The world is not, in general, disability friendly. A report by the BBC noted that the adaptations demanded by the global response to coronavirus had finally put the spotlight on accessibility issues as suddenly millions more people required the types of adaptations that people living with disability had been calling out for for years.Indeed, it has been shown that societies all over the world, tourist spots included, can do more for people with Improving Accessibility.
Adapting to needs
A properly focused disability strategy needs to be personalized. Adaptations such as ramps and rails are a very important part of an accessible urban landscape, but that’s not the end of the accessibility story. For example, a condition such as cerebral palsy may create accessibility requirements that span several different areas – mobility, cognition, and so on. Indeed, analysis by the University of Melbourne shows that, for people diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it can be more challenging to navigate urban environments. Bearing in mind that there’s a huge range of things that need to be considered, and adapting to that, will do a lot of the necessary work in making environments more welcoming.
When in transit
Even if locations can be improved, more needs to be done when it comes to transit. According to the Washington Post, global airlines have damaged 15,000 wheelchairs since late 2018 – or, 29 a day. This, and damage done to other tools used to aid accessibility, can create huge issues at the destination port and ruin holidays. More needs to be done on the way to the destination to enable travel to become truly disability friendly – and it can be accomplished with, simply, some care.
Perhaps the easiest way to make people with accessibility needs feel more comfortable and cared for in their destinations is through changing attitudes. Acting in an inclusive and welcoming manner, and aiming to make adjustments as necessary – even if you can’t provide the full range of adaptations needed. Sometimes providing the support and keeping an open mind to accessibility needs can improve travel for the better.
People living with disabilities have the right to travel the same as anyone else does. Unfortunately, accessibility barriers often make that process difficult. Changing it, for the better, is a moral and economic imperative for the global travel industry.