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New guidelines created by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will provide businesses with a means to create higher levels of inclusion and accessibility for travelers with disabilities. The new guidance is sorted into four key pillars: Developing an inclusive and accessible system; creating safe spaces; designing an engaging and relevant system; and exemplifying inclusion and accessibility. The framework was designed and developed with leaders in tourism, experts in travel and disability and research from intergovernmental organizations.
WTTC’s guidance will help to fill the gap in accessibility knowledge, experience and services within the travel space, and businesses would do well to become familiar with the guidance and examine how it relates to their own business models. Tangible action items include providing staff training on disability awareness (and how to foster a respectful environment at all locations, for all activities); developing accessibility features and products that do not require clients to warrant additional assistance from staff; giving out accessibility-specific information during the booking process; and collaborating with other travel businesses to educate and form best practices.
The Travel and Tourism sector is one of the most diverse in the world … Throughout its very nature, the sector promotes cultural exchange and understanding. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we reflect these values within the sector, as well.
- This new guidance follows a similar structure to the High-Level Inclusion and Diversity Guidelines and Mental Health Guidelines from WTTC.
- Additional recommendations from the WTTC report includes reminding staff that their attitude toward clients living with disabilities “plays an integral role in making that customer feel welcome and included” and that businesses should regularly engage with members of the disability community to ensure that their products are meeting their needs. Additionally, inclusive marketing should be developed to authentically represent all travelers.
- Almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their lives, and about 15% of the population live with some form of disability.
“The Travel and Tourism sector is one of the most diverse in the world,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC. “… Throughout its very nature, the sector promotes cultural exchange and understanding. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we reflect these values within the sector, as well. We look forward to seeing these guidelines make real change within the workforce.”
“People with disabilities have historically encountered many accessibility challenges while traveling,” said John Sage, president of Accessible Travel Solutions and the author of the guidelines. “Browsing, booking, flying, sightseeing, relaxing and sleeping all present their own specific obstacles. Consequently, many people with disabilities must spend many hours handling their own travel details or they stay home. WTTC's Inclusive and Accessible Travel Guidelines are an important step forward in bringing accessibility into the mainstream thereby making travel accessible for all."
“The Travel & Tourism sector has a unique role to play in building greater understanding in our global community as we welcome travelers of all backgrounds and abilities,” said Chris Nassetta, WTTC chairman and president and CEO of Hilton. “WTTC’s Inclusive & Accessible Travel Guidelines provide valuable insight for our industry as we continue on our journey to create truly inclusive and unforgettable experiences for all.”
A copy of the full report can be found here.
The DetailsWorld Travel & Tourism Councilwww.wttc.org