Increasing Accessibility Post-COVID
As recovery from the pandemic slowly begins and destinations start welcoming visitors back more regularly, destinations are increasingly considering several measures that make travel more accessible for visitors of all kinds.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), along with several additional organizations, have designed a basic set of recommendations aimed at maintaining the ethos of "Accessible Tourism for All" in the new COVID-19 reality. The Reopening Tourism for Travellers with Disabilities guide outlines the opportunities available to destinations to accommodate the specific needs of persons with disabilities, those with specific access requirements, and seniors.
"Much progress has been made in making tourism more accessible to all. As we guide the responsible restart of tourism, we must make sure that this progress is not rolled back. Instead, it must be stepped up as it will benefit everyone," said Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General. "These guidelines, produced in collaboration with ONCE Foundation and ENAT, show that simple, thoughtful measures can make a real difference for travelers—and in return, allow destinations to welcome this wide and diverse demographic as they look to recover from COVID-19."
The guidelines are aimed at helping stakeholders, including accommodation providers, bars, restaurants and tourism offices, adjust to new health and sanitary demands without reducing accessibility. The recommendations cover four distinct areas:
- Travel Planning and Protocols: Including steps to guarantee seamless travel, and for making relevant information available and accessible to all.
- Transportation: Including the importance of upskilling employees, adjusting protocols for passengers with disabilities/access requirements at airports and stations, as well as the provision and hygienic upkeep of mobility equipment.
- Accommodation, Bars and Restaurants: Focusing on accessibility to cater for different needs of clients, guaranteeing social distancing, and enhanced hygiene procedures in all tourism-related establishments.
- Tourist Activities: Including recommendations to help destinations and attractions adapt existing protocols by considering accessibility issues related to queuing, health and safety measures, and new venue capacities.
View the guide in its entirety by clicking here.
Courtesy of Groups Today.