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Universal Design and Tourism: Why it’s crucial that we focus on accessibility

In a world where 15% of the population is living with some form of disability and where our population is also steadily ageing it is more important than ever to consider universal design in every industry planning to be operational in our ageing future.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) understands this crucial importance and have called for more investment and improved management for disabled tourists globally. The WTTC has outlined two main priorities for destinations wanting to focus on universal design and tourism;

  1. To understand the market’s dynamics and opportunities so that operators can prioritise actions accordingly. This includes looking at what leaders in the space are providing and learn from them, as often some simple adaptations or a mere awareness of the needs of people with a disability can make a big difference.
  2. Partner with organizations that have experience in working in accessibility to ensure that what operators can provide are appropriate and communicated effectively.

Universal design advocates for the consideration of all people with disabilities and not only those who use wheelchairs. Consideration should be given equally to all disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, mental health issues, and age-related disabilities. By doing this, the needs of the world’s population will more likely be met.

Simply put by WTTF president and chief executive officer David Scowsill,
“Travel and tourism [industry] needs to take accessibility requirements seriously. The imperative is not only moral, but it also makes good business sense,”.

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