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Guide to accessible travel in Dubai

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The Dubai Fountain ©DubaiTourism

Dubai caters to visitors of all abilities, including wheelchair users and those with needs, known as ‘people of determination’ in the UAE. In the tourism sector, there has been an ongoing approach to make hotels, as well as sights and attractions accessible, with more plans in the works to improve offerings. Here are some insights for you.

Hassle-free arrivals at Dubai’s airports

As the first point of contact for incoming tourists and travelers, Dubai’s airports are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to their services and facilities.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) cater to all passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility. Some of the services available for people who require special assistance include dedicated check-in areas, complimentary parking for disabled drivers, prioritised drop-off points and wheelchair access. People of determination can also enjoy dedicated lounges at the airport, making their travel experience all the more enjoyable.

The airports are also equipped with specialised ambulifts for passengers who have difficulty navigating aircraft steps when flights land or depart at a distance from the main concourse. To plan ahead and get more information on airport accessibility, contact Dubai Airports via live chat or WhatsApp, or call DXB on +971 4 224 5555 or DWC on +971 4 504 5000.

Experience the city’s famed attractions

A series of initiatives was recently launched by the government to help and empower people of determination, including training programmes aimed at creating a universally welcoming ambience across all touchpoints in the city. A popular one is Dubai College of Tourism’s service-led training course, which equips tourist-facing hospitality employees with the skills they need to provide all customers with superior service. It also highlights the role of empathy and the significance of serving guests with disabilities in the most sensitive manner.

Today, many of the programme’s graduates are employed at hotels across the city, which offer adapted rooms and facilities for guests with disabilities, and empower staff to answer queries and aid in travel arrangements, if required.

Several attractions across the emirate also ensure easy accessibility for all guests. Dubai Municipality has created access to beaches via dedicated pathways – these are built through the sand so wheelchair users can reach the water with ease. The walkways are now at Al Mamzar Creek, Al Mamzar Corniche, Jumeirah 2 and 3, as well as at Umm Suqeim beach. Specially-designed counters are also available at the beaches for visitors with disabilities.

Similarly, public parks have designated parking spaces, complimentary wheelchairs and staff who are trained in sign language. There is also a comprehensive guide to the city’s public parks available in braille for the visually impaired, and disabled-access washrooms at the city’s major sights. For more information on the city’s accessible attractions, contact Dubai Municipality by WhatsApp or chat assistant, or call DM’s Contact Centre on +971 800 900.

People of determination may also benefit from free entry or discounted tickets at a number of leading hotspots such as public parks, waterparks and theme parks. Please reach out to the attraction you are planning to visit to find out the details. 

Explore with ease using public transport

Navigate the city using Dubai Metro, a fully-automated rail system that connects key neighbourhoods and features dedicated spaces for wheelchair users onboard every train. For the visually impaired, there are tactile floors outside every metro station in the city. The stations also have ticket booths with accessible heights, audio-visual cautionary signs for the opening and closing of platform doors, escalators with side-hand rests that stretch along the rail for extra support, and non-slippery sliding paths connecting the car park to the station.

If you’re short on time, get around via taxi. The people of determination taxis are ‘special wheels’ – a public transport service provided by the city’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) for tourists and residents with reduced mobility. Distinguishable by its size, red roof and the universal blue logo, these are highly-equipped vehicles manned by trained drivers. The cars include lifts for wheelchairs, artificial respiratory systems, seats for companions and a wheelchair on board, if required. These taxis are easily available at Dubai Airport’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and can also be booked for journeys across the city by calling the RTA Dispatch Centre on +971 4 208 0808, or by using the Dubai Taxi app on your smartphone.

Meanwhile, visitors looking to explore Dubai with their own wheels will be pleased to know that the city has reserved parking spaces at residential and commercial buildings, as well as elevators near busy footbridges for easy access. Additionally, many junctions feature sliding paths on either side of the pedestrian crosswalk to ensure there is no height difference when crossing roads.

Learn more about travel accessibility in Dubai with our dedicated guide. 

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