Inclusive Tourism: Reducing the Barriers to Travel
M Hickish, Movement Strategies, UK
As tourists, most travellers, including disabled people, plan and research their travel options using the internet. We review access to accessibility information at transport interchanges across Europe, barriers to travel and solutions.
Travelling is an essential part of any tourist journey, yet many disabled people find it difficult to access information about the standard of service and quality of access they will receive if they decide to travel independently or with others. This paper will review the varying standards applied to accessibility at transport interchanges across Europe, and will explore how these can act as a barrier to travel. The need for better information on travel options and facilities is considered in the light of the potential spending power of disabled people, and a range of principles and measures for improved access will be described.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 610 million disabled people worldwide. Disabled people?s spending power is estimated as £80bn in the UK, €40bn in Europe is estimated as and $220bn in the US. With aging populations, the size of these "pots" will tend to increase.
As tourists, most travellers will plan their journey and research their travel options using the internet. However, for those with specific access requirements, it is often difficult (or impossible) to discover what facilities are available at transport interchanges, what assistance will be provided, and how to book essential assistance online. In many instances across Europe, if a passenger has access needs they will be required to telephone to make even basic enquiries. This affects the confidence of disabled people in using public transport, and is a key factor in their decision-making process.
Access to information is therefore increasingly important, and clearly described access provisions using a simple standard format would allow a broad range of travellers to understand, plan and take decisions about the best routes for each individual. A review of good practice is able to provide a framework of what types of information should be provided, and in what format.
The paper will consider examples from across Europe, but will also draw upon the outcomes of a study recently undertaken by Movement Strategies to develop Accessibility and Inclusion Strategies and Guidance for Network Rail (UK). In particular, the paper will highlight where best practice in the Retail and Leisure sectors can be applied to the transport context.
Association for European Transport