The famous Candolim Beach in Goa is now on its way to becoming wheelchair-friendly from the 31st of March to the 9th of April. UMOJA, the first travel website in India that supports travel plans for the disabled, has collaborated with NGOs ADAPT and Drishti to come up with this initiative.
Drishti is an organisation that is part of the Tourism Department of Goa, and the primary objective of this initiative is to make the beach accessible to everyone's needs.
In a chat with The Hindu, the President of the Disability Rights Association of Goa, Avelino de Sa, said, "UMOJA has joined hands with disabled persons ’organisations, local shacks, water sports operators, and hotels to transform Candolim Beach into India’s first completely wheelchair-accessible beach."
As part of this, these organisations have installed a boardwalk that starts from the beginning of the beach and leads up to the water, along with a bunch of exclusive wheelchairs that hold the disabled persons so that they can float in the water. The tyres fixed to these chairs support them in such a way that the chairs do not get stuck in the sand.
Yeshwant Holkar, CEO of UMOJA, told Indiatimes, "The wheelchair looks like a beach lounge chair, which lets one feel weightless in water." The organisers expect this special festival to be an ideal example for the governments in India and to prove that there is surplus demand and market for this kind of tourism.
A wheelchair user's guide to Goa is also set up, which covers over 35 hotels, restaurants, and popular tourist attractions. #BeachFest2017 has been trending with respect to this festival.