15% OF GLOBAL POPULATION

Easing tourism access for disabled will multiply returns

Doing this is more than just erecting a ramp at the entrance

In Summary

• Part of this is ensuring that venues have sanitary facilities for the disabled, handrails in bathrooms, braille in lifts, providing hydraulic lifts in big tour buses.

• People with disabilities travel in groups and with caregivers, are likely to return to a destination where they felt comfortable. 

Disabled people at the Meru county headquarters in Meru town on June 25
MORE THAN JUST PARKING SPACE: Disabled people at the Meru county headquarters in Meru town on June 25
Image: DENNIS DIBONDO

There are around one billion people (15 per cent of the world’s population) living with some form of disability according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

With the holiday peak season looming, there is a need to recognise that easing accessibility to everyone is more than just erecting a ramp at the entrance to a hotel or reserving a parking slot for the disabled.

Airports, hotels, and other tourism facilities must cater to the needs of people living with disabilities. Part of this is ensuring venues have sanitary facilities for the disabled, handrails in bathrooms, braille in lifts, providing hydraulic lifts in big tour buses and even lowering reception desks so that the receptionists are eye-to-eye with their wheelchair-bound guests. Hospitality venues have gradually been implementing changes to cater for the disabled.

Local brands have made tremendous moves in positioning the country as a universally accessible tourism destination by offering products that are adapting to the needs of people with disabilities.

The Declaration on Universal Accessibility in Tourism which Kenya is a state party to, agreed that everyone needed equal access to attractions and facilities and that it was the right thing to do.

The sector is worth billions of shillings every year. The disabled and the ageing generally travel with family, friends or caretakers, so there is a multiplying ripple effect. It is a sector that cannot and should not be ignored.

The potential market for universal accessible tourism in Kenya is said to be about 30 per cent of the population and a portion of those have disposable income and can afford to travel and that is a market the industry should be tapping into.

 

Founder and MD, PrideInn Group of Hotels