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Tourism Review Online Magazine - Accessible World of Travel


Millions of disabled people are passionate travelers. However, they need to overcome numerous troubles because of the lack of attention tourism stakeholders pay to this group of globetrotters. Accessible tourism is still vastly untapped market.

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  • pg 1
Accessible World of TrAvel

                  Millions of disabled people are
                  passionate travelers. However,
                  they need to overcome numer-
                  ous troubles because of the lack
                  of attention tourism stakehold-
                  ers pay to this group of globe-
                  trotters. accessible tourism is
                  still vastly untapped market.
                                                                                                  ETHICAL    ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

   disabled travel in                                                                             are less accessible but can be visited in a
                                                                                                    The top accessible European destinations,

 eurOPe – yOur first triP                                                                         London and berlin, have plenty of accessible
                                                                                                  sights to see, and minimal language barriers
                                                                                                  for English speakers. both cities were heavily
                                                                                                  bombed during world war II and now have
                                                                                                  few cobblestones, and many hotels are housed
                                                                                                  in modern buildings with accessible entrances
                                                                                                  and bathrooms. London and berlin both have
                                                                                                  very few hills as well as building code acces-
                                                                                                  sibility standards that have resulted in almost
                                                                                                  all of the tourist attractions being wheelchair
                                                                                                    when visiting London, there’s at least two
                                                                                                  weeks worth of attractions to see. Most muse-
                                                                                                  ums have excellent accessibility including the
                                                                                                  british Museum, the national gallery, the
                                                                                                  Cabinet war Rooms, the Tate Modern, and
                                                                                                  the Imperial war Museum. The most popular
                                                                                                  churches, westminster abbey and St. Paul’s
                                                                                                  Cathedral, are both accessible to disabled
                                                                                                  tourists. wheelchair users are able to get great
                                                                                                  views of the city from the London Eye or one
                                                                                                  of the boat tours departing near westminster
                                                                                                  bridge. The Tower of London is minimally acces-
                                                                                                  sible with about 80% of it requiring ascending
                                                                                                  stairs and the other 20% of it requiring going
                                                                                                  over cobblestones.
                                                                                                    getting around London in a wheelchair is
                                                                                                  quite easy with essentially all of the busses
You may have taken a few trips with your dis-       There are several issues to consider before   having wheelchair ramps and a fleet of acces-
ability, and now you’re up for taking a trip to   taking your first disabled trip to Europe.      sible taxis. Every taxi has a ramp, and wheel-
Europe. How difficult will it be? where can you   Perhaps the most important is deciding on       chair users can stay in their chair.
find accessible hotels? are the tourist attrac-   a destination. If you have a disability, your     berlin is another accessible European city,
tions wheelchair accessible? are the busses,      best options for a first trip to Europe are     and perhaps the best destination in the world
trains, and taxis accessible?                     London or berlin. Paris, Rome, and Venice

februar y, 2011                                                    — 29 —
                                                                                                             ETHICAL    ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

