Travel industry failing disabled travellers

Despite the success of the London Paralympics, new research has revealed that 86 percent of disabled people who responded to a recent survey think the UK travel industry is still not providing sufficient information about disabled access and facilities.

The survey, which was carried out by Adapted Vehicle Hire, the UK’s largest supplier of rental vehicles for disabled drivers and charity, Tourism For All UK, also revealed that 87 percent of respondents had been prevented from travelling because of their disability.

A further 77 percent consider disabled access to be ‘very important’ when planning where to go on holiday.

London was identified as the part of UK with the best disabled access and facilities but despite improvements made in the run up to the Paralympics, the Underground was singled out for criticism.

The UK’s airports and train stations also fared badly in the survey with respondents claiming more needed to be done to make them accessible for all.

However there was some encouraging news as over 92 percent of people thought that disabled access had improved overall in the past ten years – 28 percent thought that access was ‘significantly better’.

Lorraine Farnon, Managing Director of Adapted Vehicle Hire, said: “The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that despite gradual progress, more needs to be done to make the travel industry more accessible for disabled people.

“Following the outstanding success of the Paralympics which has brought disability issues increasingly into the mainstream, there is now an opportunity to make real improvements to access and facilities across the UK.”

Carrie-Ann Lightley, Information Officer from Tourism For All UK, said: “Tourism For All has been campaigning for the past 30 years to improve the range of travel options and facilities for disabled people. Our view is that tourism is important to everyone and we support the government’s aim of making UK tourism the most accessible in Europe.

“We are heartened that most people feel that access and facilities have improved in the past ten years, but the survey also revealed there are big variations across the UK. Access to some rural and historic sites will always present more of a challenge for disabled visitors, but places like airports have scope for significant improvement to better meet the needs of disabled travellers.”

The survey results also identified Cornwall and Devon as the most popular holiday destination, followed closely by Spain and France.

Several venues from across the UK were praised for their ease of access and suitability for disabled visitors including National Trust properties and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

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