A disability charity has drawn on a recent episode of BBC One’s ‘Rip Off Britain’ as evidence that the travel industry needs to be doing more to cater for disabled consumers.
Revitalise, which helps disabled people and their families or carers to enjoy respite, wants the tourism sector to take the requirements of disabled holidaymakers more seriously and invest more in solutions.
It made the call after an episode of the hit BBC One show investigated the alleged failings of tourist and travel operators to provide a good service for disabled customers.
The charity has drawn on the European Commission’s findings that by 2020 as much as 25% of tourism spending in Europe is expected to come from consumers with accessibility requirements.
With the ‘Purple Pound’ estimated at a value of £249bn, Revitalise believes it is “not only a moral obligation for the travel industry to make itself more accessible to disabled people, but huge market potential”.
In recent years, Revitalise has consistently campaigned on a variety of issues that affect disabled people and carers, including the perceived need to make travel and tourism more accessible to disabled consumers.
The charity’s own research found that 65% of disabled people had decided against visiting a tourist attraction due to accessibility concerns or a lack of information.
Revitalise has more than 50 years’ experience of providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers, with 24-hour nurse-led care on call, at all three of its accessible holiday centres in the UK.
Revitalise’s CEO Chris Simmonds said that for many years mainstream holiday providers have pledged to do more to cater to the needs of disabled consumers. He added that the charity is pleased to see companies like Airbnb committing to accommodating disabled holidaymakers with its acquisition of Accomable late last year.
“However, it is clear that some holiday providers are still falling short of being truly accessible and this is why it is essential that the travel industry take the requirements of disabled holidaymakers seriously,” Simmonds said.
“Imagine booking a holiday and turning up to the accommodation to find that you are unable to access the bathroom, or that the doors aren’t wide enough for you to fit through. While for many of us the concept is unimaginable, unfortunately it is very much a reality for disabled people. Not only does this lead to a complete lack of confidence in the eyes of disabled consumers, it also means that travel and tourism providers are seriously missing out.”