Posted on May 17, 2017

May 3rd: A line-up of renowned influential speakers are set to speak at the anticipated Accessible Qatar Conference this May

Under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, introduced by Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, under its CSR initiative “Accessible Qatar” and powered by Project Qatar, the 14th International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition, a line-up of high-profile personalities are set to share the stage at the first “Accessible Qatar” conference which is aimed at raising awareness about accessibility, encouraging knowledge-sharing, and influencing project developers toward making existing and future venues accessible. Project Qatar is the leading construction exhibition in the country organized by IFP Qatar, a member of IFP Group (International Fairs & Promotions).

Taking place during 08-09 May 2017, the conference will bring together local, regional and international leaders, policy makers and experts in the accessibility field.

Local Speakers

  • Nasser Al Maslamani, Director of Planning and Quality, Qatar Tourism Authority
  • Najla Al Obaidan, Senior Architect, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
  • Ameer Al Mulla, Executive Director, Qatar Paralympic Committee (QPC)
  • Abdulla G Ali, Senior Manager Terminal Operations, Hamad International Airport
  • Mohammed Al Fehaida, MADA Communications and Marketing Officer.
  • Mike Park, E-Accessibility Expert, Mada Center
  • Ahmed Habib, Policy Expert, Mada Center
  • Nabil Robert Barakat, General Manager, AURA Entertainment – KidzMondo Doha

Regional Speakers

  • Morné Fourie, Vice President, DXB Entertainments the parent company of Dubai Parks and Resorts, UAE
  • Issam Azouri, Communications Advisor

International Speakers

  • Martin Heng, Accessible Travel Manager and Editorial Adviser at Lonely Planet
  • Hideto Kijima, President of Japan Accessible Tourism Center
  • Isabella Menichini Head of Tourism and Marketing of the Milan Municipality
  • Mark Todd, Principle Accessibility Consult, expert to Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Rio 2016
  • Guy Davies, Managing Director, Disability Solutions (Pty) South Africa
  • Bill Forester, Founder,TravAbility Travel, Australia
  • Jane Stoneham, Director of The Sensory Trust

Ranging from Architecture and Design to Sports, the conference will tackle a variety of crucial and interesting topics, aiming to showcase the importance of incorporating accessibility in all sectors of the economy, thereby empowering the disabled community in Qatar. Moreover, a media workshop, shedding light on the role of communication in promoting accessibility, will be conducted involving several journalists representing various sectors of Qatar’s media industry.

The speakers at the conference will shed light on the following topics:

  • Accessible tourism for all: Examining global concepts and identifying new approaches and initiatives for sustainable accessible tourism
  • Eden project Case study - accessible architectural designs and implementation
  • Importance of Accessibility and the role of media in promoting it
  • How to improve fan experience for people with disabilities. Case study on different elements and new development ideas on making World Cup 2022 accessible for all
  • Accessibility inside work place
  • Theme Park Accessibility: Case study of accessibility implementation best practices.

Commenting on the announcement, Phinda Vilakazi, President GTL Ventures at Sasol in Qatar said, “Sasol believes that accessibility is an integral part in achieving an inclusive society. Following the success of the 2015 Definitely Able Conference, we are keen on providing the best experts and practitioners in the accessibility field to showcase their valuable insight, enriching and broadening the horizons of the various attendees. Sasol has been a firm believer in empowering the disabled community and through the Accessible Qatar Conference, we will strive to continuously make a positive impact in the local society, following our corporate head office in South Africa. Sasol thanks IFP for their ongoing support on this event and look forward to build on the success that the Accessible Qatar initiative has achieved, in line with the National Vision 2030.”

George Ayache, General Manager of IFP Qatar said, “The Accessible Qatar Conference proves to be a strategic venue to help increase awareness on the importance of accessibility, especially in the efforts to urge Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to lead normal lives. The event proves to be both timely and strategic for us as we continue to provide the disabled community with comprehensive tools that can help them in their day-to-day activities. Our partnership with Sasol, and support for the event complements our vision to play a key role in society’s further growth and development, particularly putting key focus on the needs of the disabled. We are confident that this two-day conference will result in more project developers taking action in ensuring that their future and current facilities are accessible to the disabled.”

