Disability travel experts have urged suppliers and operators in the hospitality industry to invest in better access and emergency evacuation solutions and have said a lack of investment means companies are missing out on millions of pounds of spend.
According to disabled charity Scope, many disabled people avoid travelling because of a fear of receiving poor service and it means the travel and hospitality industry is missing out. It is hoped campaigning could prompt the industry to invest more heavily in the mobility sector.
Speaking at Abta’s Accessible Travel Seminar last month, Arnold Fewell, managing director of marketing agency AVF Marketing and an advocate of disability awareness training, was quoted by travelweekly as saying: “Travel companies, hotels and attractions are missing out on a huge opportunity and there will come a time in the future where accessibility is the norm.”
“I would urge businesses to take advantage of the market opportunity as any time and investment you put in now will pay off because you will be at the forefront of the market.”
Meanwhile, firms were told the lives of disabled people are being put at risk by hotels which have not invested in appropriate evacuation equipment for people with reduced mobility.
According to a survey carried out by hotel-access consultancy, AccessChamp, 80% of respondents had not received a personal emergency form or plan when they checked in at a hotel.
Meanwhile, at the Health & Safety Event at the NEC in Birmingham, UK workplaces were warned about a lack of adequate evacuation solutions for disabled people.
At the show a poll found that 30% of health professionals believed their workplace had no means of escape for people with mobility difficulties whilst 32% of people questioned believed their evacuation equipment is not being used correctly.
Speaking at the show, Gary Hicks, manager of the Evac + Chair DMCC branch in the UAE, commented: “Diversity comes in many forms. As well as having people with physical impairments in the workplace, we also now have many elder people. That makes accessibility a higher priority for every organisation and has specific implications for those responsible for health and safety practices pertaining to a building.”