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Inclusive Tourism - Where are We?

With 11 million people living with a disability in the UK alone (and 650 million people worldwide), it's about time the tourism industry stepped up and did something to quite literally open up a new world to those for whom a life of excitement and adventure might once have been impossible.

That's what inclusive tourism is all about - asking the travel industry and those surrounding it to embrace everyone, regardless of ability.

Top Tips

Subtitles - Make sure that all video displays and experiences at museums and attractions are embedded with subtitles for those that are hard of hearing. In any pamphlets, meanwhile, make sure that brail options are available on request.

Training - All customer-facing staff should be trained in disability awareness and it should be made sure they are familiar with all facilities and equipment that relates to customer accessibility. Appoint ambassadors to promote the idea of inclusive tourism amongst your company. Training should be provided upon induction and staff should also be trained in the operation of all accessibility equipment.

Accessibility - To promote the accessibility of your company, produce a detailed and accurate guide that promotes that accessibility. For accommodations, make sure your venues provide the option of wet rooms as well as bathrooms for disabled customers. Bedrooms should also be equipped with twin or zip and link beds in certain rooms and make sure there are options for disabled vehicles available for all tourists when booking transportation.

Online - Your website should provide easy options for disabled guests to give feedback on their stay and make sure you read and respond to all comments. Also, ensure your website meets all accessibility standards.

Concessions - Offer concessions for disabled customers and make sure those concessions are actively promoted. In certain cases, perhaps consider waiving disabled entry entirely. Remember, disabled customers will often require the support of an able-bodied friend or family member, so venues choosing to waive the disabled customers' fee won't necessarily result in lost profits.

The EU

The EU believes that making tourism more accessible for more people is not only a social responsibility but that it makes sense from a logistical and business perspective too. It makes sense - making some basic adjustments that reflect the needs of disabled customers will increase your visitor numbers and benefit the public image of your company. Europe is also home to many cities that are more accessible to disabled tourists and feature widespread dropped curbs, accessible public transport, a decent amount of disabled toilets and a variety of resources that make tourism more friendly and approachable to disabled consumers. Berlin, Barcelona and Ljubljana in Slovenia are amongst the most wheelchair friendly tourist cities in the world not only in the cities themselves but in the numerous tourist destinations scattered throughout.

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