Accessible Qatar builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able initiative. The concept for the initiative grew out of an engaging session called “Finding the Accessible Doha” held during the Definitely Able Conference in March 2015, where disabled individuals from around Qatar, the region and the world discussed inclusion for people with disability as full members of society.

Sasol has developed the Accessible Qatar initiative in partnership with The Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Tourism Authority, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Mada, and Shafallah Center, and in close collaboration with Qatar Social & Cultural Center for the Blind, and The Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf, the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, and the UNESCO Doha Office.

The Accessible Qatar conference will bring unique educational experiences, thorough insight from prestigious speakers, exclusive workshops and trainings, prospective networking and greater opportunities for the disabled individuals in Qatar. More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website (www.AccessibleQatarConference.com) and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.​

The Accessible Qatar Conference 1 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

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May 7th: QTA announces partnership with Sasol for first ever Accessible Qatar Conference

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced its partnership with Sasol for the first ever Accessible Qatar Conference being held on May 8th and 9that the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). The conference will run over the first two days of the 14th Project Qatar exhibition, leveraging the biggest construction fair in Qatar as a platform for industry players to explore development that puts accessibility first.

Project developers, owners, managers and operators will meet with more than a dozen international accessibility experts to discuss enhancing accessibility at existing and future venues. The Conference’s opening session will be hosted by QTA and will focus on sustainable and accessible tourism. Guest speakers from Japan, Australia and Italy will discuss best practices from their respective accessible cities and the marketing strategies that make destinations attractive and viable for people with disabilities. With sustainability in mind, the session will cover steps for improving, maintaining and developing consistent accessibility efforts.

Accessible Qatar builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able initiative. The concept for the initiative grew out of an engaging session called “Finding the Accessible Doha” held during the Definitely Able Conference in March 2015, where disabled individuals from across Qatar, the region and the world discussed inclusion for people with disability as full members of society. QTA’s support for the Accessible Qatar conference comes as an extension of its partnership with Sasol in the development of the ‘Accessible Qatar’ application last year.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer commented, “QTA is delighted to partner with Sasol for the Accessibility Qatar Conference, which promotes our shared vision for enhancing accessibility for disabled individuals in Qatar, whether visitors or residents, at the country’s numerous touristic, commercial, hospitality and leisure venues.”

Al Ibrahim added, “QTA has a regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs. We believe that achieving our goals is made possible when we engage with the public and private sector to promote our country’s development from within, and we are pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with Sasol and its partners on this initiative.”

QTA works to ensure that tourism and hotel establishments in Qatar operate at the highest standards. As part of its mandate to regulate the tourism sector, a hotel classification system was launched in January 2016, paving the way for a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and accessible hospitality sector. This system, which includes extensive accessibility criteria, holds developers, owners, management and operators accountable for the property’s classification.

Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol said, “Sasol is proud to partner with Qatar Tourism Authority for the Accessible Qatar Conference 2017. Ever since the Definitely Able Conference in 2015, Sasol has been dedicated to showcasing accessibility in the local community. We decided this year to extend our message to the project developers, who play a big role in enhancing the existing and upcoming infrastructure around the country, to accommodate the disabled community. Sasol is a firm believer in the National Vision 2030 and we are committed in contributing towards making Qatar an international accessible destination. We thank Qatar Tourism Authority for their ongoing support and we look forward to building on the success that has been achieved.”

The Accessible Qatar conference will bring unique educational experiences, expert insight from prestigious speakers, exclusive workshops and trainings, prospective networking and greater opportunities for the disabled individuals in Qatar. More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website (www.AccessibleQatarConference.com) and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.​

The Accessible Qatar Conference 2 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

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May 8th: The Accessible Qatar Conference kick-off

Under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Accessible Qatar Conference organized by Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, and powered by IFP was officially inaugurated by Nasser Al Maslamani, Director of Planning and Quality, Qatar Tourism Authority and Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol.

