Improving accessibility for travellers

For people with disabilities, travelling and visiting destinations can often be inconvenient or inaccessible. However, ideas to improve accessibility for travellers put forward by experts in the travel industry and disability could help make a difference if they were commonly adopted.

Those who work in the travel industry can be a helpful resource themselves by finding out how other destinations train staff to help people with disabilities, or how hotels are recreating their public areas and spaces to improve accessibility. And the more they consider suggestions for helping people with both apparent and invisible disabilities, opportunities to improve accessibility will become more obvious.

Staff should be educated and trained in how to use available technology – for example, screens for captions that are wired with a hearing loop. This helps people who use hearing aids to listen to information or performances with greater clarity – but if staff are untrained in the technology, obviously, they can’t use it.

If a solution to an accessibility problem is suggested, test the usability of a solution with people who have lived experience of the issue being addressed. Real experience is a far more helpful resource than simply implementing an untested idea of what could or might help.

Always go beyond basic compliance. Simply ticking boxes to get them ticked is not genuine motivation to help people and improve situations. People should come first, and small things can make a big difference.

Making a business accessible is never going to be a finished process as such. Existing solutions can be refined and improved while new solutions will always present themselves. In terms of technology, it will always be changing so staying up to date is important.

Baggage handlers and porters should know to take care with mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Neither the cost of repair nor the inconvenience of being without an essential method of transport is easy for a traveller.

By actively looking for alternative solutions, opportunities to improve accessibility will make themselves apparent.