Posted on October 15, 2017

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has partnered with the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs to organise a series of training courses that will enable members of the hospitality sector to provide disabled guests with seamless experiences, in line with QTA’s Hotel Grading and Classification System.

The initiative will empower those who work in hotel establishments to provide the highest standards of service members of the disabled community, and to enhance their guests’ stay at any of Qatar’s hotels or hotel apartments, by ensuring that the physical and digital infrastructure is available to support their needs. According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, accessibility is a key component of the Hotel Grading and Classification System, which was released by QTA in early 2016. The system directly ties the number of stars a hotel establishment has with how accessible it is.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs to deliver this training to members of the hospitality sector,” commented Al Ibrahim. “As the entity responsible for regulating the tourism and hospitality sector, QTA spares no effort to ensure that the needs of all community members are taken into consideration in the development of the sector. Thanks to similar initiatives and partnerships, as well as the efforts of developers, inspectors and hospitality staff, Qatar’s hospitality sector offers the best guest experience in the Gulf region, according to the Olery Guest Experience in the Middle East Report for the years 2016 and 2017.” 

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Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, stressed that the collaboration with QTA comes among a series of similar initiatives to ensure members of sectors across the country are able to support the needs of disabled members of the community, in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030. The Society’s aim is to ensure as many people as possible are equipped with the knowledge and skills to support those with special needs, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which Qatar signed in 2008.

Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani added that the Society would be providing the training to members of the hospitality sector via experts and specialists in the field of disability, stressing that the Society’s aim is to train members of all key sectors of the country within two years. The recipients of the training are prepared to support people with motor, visual and hearing disabilities, as well as mental and behavourial disabilities. He added that the Society works to “raise awareness about the different kinds of disability and the support required depending on the type  of physical disability, as well the skills needed to support members of the community with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder. Members of the hospitality sector who complete the training successfully will be awarded a certificate that is valid for one year, and can be renewed every year following additional training.”

QTA had recently collaborated with Sasol’s Accessible Qatar initiative to hold a workshop for tourism inspectors, who were trained on auditing hospitality establishments. QTA inspectors work with hotel establishments to ensure they uphold the highest standards of accessibility.