I'm going on a trip and I'm going to bring: a disability!
Wheelchair accessible or wheelchair adapted?
Despite the considerable efforts being made to ensure that people with a disability can go on holiday, organizing trips like these remains difficult. The challenges include a limited travel budget, a strong focus on expenses by health insurers and healthcare institutions, travellers with limited financial means and inadequate services at the destination. Many hotels that claim to be wheelchair accessible are in fact not wheelchair adapted. While some hotels remove the thresholds in their corridors, they do not adapt the wash basins or create extra space around the bed to accommodate wheelchair users, which can make things unnecessarily challenging for these travellers.
Tour operators deserve praise
Issues like these also present a challenge for specialized tour operators, who have to find an accommodation that has been adapted for people in wheelchairs. They also have to offer an excursion programme that takes into account the capabilities and limitations of their travellers. How intensive is the excursion and is it even feasible for someone with a physical or intellectual disability? I'm always impressed to see how tour operators tackle these challenges!
It's important to ensure that people with a disability can also enjoy a well-earned holiday. And it starts at home. Wheelchair users often depend on wheelchair-adapted transport to take them to the departure location (coach, ship or airport). This requires a degree of expertise. In the past, travellers had to arrange this themselves. Fortunately, however, an increasing number of tour operators are partnering with professional taxi companies. These companies have custom vehicles and professional drivers with experience helping travellers like these and can offer a full-service door-to-door experience.
Taking wheelchair-accessible travel seriously
We have a lot of experience with this type of transport and it's great to be met with the smiling faces of people about to start their holiday. If hotels and excursion organizers start focusing more on feasible solutions for wheelchair users, the holiday possibilities would be endless.