Travel allows you the chance to explore the world and discover exciting new places and cultures. People love to holiday and travel whether it be relaxing by the pool or action packed, with travelling and holidays you get to escape your everyday scenery and create those lasting holiday memories, good or bad. But how accessible is the world?
Whilst it’s often a very straightforward for non-disabled people to jump on a plane or book into any old hotel, disabled people unfortunately do not enjoy the same level of access. More planning and preparation goes into finding somewhere accessible to visit as a disabled person.
The main problem is disable people are underserved by the travel industry. Research has shown that 80% of disabled people in the UK said they’ve faced barriers when staying in UK hotels and resorts. These barriers are faced all over the world. For instance, New York City is a major tourist destination and global powerhouse, yet only 1 in 4 of its subway stations are fully accessible for disabled people.
The solution is a greater emphasis on accessibility. Full accessibility means that a destination, product or service is accessible to anybody. There’s often a limited view in terms of what exactly this means, with some believing that ramps and step-free access are all that’s needed. However, disability occupies a much broader spectrum, with only 20% of disabled visitors to Britain requiring assistance moving around, and only 8% using a wheelchair. There are many other types of disability that don’t affect mobility and a lot of these are invisible. Destinations, accommodation and transport need to have accessible facilities that benefit people with any type of disability; for instance, by using Braille or raised lettering on signs to assist those with visual impairments, or installing a hearing induction loop for people who use hearing aids.
Things are improving in the UK with changes in legislation meaning that employers, shops, local authorities and schools are all required to provide accessible facilities and make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Even New York is changing its ways, with plans to modernise the subway system and make 100 key stations accessible by 2020.
UKS Mobility have designed this infographic which takes a closer look at accessibility around the world. As well as sharing some key statistics about accessible travel and the disabled travel industry, they’ve also analysed three major cities – Barcelona, London, and New York – to see just how accessible these popular destinations really are.