Travel firms set ‘challenge’ on accessibility

Travel companies should make sure their websites give clear and thorough guidance about accessibility arrangements on trips, according to Abta’s director of industry relations.

Susan Deer said information should be displayed for every stage of the journey from leaving the house to returning home.

“Here’s a challenge to service providers: check your websites,” she added.

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Deer, who was among the speakers on an accessibility and inclusivity panel during Spain’s Sustainability Day on April 17, said everyone who works in the industry should at least have a basic understanding of accessible travel.

Limitless Travel founder Angus Drummond said guests with a disability should be treated as guests “first and foremost”.

“Travellers with a disability do not want to be treated as that,” he added.

Drummond, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in his early 20s, said it was crucial to understand every guest’s needs when designing a trip and assumptions should be avoided.

“Tour operators should treat everyone the same by asking what customers’ needs are and how a trip can be delivered to meet those needs,” he said.

Travellers should not have to choose between a quality holiday and an accessible one, Drummond said.

“You shouldn’t have to choose between an accessible room and a luxury room,” he added.

Drummond cited research suggesting that nearly half of people with a disability do not travel at all.

“The biggest challenge is around low levels of confidence,” he said. “Either they don’t have support or they had a bad experience previously.”

He added: “We’ll always look for suppliers we can have absolute confidence in and who understand what our guests’ needs are.”

Deer said people with experiences of a disability should be involved at every stage of decision-making within travel firms.

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