Friday, October 08, 2010

Making Egypt 'accessible' for tourists

The Daily News Egypt (Tamim Elyan)

Claudia Ehlers has always dreamed of seeing the pyramids – a dream dismissed by almost everyone she told given the challenges she would face as a physically challenged tourist.

“But I followed my dream in defiance of all difficulties,” Ehlers said.
The German tourist stayed in Egypt for eight days and went on a safari trip on Al-Ryan Lake in her wheelchair. She says her trip exceeded all expectations.

“Everything was so unbelievable, so experience-rich, so fantastic and most importantly so problem-free,” she said, describing her trip.

Ehlers’ adventure started at Cairo Airport where she was carried off the plane by two men. “I was carried out of the airplane in a manner I never experienced before, namely without any utilities; normally the transport in and out of the plane is done with a very small chair, but here it seemed that they didn’t have anything like that. I worried about the two men who carried me because I’m not very light weighted but then I saw a wheelchair in front of the plane.”

Ehlers visited the Cairo Tower where she was helped by her tour guide up the tower to enjoy the view from the top. The next day she paid the pyramids a visit.

The highlight of her trip was when Ehlers gave up her wheelchair and took a ride on a camel with the help of her guide.

Ehlers’ seamless trip was made possible by Egypt for All, the only Egyptian travel agency dedicated to physically challenged tourists, designing programs specifically to cater to their needs.

Established by Sherif El-Hendi and Martin Gaballah in 1999 as an associate of Grabo-tours in Germany, Egypt for All comprises a professional staff devoted to the services of the physically challenged tourist.

El-Hendi received his first delegation in 1999 formed of six tourists on wheelchairs and his client list has been only growing ever since.

No comments: