Thinking of going on a short break this bank holiday weekend? Carrie-Ann, from Tourism for All UK, tells Disability Horizons about the new OpenBritain website, which aims to give disabled travellers all the information they need in one place.
It has long been the dream of the charity I work for, Tourism for All UK, to create a one-stop-shop for accessible holiday and travel information. We know how frustrating it can be for people with access needs when even planning a simple UK break means having to search dozens of different websites to find the information needed, literally spending day and night online.
Inspired by tales of disabled travellers, including myself, we wanted to rectify this, giving people all the information they need in one place. And so, the website OpenBritain was launched in March this year as part of British Tourism Week.
Whether it’s a hotel with wheelchair access or a restaurant with a braille menu, OpenBritain will help to provide you with the perfect choice of locations for your time away. You can search by region or by category of provider, such as B&B or self catering, and identify your precise needs so that a list is generated of all the places that meet your personal requirements.
You can also search for locations, towns or attractions that include accessible parking, step-free access, lifts and verbal announcements. Some hotels and B&Bs even list whether they cater for special dietary requirements or have non-allergenic bedding available.
The website already lists over 8,000 tourism businesses, all of which are committed to accessibility. As such, OpenBritain showcases destinations around the UK that are working particularly hard with local partners to provide a great welcome for disabled visitors.
Putting together the website and going live in time for British Tourism Week was a challenging time for us, especially as we’re such a small charity. But through a variety of reader competitions, trade contacts and our own resources, we’ve managed to pull together some really exciting content that will hopefully inspire people with access requirements to travel in the UK.
This is very much a phase one of our development and we need everyone to take part for it to really achieve its goals, so please do send feedback, suggest businesses to be listed and share the site far and wide.
Speaking at the OpenBritain launch at the House of Lords, Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “Planning any sort of trip when you have a physical disability can be a real challenge. Bringing together all the information that’s needed into one site will be a tremendous help and is long overdue. I hope that every hotel, attraction and restaurant in Britain will take advantage of the chance to easily promote their facilities to disabled travellers.”
We hope you enjoy the site!
By Carrie-Ann Lightley
We want to make sure that all Disability Horizons readers have as much accessible information about their chosen destination as possible. So, if you have a trip to tell us about, get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons or leaving your comments below.