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Tourism: Accessibility Pays!
A wide ranging study by the University of Muenster in Germany and two consulting companies recently revealed on how much profit the tourism trade misses out each year.
According to this research, 48% of the handicapped interviewees would travel more often, if accessible offers were available. Currently, many people with disabilities refrain from travelling, due to the many obstacles and difficulties they are facing. Thus, only half of the disabled citizens of Germany take a week-long trip each year, compared to 75% of the non-disabled Germans going on such a holiday.
But many of the disabled people interviewed for the study are willing to pay appropriately for accessible holidays, which would create the mentioned extra benefit for the tourism industry. And the forecasted Euro 5 billion do not even include the complete potential of barrier-free travel, as companions and foreign tourists weren't even included in the calculation.
Furthermore, accessible accommodation is not even seen as the main problem by many of the interviewees: For what is the point of a nice and fully wheelchair accessible hotel if the culture and leisure facilities at the holiday resort are not barrier-free? Thus, hotel owners and tourism boards should form regional networks to improve their services.
Often, a considerable increase in accessibility can be achieved by small and pragmatic adaptations. Advice for these improvements is collected in planning aids by the two consulting companies and the German drivers association, the ADAC.
- More information can be found on the website of Neumann Consult (German Language only)