The conference is taking place on 08-09 May, during Project Qatar, the 14th International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.  More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website (www.AccessibleQatarConference.com) and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under @DefinitelyAble), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.

The Accessible Qatar Conference 3 [qatarisbooming.com].jpg

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May 10th: Accessible Qatar awards Qatar’s most accessible venues

The Accessible Qatar Conference concluded with an awards ceremony recognising the most accessible venues in Qatar for the mobility impaired. Held at the Intercontinental Doha the City and supported by Qatar Tourism Authority, the ceremony was attended by key government figures, developers, and representatives from winning venues, which included five-star hotels, shopping malls, tourist attractions, parks and recreational areas.

Held as part of Project Qatar, the 14th International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition, the 2-day Accessible Qatar Conference aimed to raise awareness about accessibility, encourage knowledge sharing, and influence project developers to make existing and future venues accessible to the disabled.

Accessible Qatar is an initiative of Sasol, a leading international integrated chemicals and energy company participating for the first time as the Accessibility Partner to Project Qatar, Sasol has been a driving force in the conversation around accessibility since the launch of its Definitely Able program in 2012. With the help of an international accessibility expert, Sasol has audited close to 100 venues in Qatar so far, making accessibility information available through the globally awarded app <Accessible Qatar> which is available for download in all stores, free of charge.

During the award ceremony, Vuyo Kahla, Executive Vice President Advisory & Assurance at Sasol, Phinda Vilakazi, President GTL Ventures at Sasol in Qatar, together with Saif Al Kuwari, Director of PR and Communication at Qatar Tourism Authority bestowed trophies for accessibility on winners in five categories: Trophies for the most accessible 5-star hotel for the mobility impairment were awarded to Intercontinental Doha The City, Marriott Marquis, Crowne Plaza, The Torch, The Westin and AlRayyan Hotel Doha. Movenpick Westbay received a certificate in recognition of its specific efforts to address the needs of the visually impaired community.

Trophies for the most accessible shopping venue for mobility impairment were awarded to the Mall of Qatar, The Gate Mall and Gulf Mall. The trophy for the most accessible tourist attraction for mobility impairment was awarded to The Museum of Islamic Art.Katara Cultural Village received a certificate recognizing its dedication toward improving accessibility, in general, at its premises. The trophy for the most accessible park & recreation venue for mobility impairment was awarded to Al Khor Park. Lastly, the trophy for the most accessible stand at Project Qatar Exhibition 2017 was awarded to the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Saif Al Kuwari, Director of PR and Communication, Qatar Tourism Authority said, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to recognise the country’s pioneering venues that have demonstrated their commitment to accessibility. By supporting the first Accessible Qatar Conference and its accompanying awards ceremony, we have created a new platform for stakeholders along the value chain to explore creating visitor experiences that are authentic, enjoyable and accessible to all. I would like to congratulate all those who have received an award today, and encourage them to continue inspiring their peers and setting new industry standards in the field of accessibility.”

Early last year, QTA introduced a new hotel grading and classification system which directly links the number of stars a hotel has with how accessible it is. QTA also has a regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs.

Commenting on the winners, Charlotte Mokoena, Executive Vice President HR & Corporate Affairs at Sasol said: “We are proud to see a growing number of stakeholders investing resources to build an inclusive society in Qatar. Accessibility is a pillar of a sustainable city providing access to both its residents and visitors and is an important priority of Sasol and its Accessible Qatar initiative. Today’s most accessible venue winners are leading the way to make Qatar a better place for people with disabilities and are examples of good practices. I would like to thank all winners for their tremendous efforts to make their venue as accessible as possible.”

Sasol has developed the Accessible Qatar initiative in partnership with The Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Tourism Authority, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Mada, and Shafallah Center, and in close collaboration with Qatar Social & Cultural Center for the Blind, and The Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf, the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, and the UNESCO Doha Office.

More information can be found on the Accessible Qatar Conference website (www.AccessibleQatarConference.com) and on the Definitely Able social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), where users can keep tabs on the latest developments.

 

 

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