Leonard Cheshire Report Maps out the Future for Accessible and Inclusive Travel

Europe, December 17 2020

Leonard Cheshire has worked with online travel agency Expedia Group to produce a roadmap for the travel industry to be more inclusive and accessible for disabled people.

The two organisations commissioned the ‘Breaking Down Barriers to Travel’ report to call on the travel industry to be more inclusive of disabled people.

Travel plans may be on hold for much of the world in 2020 but the report makes the case for resuming activity in a more inclusive way after the pandemic.

The report draws recommendations based on interviews with disabled travellers and it includes examples of best practice at services, including hoteliers, airlines, and travel agents.

It recommends designing barrier-free travel experiences – for instance in airports and hotels – for disabled travellers; making all information for disabled travellers clear; providing a more inclusive customer service; and including disabled people in the design and decision-making of products and services.

Jezza Williams, Founder of inclusive adventure tourism company Makingtrax, was among those to contribute the report. She said: “After I became a tetraplegic in 2010, I looked at the outdoor industry and realised that there weren’t that many opportunities out there.

“With a lifetime of experience, I wanted to open the adventure industry as much as I could. Inclusive tourism is key – we have to tailor our experiences to our clients and give travellers confidence that we can provide them with a great, inclusive adventure.”

Marriott International shared its experiences of working with disabled travellers to assist with the design of accessible hotel rooms. As a result, it says, it instituted a new minimum height for beds at more than 200 hotels around the world as part of its ‘Room For All’ initiative.

Verity Ayling-Smith, Training and Consultancy Advisor at Leonard Cheshire, who authored the report, said: “2020 has been a difficult year for the travel industry, and it is important for providers to be open to the widest possible group when the world emerges from lockdown.

“Our report, we hope, gives providers the information and inspiration they need to start or continue their inclusion journey. We greatly appreciate Expedia Group’s role in taking the lead in educating the rest of the sector.”

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