The recent success of the 2012 London Olympic Games has helped to highlight the fact that most of the UK’s hotels, attractions, rail operations and airlines are yet to be fully supportive of people with limited mobility or other access needs.
The impetus that the games has generated in the UK has been taken up by a number of charitable organisations that have highlighted the lack of facilities at British hotels and attractions.
Guy Parckar, the head of policy and campaigns at the charity, Leonard Cheshire Disability, said in an interview, ‘Often accessible hotels are rendered totally inaccessible because staffs aren’t trained. We recently heard of a hotel guest who was turned away because he had a guide dog – remarkable in this day and age. We’d also like to see hotels looking beyond the provision of level access and consider additional features like hoists to cater for a variety of disabilities.
London’s bus network is very good, but we still hear of drivers refusing to stop for wheelchair users or ramps that don’t work. Facilities on trains are getting better, but stations have a long way to go and sometimes staff will be unable to offer assistance with simple things like handling a wheelchair.’
Earlier, VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England, released a new online guidance aimed at catering for travellers with access needs. The ‘Winning More Visitors’ online guide provides access information assistance for destinations.
Brian Seaman, of charity, Tourism for All, said, ‘We are lucky that, despite the economic situation, money is still being spent on better accessibility for the disabled, but there’s always room for more improvements.’