for 20th century history. numerous historical
locations can be visited in a wheelchair includ-
ing the berlin wall, the brandenburg gate, the
Reichstag, and Checkpoint Charlie. Excellent
accessible museums also exist in berlin includ-
ing the german History Museum, the gemäl-
dergalerie art museum, the jewish Museum,
the Pergamon Museum, the Egyptian Museum,
and the Museum of the wall at Checkpoint
Charlie. Most public bus lines are accessible
and the #100 and #200 lines are particularly
useful for tourists. a majority of u-bahn sta-
tions are accessible via elevators.
   Other popular European destinations are not
as accessible as London and berlin. The center
of Paris is primarily made up of 19th century
buildings, and many museums and hotels are
housed in these old buildings with few being
made fully accessible. Fully accessible muse-
ums include the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou
Centre, Sainte-Chapelle, the jewish art and
History Museum, and Les Invalides. Several
other tourist attractions have certain areas that
are not accessible including the Eiffel Tower,        the dock and the boat is generally less than the       you can avoid time standing in line by taking a
Musée Rodin, notre-Dame, the Marmottan                height of a curb. Disabled travelers should do a       guided tour. accessible bus and subway lines in
Monet Museum, and the Carnavalet Museum.              good bit of research before visiting Venice.           Rome are few.
The Louvre Museum is accessible but requires            Rome is called the city of seven hills for a rea-      while accessibility challenges exist in Europe,
navigating a maze of elevators and wheelchair         son. Many Roman streets and sidewalks have             disabled travelers can certainly enjoy accessi-
lifts. The arc de Triomphe, the Cluny Museum,         inclines to them, and many Roman plazas have           ble holidays throughout Europe. be sure to do
and the Panthéon have many steps without              cobblestones. Some sidewalks near the Span-            the proper accessibility research before your
wheelchair ramps.                                     ish Steps and the borghese gardens would be            trip or hire a disabled travel agent who special-
   Surprising to many people, Venice can be vis-      very difficult for wheelchair users to ascend.         izes in accessible holidays. afterwards, you can
ited in a wheelchair. wheelchair users will not       Historical ruins including the Roman Forum             arrive knowing what challenges may be in your
be able to visit all parts of the city, but several   and Colosseum can be visited by disabled tour-         path and how to get around them. bon voyage!
accessible neighborhoods can be visited by            ists, while several other ruins including the
using the vaparetto boats to travel between           Palatine Hill are inaccessible. The Vatican com-       By John Sage
neighborhoods. The height difference between          plex is generally accessible and, like all tourists,

februar y, 2011                                                           — 30 —
                                                                                                       ETHICAL    ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

                avila: tHe access city Of 2011
                                                   Royal Highness Princess astrid of belgium pre-
                                                   sented the award at a ceremony in brussels on
                                                   the occasion of the European Day of People
                                                   with Disabilities (3 December). It is one of the
                                                   actions under the Commission's new strategy
                                                   for a barrier-free Europe for disabled people.
                                                     "I would like to congratulate avila and the
                                                   other finalist cities for their commitment to
                                                   a barrier-free urban environment," said Vice-
                                                   President Viviane Reding, the Eu’s justice
                                                   Commissioner. "People with disabilities have
                                                   the same rights as everyone else, but acces-
                                                   sibility is a precondition for them to enjoy
                                                   those rights. That is why we have placed it at
                                                   the centre of our strategy for building a bar-
Avila, a Spanish city known for its medieval       rier-free Europe. The access City award gives         The Commission launched the competition
walls, won the first-ever European award for       recognition to those cities which have shown        for the first access City award in july 2010. Eu
improving access for people with disabilities.     the most effort to improving accessibility. This    cities with over 50,000 people, of which there
The European Commission awarded avila in           honour should inspire and motivate cities that      are just over 1000, could submit applications.
December the access City award 2011. The           still have more progress to make."                  The Commission reviewed 66 eligible applica-
annual honour aims to award efforts to improve       The access City award aims to promote             tions from 19 Member States.
accessibility in the urban environment and to      accessibility initiatives in European cities. It
foster equal participation of people with dis-                                                           a Europe-wide jury then selected four final-
                                                   recognises efforts and achievements in improv-      ists: avila, barcelona (Spain), Cologne (ger-
abilities.                                         ing accessibility in four main areas: the built
                                                                                                       many) and Turku (Finland). The other three
  The Commission praised avila’s plan, devel-      environment and public spaces; transport and
                                                   related infrastructures; information and com-       finalists have also developed comprehensive
oped since 2002, to improve accessibility to
public buildings and to give incentives for pri-   munication (including information and com-          plans to address accessibility in the competi-
vate initiatives. It has also developed accessi-   munication technologies); and public facilities     tion’s four areas:
ble tourism facilities and improved job oppor-     and services.                                         barcelona follows a “design for all” approach
tunities for people with disabilities – working      The European jury selected avila because of       to improving accessibility with a strong focus
directly with disabled and elderly people's        its comprehensive plan, the high level of politi-   on the built environment and transport facili-
organisations.                                     cal commitment, the progress achieved so far,       ties, including accessible ticketing machines
  Commission Vice-President Viviane Red-           and the effective involvement of people with        designed with the involvement of disabled
ing, the Eu’s justice Commissioner, and Her        disabilities in the process.                        people.

