Man in wheelchair hails a taxi at airportshutterstock 60263935

World Tourism Day: what is the travel industry doing for disability

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

​​How will you celebrate World Tourism Day? Celebrated annually on 29/09 it is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of global tourism. 
Over the last 50 years, tourism has had somewhat of a revolution. Over a billion people take trips each year and the United Nations wants to make tourism more inclusive.
The planet we live on is as diverse as the people that inhabit it and occasions such as WTD enables the tourism industry to showcase its talents and what it has to offer the ever growing numbers of tourists.
Most of us have the privilege of not having to worry about travelling with a disability. It is estimated that there are over 1 billion people in the world with some variation of disability.
Next time you are at the airport, just give it some thought as to how hard it must be to hear a boarding call if you are deaf or see the departure boards if you are visually impaired. Some disabilities are clear to see, if you see someone confined to a wheelchair, then it is a safe assumption that they may have difficulty with moving freely.
Many passengers suffer in silence as their disability may not be clear for those around them to see. Some airports have taken pro-active action to make their airports more accessible and to enable their passengers a smoother ride.
Dublin Airport will have all staff trained in how to spot and assist passengers that are Autistic and a system is in place that allows such passengers to be assisted on board as a priority.
This year sees the celebration of accessible tourism. Which means creating environments within the tourism industry that cater to those of all needs. With airports like Dublin already making moves to make its airport easier to get around for all passengers. We thought here at, that we would have a look at what airports and the industry are doing to make them more accessible to people with disabilities.
As prior mentioned, Dublin airport has been making moves to assist passengers. As well as working closely with Irish Wheelchair Association and inclusion Ireland, it introduced an initiative that enables people with invisible disabilities to be given a wristband or lanyard so they can be fast tracked through the airport.
In the UK, London Heathrow is working with the Alzheimer’s Society to improve the travel of passengers that suffer from the illness. All 76,000 staff will be trained on how to assist these passengers.
Across the pond at San Francisco airport, there has been an app trialled that enables passengers with visual impairments to be guided to points of interest around the airport.
Staying in the USA five airports there have been fitted with equipment that assists those with hearing loss. The induction loop system which has been installed works for passengers with t-coil hearing aids and enables them to hear things more clearly in busy and noisy environments.
Ultimately, airports and the travel industry as a whole is heading in the right direction when it comes to making tourism accessible, and hopefully, with World Tourism Day highlighting the cause, things will only get better.
Travel well and enjoy WTD.
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