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Seoul to revamp into 'disabled-friendly' city by 2022

Posted August. 23, 2017 08:50,   

Updated August. 23, 2017 09:04


Seoul will transform into a tourism destination where physically challenged people in wheelchairs, seniors with mobility problems, and families with strollers can tour with ease. On Tuesday, the Seoul city government announced that it will redesign the city into a "disabled-friendly city" with 15.2 billion won of investment made for the next five years until 2022. The plan is to provide "tour welfare" to increasing number of aging population and attract more family tourists.

Six tourist zones including Myeongdong and Itaewon will be reshaped into "universal designed" facilities customized to tourists regardless of their age, physical conditions, language and others. Twenty new facilities will be added every year in these areas. For instance, ramps will replace stairs for easier access to seniors. In addition, private businesses such as hotels or restaurants will receive up to 9 million won of subsidies when they adopt the "universal design," and up to 50 million won for public facilities operated by municipalities.

Furthermore, more buses specially designed for physically challenged passengers will be operated with designated seats and lifts. In addition, a system will take place to share buses for physically challenged passengers operated by community welfare centers when they are not in use. Until now, seven out of a total of 35 centers with these buses announced to participate.

Ten new customized tour courses will be developed every year, tailored to suit the needs of physically challenged and visually/auditory impaired persons, seniors, and families with infants and children. Also, a certificate system will be established for disability-free tourism attractions and facilities. The new Seoul tourist guide book will also feature toilets for the disabled at major tourism facilities in pictograms.

What's more, the "Disability-free Tourist Center" will open in the first half of 2018 to provide a one-stop service for disabled, from tour facility reservation to car renting. The city plans to propose a revision on laws that mandate car rental companies and accommodations to secure cars and rooms specifically customized for disabled customers.

Jeong-Soo Hong hong@donga.com