Irish new quality mark for disability access

A new quality mark to be awarded to tourist accommodation judged accessible for people with disabilities could bring tourism worth millions of euro to Ireland, its creators have said.

The new ABLE Tourism Q Mark standards require facilities such as accessible bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens and supports such as personal alarms for people with disabilities. (Photo credit: Irish Times)

The new ABLE Tourism Q Mark standards require facilities such as accessible bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens and supports such as personal alarms for people with disabilities. (Photo credit: Irish Times)

The ABLE Tourism Q Mark, developed by Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA) in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, will be awarded to hotels, self-catering accommodation and caravan and camping parks that meet standards of accessibility.

The standards require facilities such as accessible bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens and supports such as personal alarms for people with disabilities.

Irene Collins, managing director of EIQA said the ultimate goal was to make Ireland “the first ABLE destination in the world”, with accessible holiday accommodation that guarantees the highest standards.

“We believe this will bring an entirely new tourist market worth millions of euro to our shores,” she said.

This morning, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan launched the award and presented the Q Mark to five facilities.

The Crowne Plaza hotels in Blanchardstown and Santry as well as Kilmore Cottages in Wexford, Blarney Caravan and Camping Park in Cork and the River Valley Holiday Park in Wicklow had already met the standards required.

Mr Hogan said the mark was a prime example of how local businesses can create new job opportunities and said it would become a “commercial imperative” for people in the hospitality sector.

“It’s a very appropriate time to be expanding the tourist product into a ready made market that we often take for granted,” he said.

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com