Disabled holidaymakers face so many problems travelling abroad that many do not bother taking a holiday, disability charity Leonard Cheshire warns in a new report “ Wish You Were Here “.
The charity says that disabled people encounter difficulties from the moment they try to make a booking. It is calling on tour operators, the government and the EU to improve access in a number of ways.
The charity points out that while many people take foreign breaks for granted, disabled travellers are faced with a series of obstacles which can put them off foreign travel altogether. It interviewed more than 100 disabled people to ask about their holiday experiences.
The report found that:
- A quarter of those surveyed who had not taken a holiday in the past year said it was because of problems with accessibility
- Almost half of those who did take a holiday thought their travel agent or tour operator lacked basic disability awareness
- Almost 60% of those who has taken a holiday had problems with transport
- Nearly a quarter had had a wheelchair or other mobility aid damaged in transit
- Almost one in three people found their accommodation inaccessible
- Nearly a quarter had difficulty obtaining travel insurance
“The package holiday has been around for over 50 years, so why should disabled people still find travelling abroad difficult?” says John Knight, of Leonard Cheshire.
It the providers of travel insurance to deal with disabled people on a case-by-case basis.
Long-standing disability legislation in the US means that disabled travellers have tended to report more positive experiences, a state of affairs with which Europe has yet to catch up.