februar y, 2011                                                       — 31 —
                                                                                                       ETHICAL   ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

  Cologne has shown a strong political com-        with a strong involvement of people with
mitment to improving accessibility since 2004,     disabilities for a smaller historical city con-
involving a wide range of city departments         fronted with challenging conditions for
with clear responsibilities and extensive coor-    accessibility, particularly in the built environ-
dination, including special training for design-   ment.
ers in city departments and building supervi-
sion employees.
  Turku's comprehensive accessibility pro-
gramme constitutes an effective strategy 

februar y, 2011                                                       — 32 —
                                                              ETHICAL    ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

                 tOurism neW zealand is still
                  ignOring tHe Older market
Tourism New Zealand, which markets nz to                      increased domestic tourism activity will be in
the world, continues to ignore the older mar-                 the 50+ age group, and the only increase in
ket. at least, that is what it seems like on look-            dollar value will be in the 60+ age group. why
ing at the three videos being used in their lat-              is new zealand not targeting this growing
est marketing campaign (“100% Pure you”)                      demographic by having at least some older
in australia. The videos feature three young                  models in the video promotions released in
women, a young couple, and a young father                     australia?
with his son. not a silver hair in sight. This in               Tourism new zealand intends to broaden this
spite of the fact that according to the research              campaign to other countries. Populations are
figures of access Tourism new zealand, almost                 ageing in our other traditional target markets
50% of visitors in and to new zealand are                     also. In the uK for example, it is estimated that
45 and older. It is also in spite of the fact that            the population of those 65 or older will grow
the demographic reality is that populations                   from 16% currently to 23% by 2034, while in
are ageing worldwide. In australia for exam-                  the uSa, more than 7000 will turn 65 every day
ple, nz’s most important international market                 for the next 20 years. In japan, the population
and the one this campaign is initially aimed at,              over 65 is currently 22% or about 27 million,
the only age group increasing is that of people               those aged 61 to 63 number 18 million (Invest
65 or older, baby boomers are turning 65 at                   japan), and ageing in japan is happening at
the rate of 200,000 a year, and the population                a greater rate than elsewhere (Reuters). The
over 65 is predicted to double over the next                  mean and median age in years is about 44.5
40 years.                                                     (IPSS). according to an article in the nikkei last
  and it is older australians who are predicted               year, japanese aged 60-70 are emerging as an
by social researchers to be the ones who will                 important source of economic vitality, as they
spend on travel. In caravan parks around the                  are proving to be active spenders keen on mak-
country they are known as the SKI Club –                      ing the most of their post-retirement years (Sil-
Spending the Kids’ Inheritance – and their                    ver group asia). Data clearly shows that older
vans have bumper stickers saying exactly that.                consumers are more eager to spend than those
In fact, in a 2009 report informing the aus-                  younger than them.
tralian national long-term tourism strategy, it                 Even in markets that Tourism new zealand
is predicted that to 2030, the only source of                 has only recently begun to turn their attention

februar y, 2011                                      — 33 —
                                                                       ETHICAL   ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

                  to, like China and South america, populations
                  are ageing. when will new zealand begin to
                  consistently appeal to the older demographic
                  in these markets by at least showing them in
                  its promotions? Surely it is an economic imper-
                  ative to do so in order to maintain a sustain-
                  able tourism industry.                                                       press release services

                  By Sandra Rhodda
                  Director, Access Tourism New Zealand, and Research
                  Programme Leader Access Tourism, New Zealand
                  Tourism Research Institute, Auckland University of

februar y, 2011                      — 34 —
                                                               ETHICAL   ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

