing impaired and 7.5 per cent are speech impaired.   
■  For services, contact 1800 266 8002 or visit

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