The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to promote accessible tourism in a bid to help realize a symbiotic society and make it a country where tourists are welcome and can enjoy its attractions safely. This comes in the wake of Tokyo’s successful hosting of the Paralympic Games for the second time, which has helped in raising awareness regarding human diversity.
Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games, local governments took measures to facilitate barrier-free movement and ensure accessibility for travellers of all ages, languages and disabilities. Barrier-free movement encompasses more than accessible stations and facilities. It also includes the availability of barrier-free information, such as advanced signage for those with impaired sight, and “soft” aspects such as mindsets in host communities that are accepting of racial differences or disabilities.
Japan has leveraged a number of recent international sporting events to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to play active roles in society. This has included the promoting of “barrier-free minds,” aimed at encouraging everyone to respect and support each other’s individuality. The Japanese public is being encouraged to dismantle social barriers so that people will feel more relaxed talking with others, including visitors from overseas.
The JNTO website provides general information on accessible tourism, providing tips for those planning to visit Japan. It also aims to provide tourists with an improved experience, including wheelchair users, the visually or hearing impaired, senior citizens and families with young children.
JNTO hopes that the athletes and all others who visited the country during the Olympics and Paralympics experienced some of the country’s famed hospitality, and that they will be eager to return one day—not only to Tokyo or other popular cities, but also to local regions.
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