Since Thomas Cook scheduled the first “tours” many things have changed. We no longer travel by wagon and the means of transport are more modern every day, which makes it necessary to reinvent the tourism to the present times. Although we continue to do traditional tourism such as the ecological, religious and cultural, it is time to include in the service to other niche markets that we have forgotten: people with disabilities and older adults.
In order to provide quality service to people with disabilities and older adults, we need to know what an accessible tourism entails.
So what is accessible tourism? It is the tourism that specializes in designing trips adapted according to the type of disability and needs of each person. In other words, it must be free of physical barriers, barriers of communication and social barriers. In other words the whole tourist value chain (transportation – hotels – Tourist attractions – excursions – restaurants) must be suitable for full enjoyment with independence and dignity. In other words, accessible tourism is one in which all people regardless of their condition can enjoy equal opportunities.
Tourism for all (including)
The barriers are found when the adaptations or supports for accessibility are not created. These barriers may be to mention some: lack of ramps for people in wheelchairs; Lack of a sign language interpreter for a hearing impaired person or even a lack of Braille menus for blind people.
Some people are born with some disabilities (they are really conditions and we as a society disable them by not having accessible environments) and others acquire them at any time of their life product of an illness or an accident. Let’s just say that without prior notice.
Types of disability include:
Physical Disability: Wheelchair users, reduced mobility by use of cane or crutches or other conditions, such as polio or degenerative diseases among others.
Visual impairment: Either total blindness or low vision.
Hearing impaired: People who are deaf or hard to listen.
Intellectual disability: Down syndrome, autism, or cerebral palsy.
People of reduced stature or people who are very tall.
There are other conditions that need to be taken into account, such as pregnancy, families traveling with strollers, people carrying packages, temporary illnesses, or a person with a cast leg.
People with disabilities and older adults select the destination according to the accessibility it offers and not the cost of the trip. The first impediment is found at the time of planning, since the information offered by Web pages is often ambiguous and outdated, and even web pages are not usually accessible to deaf, blind or low-vision people. Other times, travel agencies are unaware of the issue of accessibility and could offer erroneous information.
Recommended for a traveler, is to contact travel agencies or tour operators specialists in accessible tourism or ask for information to other people who have already visited the destination. Travel agencies or tour operators will tell you if that destination, attractive or hotel is adapted according to the needs of the person. As a destination may be adapted to a person with physical disability, but not necessarily for a person with visual impairment. The staff of these companies are continually trained on disabilities, which provides confidence and quality service to the tourist.
Fifty percent of accessible tourism is made up of the accessibility of the environment and the other fifty percent is the intangible, which cannot be valued as the proper treatment of people with disabilities and older adults.
Although making the adjustments is subject to economic issues, we find some advantages that we list below: People with disabilities and older adults always travel with each other.
This group of tourists travel at any time of the year.
They tend to pay more for a service that suits their needs.
They are an economic multiplier effect, since at the destination place they usually require additional services such as: Purchase of medicines, rent of wheelchairs or additional companions.
It improves the image of the destination by making it inclusive or tourism for all.
They usually repeat and recommend the trip if they have had a good experience.
Almost all the advantages have an economic multiplier effect, which makes this type of tourism a very important niche to include in our services.
Now that we have introduced a little what is accessible tourism, do you dare to know more?