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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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.

It encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations. The improvements not only benefit those with permanent physical disabilities, but also parents with small children, elderly travelers, people with temporary injuries such as a broken leg, as well as their travel companions.

Contents

Overview

Modern society is increasingly aware of concept of integration of people with disabilities. Issues such accessibility and design for all are featured in the international symposia of bodies such as the European Commission.[1] Steps have been taken to promote guidelines and best practices, and major resources are now dedicated to this field.

As of 2008, there were more than 50 million persons with disabilities in Europe, and more than 600 million around the world. When expanded to include all beneficiaries of accessible tourism, as defined above, the number grows to some 130 million people affected in Europe alone.[2] In addition to the social benefits, the market represents an opportunity for new investment and new service requirements, rarely provided by key players in the tourism sector.

According to ENAT, the European Network for Accessible Tourism, accessible tourism includes:[2]

  • Barrier-free destinations: infrastructure and facilities
  • Transport: by air, land and sea, suitable for all users
  • High quality services: delivered by trained staff
  • Activities, exhibits, attractions: allowing participation in tourism by everyone
  • Marketing, booking systems, Web sites & services: information accessible to all

Specific needs and requirements

Specific problems found by travellers or tourists with disabilities include:

  • Inaccessible, or only partly accessible, web sites
  • Lack of accessible airport transfer
  • Lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles
  • Lack of well-adapted hotel rooms
  • Lack of professional staff capable of dealing with accessibility issues
  • Lack of reliable information about a specific attraction's level of accessibility
  • Lack of accessible restaurants, bars, and other facilities
  • Lack of adapted toilets in restaurants and public places
  • Inaccessible streets and sidewalks
  • Lack of technical aids and disability equipment such as wheelchairs, bath chairs and toilet raisers

Brief history

Europe and United States of America are home to the majority of the existing companies in this niche. However, around the world many companies are starting to appear as the result of a growing need, largely driven by senior tourism, due to increasing life expectancy in developed countries.

Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other northern European countries are increasingly prepared to receive tourists in wheelchairs, and to provide disability equipment and wheelchair accessible transport.

References

External links

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