Today is World Tourism day and this year’s theme happens to be one that is very close to my heart, accessibility. I started this blog not only because I love to travel but also because in my travels I saw how difficult it was to find information on wheelchair accessibility for travel destinations around the world and I wanted to share my experiences with others so that someone else may have an easier time than I did when it comes to finding the perfect vacation spot. There is a huge lack of information when it comes travel for those who have accessibility concerns.
I love that the UN is calling attention to the fact that travel isn’t always accessible to everyone. This is something I struggle with every time I leave my house and I know many others who have it much worse than I do.
One of the hardest things for me is to find a nice trail to go on. So many outdoors things are just totally off limits to me simply because my wheelchair is terrible for going off a paved path in. Are there places I can still go hiking? Absolutely! But finding information about the condition of the paving on these paths is incredibly difficult.
City travel isn’t safe either. Europe has it especially bad with so much cobblestone being used. Really the only resource for this right now is Google Street View. But this is often several years out of date and there are many places that simply aren’t covered by it yet. Even my home city, Dublin, which has been called one of the most wheelchair-friendly cities in Europe doesn’t have a universal experience. Want to go across the most iconic bridge in Dublin? Not a problem if you can take the dozen or so steps on each side, without anything to hold on to.
Audio tours can often prove to be an issue because there is rarely any sort of sign that you might be able to read it instead of listening to them, leaving the deaf and hard of hearing missing part of the experience. These are really just a few examples that I personally have experience with.
How can you help?
Ask questions! Contact your favorite travel spots and ask them to give more accessibility options than they already have. Be informed, and if you happen to write about travel already use your expertise as you go places to help others. What better way to celebrate World Tourism Day 2016? Also keep an eye out for others writing about it using the hashtags #tourism4all #WTD2016