Traveler disabilities can range from physical limitations that minimise mobility to psychological trauma that has an impact on their emotional health or ability to process the world around them. While it’s impossible to be completely prepared for every type of disability you may encounter, you can become a more accessible tour operator by being aware of the most common traveler disabilities.
According to Tourism & Events Queensland, these are the six most common disabilities among travelers. Learn how you can improve the experience for these travelers:
Mobility issues are far and away the most common disability among travelers, with 78 percent of disabled travelers reporting that their largest accessibility issue is mobility. From those who require the use of a wheelchair or walker to get around to those who simply have a difficult time moving across a longer distance, those with mobility issues often feel left out of the traveler experience. You can work to accommodate this group of travelers by offering wheelchairs on-site, investing in accessible vehicles that can load and unload wheelchairs, and creating accessible tours that do not require travelers to walk a long distance to experience the area.
About 31 percent of disabled travelers report that they have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, which can impact their overall experience while traveling. Those who suffer from anxiety or depression may have a difficult time on a tour, given the size of the tour group or the experience that is available. To appeal to those with mental health disorders, you could offer a few tours with smaller groups and in quieter settings.
Those who have cognitive disabilities still crave the travel experience. By offering packages that appeal to those with cognitive impairments as well as to their carers, you can show that you are welcoming to these travelers and that you will make sure they have an enjoyable experience.
Those who suffer from noise intolerance can find it difficult to be in large groups and busy settings. You can create quiet tours that are available several times per week, so people can choose the experience that they want to enjoy.
Travelers who are blind can still experience your products when you provide them with the right resources. Aids to help them maneuver through the experience as well as Braille guidebooks can help them actively participate in your tours.
Those who have a difficult time hearing may benefit from a sign language interpreter or a video that offers closed captioning. This allows them to get the information they need to fully enjoy your tour or activity.
Recognising the fact that a diverse group of people with a wide range of abilities will be visiting your tour company is one of the first steps necessary to become a more inclusive and accessible business. Once you have done your research and you are aware of the types of disabilities some of your travelers may have, you can make changes at your tour company to improve your products and make them more appealing to this market segment.
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Image credit: Anas Aldyab