Almost 19% of the entire UK population are registered disabled, that’s over 12 million people, nearly 800,000 of whom are children.
A study by Visit England revealed that only 6% of disabled visitors are wheelchair users compared to 25% non-wheelchair users with a mobility impairment and 24% with total or partial hearing loss. So how is the travel industry coping with the fact that every disability is different and accessibility can’t be used as a catch-all?
A increasing number of UK tour operators now specialise in accessible and affordable family holidays with almost nothing out of bounds, from ski breaks to safaris. Several major hotel chains have moved beyond accessibility on paper to providing flexible and practical accommodation for families. And at the bottom line, accessible travel is one of the few tourism areas that’s shown consistent growth in the past five years, and standards are improving all the time.
As Carrie-Ann Lightley of Tourism for All says, ‘Every disabled traveller has different needs, and communication is key. An operator should supply enough accessibility detail to let you make an informed decision, but guests can communicate their needs too.’ With that in mind, here are some great places to start to find your perfect accessible holiday for 2017.
UK holiday operators are waking up to the fact that every disability is different
Planning your holiday: useful resources
• Tourism for Allhas a range of mobility equipment for hire which can be delivered to accommodation across the UK.
•Scandic Hotels are the world’s only hotel group with an Accessibility Ambassador. They now have over 200 fully accessible hotels in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Berlin. Scandic Hotels
• Premier Innhas more than 700 hotels around the UK, many are fully accessible and the brand are also committed to meeting specific needs wherever possible. Premier Inn Disabled Access
• Depending on your circumstances, you could qualify for a Family Fund grantto help finance a holiday. Inspire is the travel arm of Family Fund and works with 300 operators worldwide to provide affordable breaks for families with disabled children. Travel by Inspire
• Disabled Holidays offer child-friendly family holidays including safaris, kids cruises, ski breaks, special interest packages, activity holidays and a good choice of affordable self-catering and caravan breaks in the UK. Disabled Holidays
• Chill Factor Manchester is home to Disability Snowsport UK and provides instruction, support and adaptive snow sports for kids of all abilities. Chill Factor Adaptive Snow Sport
• Riverside Museum Glasgow is one of Scotland’s most accessible attractions and it’s free. Facilities include large electronic touch screens, BSL facilities, adapted tours and audio descriptions. The museum’s also fully wheelchair accessible and welcomes assistance and guide dogs. Riverside Museum
• Science Museum London is number one for accessibility in the UK. Fully wheelchair accessible, both Braille and Makaton resources are available and the museum has a year-round programme of accessible kids’ events. Science Museum London
• Celebrity Cruiseshas achieved Autism Friendly Cruise Line status, having completed Autism Friendly Certification with Autism on the Seas