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A Turning Point in the Future of Accessible Travel - Commentary by Bill Forrester

08/02/2011 | 0 comments

We are at a critical turning point in the future of Accessible Tourism.

Over the past 20 years the advocacy concentration has been on breaking down the physical barriers that were preventing people with a disability the basic right of access to their favourite holiday destinations.

25 years ago Rick Hansen embarked on his now famous "Man in Motion" world tour and while that tour was highly successful in raising money its main purpose was to raise awareness of the capabilities of people with a disability if the physical barriers were removed.

While there are still inaccessible washrooms in 34 countries access has improved to a point where today most people have almost unlimited options of accessible tourist destinations.

So why are we at a turning point?

While the emphasis on accessible facilities has seen a major improvement in physical accessibility the basic culture within the travel industry has failed to move beyond a compliance model.

The facilities are built but are poorly understood if they are understood at all. Even where the facilities are excellent the accessible tourism sector is not regarded as a valuable market segment, if fact in most cases it is not understood as a market segment at all.

The result is that those facilities are never disclosed, never advertised and never published in a way that the travelers who need those facilities ever get a chance to know where they are.

For the first time Accessible tourism is being regarded as an economic market driven by the retirement of the baby boomer sector and we need to recognize that the way forward in encouraging its adoption into the mainstream industry lies in now concentrating on the economic benefit it can bring the tourism sector.

Read the whole illustrated article on the Travability Website

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