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Adventure Tourism  for the Physically Challenged
Travel

Adventure Tourism for the Physically Challenged

For 15% of the population who suffer from a physical disability, being a tourist is not much of a leisure activity, but rather arduous and riddled with challenges.
The obstacles range from the simplest, such as choosing a suitable means of transportation and finding an appropriate place to stay, to more complex like the lack of accessible tourist attractions and recreation centers.
Tourism for the physically challenged is often overlooked and little attention is paid to their needs when it comes to designing tourism infrastructures, as Donya-e Eghtesad magazine reports.
Traveling and entertainment may seem less important compared to other major difficulties physically challenged individuals have to deal with, yet it is of great significance as it has an undeniable impact on their motivation and life expectancy.
The seemingly insurmountable challenges have not, however, stopped a group of disabled adventurers to stand up to the limitations of their disabilities and experience Adventure Tourism.
Saeed Zarouri, a master’s degree student of English teaching, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, can list numerous excitingly risky and adventurous experiences like flying small, ultra-light, rotary aircrafts such as the Cessna or Gyrocopter, paragliding, scuba diving, canoeing, and many more.
He has established a society and a website called IADT (Iranian Adventurers with Disabilities Team).  The organization is aimed at portraying the abilities of the physically challenged and promoting a more vivacious lifestyle.
Personal satisfaction and changing the view of society toward physical disabilities are the main drivers Zarouri cites for establishing the group.
He and other members of the group, Mohammad Shad-Moghadam, Hossein Hajiha, and Mani Rezaee, traveled to Kish Island on their first team adventure to go scuba diving in the Persian Gulf.
“It was a difficult journey but worth doing,” Zarouri says thanking Ehsan Mazloumi-Fard, the scuba diving trainer, without whom, he emphasizes, the experience would  not have been possible.
Giant Swing was one of their most adventurous activities, which seemed impossible to undertake in Iran, yet they accomplished it in Hameloon valley, in Meygoon, near Tehran.
The IAD team intends on expanding their activities to other areas. Zarouri says he has always sought to design and produce required equipment for their adventures.
He explains he has designed a special ski for the physically challenged based on foreign models and with Bahram Taghinejad set to make the ski, they will soon be able to add skiing to their list of adventure sports.

  Expansion
As part of IAD’s quest to expand, on the suggestion of one of its members, they have recently formed a broader group called Bama, which in Persian stands for ‘Adventurer’s Convictions’.
Bama members want to set an example for others, with or without disabilities, that “disability is only a difference and it is possible to enjoy every moment of life despite the limitations it imposes.”
Membership of Bama is not restricted to physically challenged people and anybody can send their request to join via the group’s website at: www.iadt.ir
The group selects the activities based on various factors including accessibility, cost, safety, the season and the climate, health issues and their related necessities and requirements.
Experiencing an activity in the group facilitates the whole process for all participants, many of whom are unable to do so, on their own. Besides, having such group experience reduces the expenses to a significant extent.
The country’s social services or ‘Behzisti’ is currently in talks with disability specialists KTMA to begin a national project to re-assess public parks and tourist hotspots. This project aims to encompass the major accessibility points for both the disabled and senior tourists, who form the majority of international visitors to the country.    
Inadequate transport adapted to the needs of the handicapped as well as rest rooms, elevators, platforms in public places such as shopping centers, and also improper accommodation even in multi-star hotels, resting places, and lodges are among the reasons which cause the physically challenged to wipe tourism off their list of activities.

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