The Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul Tourism Organization (President & CEO Kil Ki-yon) announced that the new tourism services for tourists with reduced mobility was implemented in November 2022. The services, provided through Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism Center, include the airport pickup for wheelchair users and the online reservation system for the free rentals of assistive devices. The services aim for the travelers who may require additional help while traveling, such as people with disabilities, the elderly, expectant mothers, and children.
Started in November this year, the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism airport pickup services take tourists with mobility disabilities for both Koreans and foreign nationals from the Incheon International Airport to accommodations in Seoul using wheelchair-accessible Danurim minivans.
Any tourist group that includes at least one wheelchair user can book airport pickup services through the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism website (www.seouldanurim.net/en). Booking parties must also separately purchase travel insurance, and once purchased, must then submit evidentiary documentation via email.
The standard fee for the pickup service is KRW 50,000, but additional fees to cover fuel, tolls, parking, and other costs also apply. Unlike the Danurim Tour, which is a separate Danurim minivan service that only operates until the early evening, the airport pickup service operates around the clock on a 24-hour basis. By providing night time transportation, the new service is expected to dramatically improve the convenience and mobility of wheelchair users, making their visits to Seoul a much more satisfying experience.
The center offers the free rental of travel assistive devices with a noticeable improvement. Device reservations can now be made directly on the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism website.
Rental items include manual wheelchairs, shower chairs, shower wheelchairs, mobility lifts, portable ramps, and strollers. Regardless of the item or quantity of items, each reservation is limited to a maximum of 15 days. Reservations must be made at least two weeks before the start of the rental period through their website.
The rental of travel assistive devices is free of charge. Rented items can be delivered to and picked up from accommodations throughout Seoul, which is also free of charge. However, a deposit must be made on the day the rented items are initially picked up. The deposit is fully refunded at the end of the rental period upon the safe return of the rented items.
A French tourist, Lucie Guyot, used the new airport pickup service and travel assistive device rental services during the June pilot operation of the program. She said of her experience, “It’s a long trip from France to Korea, so you really need a strong resolve to travel if you are someone with a disability. But since I was made aware of the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism Center, I felt confident visiting Korea, and I was very highly satisfied with the services I received, from booking to use, so much so that I will be returning to Korea for another visit next year and will be using the Danurim Accessible Tourism Service again.”
The Seoul Tourism Organization will continue to discover barrier-free destinations and develop accessible tour courses, as well as improve the physical accessibility for both general tourists and overseas travelers with reduced mobility.
The first such Suggested Itineraries featured on the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism website is the "Wheelchair-friendly One-day Seoul Tour in Traditional Theme," a one-day tour course that includes stops at Namsangol Hanok Village and the Seoul Museum of Craft Art.
Compared to the Bukchon Hanok Village, the most well-known traditional Korean village in Seoul, Namsangol Hanok Village has a flatter terrain and is less crowded, making it easier to navigate in a wheelchair. The Seoul Museum of Craft Art was included as part of the course as a prototype of Seoul’s "universal urban design" initiative.
All of the eateries included in the recommended course are wheelchair-accessible and many of them are certified by the Seoul Tourism Organization as Universal Tourism Facilities, a designation given to wheelchair accessible tourist attractions, highlighting the fact that this traditional-themed tour course was designed to be accessible to all.
"Inquiries about the Seoul Danurim Accessible Tourism Center are increasing as more overseas visitors come to Seoul," noted Lee Kyung-Jae of the Seoul Tourism Organization’s Citizen Tourism Team. "The Seoul Tourism Organization will continue to develop custom services that will enable international travelers with reduced mobility to enjoy all that Seoul has to offer without being limited by physical barriers.”