In the past, travelers with disabilities may have fretted over where they would be able to venture to because of physical limitations. However, recent technology and the demand for more accommodating services has caused an influx of disabled tourists venturing to exotic locales across the globe. Known as "accessible travel," this tourism niche has been rapidly growing over the last several years, since more retired individuals and baby boomers are looking to take the adventure travel trips they could not while young and on a limited budget.
Roughly one-fifth of U.S. residents move with a cane, walker, crutches or other mobility device. The majority are of older generations, but this group also include those that have been in wheelchairs since they were young or who may have a debilitating disease. When a sample of this group was surveyed, many answered they wish they could travel more if better facilities and services were available to them.
"The accessible travel segment will continue to grow considerably over the next few decades, and it's imperative that travel professionals be prepared to accommodate travelers with special needs," said Andrew Garnett, president and chief executive officer of Special Needs Group. "Having the knowledge of how to work with and cater to this segment will not only benefit travel professionals' businesses, but it will help them to deliver an accessible world."
Many different companies and organizations are working toward allowing disabled travelers to move about the world independently and easily with special programs and offerings in the tourism industry. For instance, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced a new initiative this year that provides a special phone line that individuals can call before embarking on their flight. They may use this feature to bypass the phone queue and receive valuable information from an administrator on the line. Whether they have medical concerns or want to know the screening process in-depth, travelers with disabilities can use this program offered by the TSA to help streamline the flying process.
Travelers who have disabilities or require special accommodations while on the road should prepare ahead of time and find out what services airlines, hotels and attractions have for those who need assistance. This could alleviate stress and open more doors for disabled tourists as this demographic is catered to with greater care in the future.
See also ...