New Travel & Tourism Buzzwords: Inclusive, Accessible
Career Path : Tourism Management
Study after study shows that baby boomers aspire to travel in retirement. As they hit retirement age, this “grey wave” could raise a new issue for the travel & tourism industry: accessibility.
Tourism business management teams around the world are finding innovative ways to make their products more accessible, but Swedish hotel chain Scandic has been recognized as a leader in the travel & tourism accessibility movement.
The tourism business management team of this hotel, which has facilities in the Nordic countries as well as elsewhere in Europe, has a disability ambassador, Magnus Berglund, who walks with a cane and uses a service dog. When his company acquires a hotel, they provide staff with accessibility training, teaching them to:
- look for opportunities to offer guests with crutches or a cane a seat
- make eye contact with guests who use interpreters
One wonders whether the design features that make the Scandic hotel chain remarkable in the travel & tourism industry will one day be commonplace â on the curriculum in most tourism courses, common knowledge for any tourism business management team.
Accessible features introduced by the Scandic tourism business management team include:
- elevators that can be used by people in wheelchairs in case of fire
- keyholes at wheelchair height
- breakfast buffet tables that are accessible from a wheelchair
- service dog welcome policy
- a holder for canes in the reception
- lowered reception desks to accommodates guests in wheelchairs
- hearing loops for the hearing impaired at the reception and in meeting rooms (this feature, which is indeed becoming more common in the travel & tourism industry, broadcasts sound through waves and coils rather than simply depending on aids to amplify sound)
- mirrors placed lower
- wheelchair accessible hooks to hang things on
- vibrating alarm clocks that also double as a fire alarm for the hearing impaired
- information available in Braille
- space around the bed for easier wheelchair navigation
The Nordic countries are not the only place taking action to make the travel & tourism industry more accessible.
- tourism business management teams in Africa are now hosting safaris specifically for people with disabilities
- the Barbados has accredited accessibility standards for travel & tourism facilities (including categories for wheelchair access, mobility challenge and the seeing impaired)
- travel & tourism professionals on the island of Alcatraz brought in non-polluting electric tug tractors from airports to help visitors with low mobility access the site in a dignified, energy-efficient manner
- the cruise ship market is catering to people with special needs (retrofitting, visual smoke detectors, accessibility brochures)
- many travel & tourism destinations publish disability guides (in large font) for visitors, highlighting accessible bathrooms, nearby parking, etc.
The ageing population is forcing the travel & tourism industry to rethink accessibility. And tourism business management teams from around the world seem to be rising to the challenge.