                           disability: eu PrOmises
                         'accessibility act' in 2012
European Commission Vice-President Viviane
Reding told MEPs at the beginning of january
that she will present a proposal for a 'European
accessibility act' before the end of 2012. This
new legislation is seen by the Commission as a
key element of the European Disability Strat-
egy, which was unveiled last year.
   The Eu executive is getting ready to launch a
major study that will identify and analyse the
barriers which prevent people with disabilities
from making full use of public buildings, trans-
port and all kinds of services. The results of this
study will provide the basis for developing new
Eu legislation on accessibility standards.
   Vice-President Reding spoke about the
overall goals and scope of the 'European
accessibility act' when she addressed a spe-
cial meeting of the Disability Intergroup in
the European Parliament, which took place in
brussels. The meeting was attended by MEPs
and by organisations representing people
with disabilities.
   "I will work hard to get all the actors on board
to make sure that products and services, pub-
lic buildings and spaces become more acces-
sible to all our citizens, and to this end we will
launch a study to identify the issues at stake,"
promised Reding.
   "based on this study I will propose an acces-
sibility act in 2012. I know that I can count on

februar y, 2011                                       — 35 —
                                                                                                             ETHICAL    ac c e s s i b l e Wo r l d o f tr a v e l

                                                                                                             learn from this positive experience and go
                                                                       background                            ahead in Europe too," she said.
                                                       According to official statistics, 80 million people
                                                       in the European Union (or one out of every six               neW legal frameWOrk
                                                       citizens) are affected by some kind of disabil-
                                                       ity. The EU Directive on ‘equal treatment in            Reding noted that the Lisbon Treaty pro-
                                                       employment and occupation’ entered into force         vides a legal basis for main-streaming disabil-
                                                       on 2 December 2000, and makes it illegal for          ity issues into other policies, and also gives a
                                                       employers to discriminate against people with         legal status to the Eu’s Charter of Fundamen-
                                                       disabilities.                                         tal Rights. In this new framework, the Commis-
                                                                                                             sion is obliged to make sure that the needs of
                                                                                                             people with disabilities are taken into account
the European Parliament to support this cru-         To make the most of these opportunities, the            during the development and implementation
cial issue," she said.                             Commission will develop common standards                  of all Eu policies and legislation.
                                                   for ICT (information and communication tech-                another important development is that the
                                                   nologies), the built environment and product              European union has recently concluded the
  cHallenges and OPPOrtunities
                                                   design.                                                   process of ratifying the united nations Conven-
  Currently there are some 80 million people                                                                 tion on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
                                                     Reding hopes that it will be possible to agree
with various kinds of disabilities in the Euro-                                                              This is the first comprehensive human rights
                                                   on common standards not only at European
pean union, but this number is expected to                                                                   treaty to be ratified by the Eu as a whole.
                                                   level, but also in cooperation with other major
increase in the coming years, mainly as a result                                                               Reding explained that the Commission will
                                                   players in the global economy.
of the growing proportion of older citizens in                                                               be responsible for coordinating and monitor-
the population.                                      "we should work with our partners on other              ing the implementation of the un Convention
  Reding is determined that the Eu should try      continents in order to get global standards               at the level of the European union, in cooper-
to be a world leader in developing products and    being put in place," said Reding. "we have                ation with the other Eu institutions and also
services that are accessible to people with dis-   already started to do so with the united States,          with the member states.
abilities. "Europe should become an exporter       and with other partners at international level,             all the Eu's 27 member states have signed
of those goods and services," she said.            and in the end we hope that will bring coher-             the un Convention on the Rights of Persons
                                                   ence into our standards."                                 with Disabilities, and most of them (16) have
  The vice-president believes this is important
not just for ensuring fundamental rights and         The Commission vice-president cited prog-               already ratified it.
equal opportunities, but also as a way of cre-     ress made in the uSa under the provisions of
ating jobs and growth by taking advantage of       the 'americans with Disabilities act', which has
growing market opportunities.                      been in force since 1990. "I think we should    

februar y, 2011                                                         — 36 —

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