Globally, it is estimated that there are over 1 billion persons with disabilities, as well as more than 2 billion people, such as spouses, children and caregivers of persons with disabilities, representing almost a third of the world’s population, are directly affected by disability. While this signifies a huge potential market for travel and tourism, it still remains vastly under-served due to inaccessible travel and tourism facilities and services, as well as discriminatory policies and practices.
Accessible tourism enables all people to participate in and enjoy tourism experiences. More people have access needs, whether or not related to a physical condition. For example, older and less mobile people have access needs, which can become a huge obstacle when traveling or touring. Thus, accessible tourism is the ongoing endeavour to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. This inludes publicly and privately owned tourist locations, facilities and services.
Accessible tourism involves a collaborative process among all stakeholders, Governments, international agencies, tour-operators and end-users, including persons with disabilities and their organizations (DPOs). A successful tourism product requires effective partnerships and cooperation across many sectors at the national, regional and international levels. From idea to implementation, a single destination visit normally involves many factors, including accessing information, long-distance travel of various sorts, local transportation, accommodation, shopping, and dining. The impact of accessible tourism thus goes beyond the tourist beneficiaries to the wider society, engraining accessibility into the social and economic values of society.
In the recent 2030 Agenda for Global Action containing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015), Goal 11 focuses on principles to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. This goal captures tourism and recreation through its call for the provisions of universal design for accessible and sustainable transport systems, inclusive urbanization, and access to green and public spaces. In its 2011 Declaration,The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicted tourism will increase and experience sustained development, reaching 1.8 billion international tourists by 2030. Accessible cities and tourism provisions therefore ensure the full social and economic inclusion of all persons with direct benefits of promoting more sustainable travel habits among users.
What are the barriers to travel and tourism for persons with disabilities?
For persons with disabilities, travelling can be a challenge, as finding the information on accessible services, checking luggage on a plane, booking a room to fulfil access needs, often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming.
Challenges for persons with disabilities include: • Untrained professional staff capable of informing and advising about accessibility issues • Inaccessible booking services and related websites • Lack of accessible airports and transfer facilities and services • Unavailability of adapted and accessible hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, toilets and public places • Inaccessible streets and transport services • Unavailable information on accessible facilities, services, equipment rentals and tourist attractions
I am not a person with a disability – how does this affect me?
Accessibility is also an important aspect of realizing the rights of the world’s ageing population. As we grow older, our chance of experiencing a permanent or temporary disability is increased. A focus on accessibility can therefore ensure that we are able to participate fully in our societies well into our older years. Accessibility also benefits pregnant women and persons who are temporarily rendered immobile.
The improvements to physical and service infrastructure that come with a focus on accessibility also encourage a more multigenerational focus in development planning. For families with small children, accessible infrastructure – particularly in transportation, city planning and building design – improves the ability of these families to participate in social and cultural activities.
The United Nations is committed to sustainable and equitable development. Certainly, making basic adjustments to a facility, providing accurate information, and understanding the needs of disabled people can result in increased visitor numbers. Improving the accessibility of tourism services increases their quality and their enjoyment for all tourists, as well as improving quality of life in the local communities.
What can GO4BOOKING.NET do?
To facilitate people with disabilities access to the services offered by our partners, we propose the following procedure:
i. Look for the offer that interests you
ii. Before placing your order call our operator to help with booking and related services
Iii. Our operator can place your customized order
Phone: 0721 700 740