The Thai government plans to address the Kingdom’s “woefully inadequate” accessible infrastructure, but whether it will make a real difference for locals and tourists alike is debatable, opines the Bangkok Post.
Visitors have returned in their droves to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha after it was temporarily closed for two weeks following the passing of His Majesty the King — Europeans, Chinese and others, many of whom are dressed in dark-coloured clothing. Some of them are also disabled.
Those in wheelchairs can move slowly over steel ramps to get inside the temple grounds. Once they are inside, they will surely notice that the walking surface is not even. They will find it difficult to reach any attractions up close or even to pay respects to the Emerald Buddha image inside the ubosot because there are no raised platforms for wheelchairs. There is no slope to help them admire the world’s longest mural depicting the Ramayana epic on the compound walls.
The temple is regarded as one of the most popular attractions in Thailand, and it exemplifies the typical deficiency of facilities that would ensure access for all visitors, able-bodied or otherwise.
The real situation is in contrast to the goal of the government to promote “Tourism for All”, as announced by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Word Tourism Day in September.
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