Travel & Holidays

Disability and accessible tourism: the ultimate guide

The Bimblers describe themselves as the UK’s most unlikely travel bloggers. Rob, together with his partner Bridget, travel in a wheelchair, reviewing access as they go. Driven by the mantra “Access For All” Rob has joined us to share his thoughts, observations and ideas to make travel easier for people of all abilities. In today’s post… the ultimate guide to accessible tourism.


Did you read Accessible Tourism – The Movers, Shakers and Influencers?

If you did, you’ll know I mentioned Martin Heng, Lonely Planet’s Accessible Tourism Manager. You may also remember, I explained how important he is to the success of accessible tourism and how hard he works to promote it.

Not that he does it for praise, but he’s gone and surpassed anything I could have imagined, he’s created the most comprehensive accessible tourism resource on the web… better still, he’s giving it away free.

If you would like your free copy of The Ultimate Accessible Tourism Guide – download it here (PDF Format).

I’m sure, once you see how useful this guide is, you’ll agree that it’s a game changer for the accessible tourism movement, here’s why:

Accessible holiday information in one place

We all know travelling with a disability is hard. There are so many things to consider, plans to make and hurdles to jump before you can even consider setting off on holiday.

By a country mile, the highest hurdle to travelling with a disability is the lack of useful and accurate information, without it, we simply can’t travel.

What have been missing are a central resource and a guide to where we can find the resources. I honestly believe the accessible tourism guide Martin and Lonely Planet have produced ticks both of these boxes.

From a traveller’s perspective, you can choose virtually any destination in the world and the guide will show you where to look for factual access information. It will give you details of official resources, private organisations, specialist travel agents and personal blogs of people who have actually travelled to your destination of choice.

I know from our own audience on The Bimblers, people trust people much more than official departments. When you’re travelling with a disability, there really is no better information than from someone in the same situation as you and who’s visited the place you want to visit.

Martin understands this, he has helpfully structured the guide, alphabetically, by country and it’s searchable. In his own words, the resource is an ongoing project and is by no means exhaustive, and in my words, it is the most useful resource online today.

I would encourage anyone who travels with a disability or access issues to read the guide, share it and if you can, contribute to it – we have!

The travel industry

The ultimate accessible tourism guide does more than collate access information, it sends out a message to the tourism industry. If ever there was a doubt that accessible travel is important, this doubt should now be quelled.

The fact that Lonely Planet and Martin have produced the guide can only mean one thing. The travel industry can no longer dismiss millions of disabled travellers as a niche market.

When an industry leader like Lonely Planet places so much emphasis on this section of the market, it would be commercial suicide to ignore it.

In my last post The Accessible Tourism Dilemma, I called for collaboration and collective working to promote access in the travel market.

I mentioned the magic bullet (information), little did I know that Martin and Lonely Planet was about to gold plate the bullet, their timing is perfect and it can only mean good things for us and the wider travel industry.

More accessible resources to come

We should not underestimate the importance and potential reach of this guide, nor can we afford to rest on our laurels.

We should use the publication as a springboard, a rallying cry towards universal access in the tourism industry.

As travellers, we can use the guide as a source of trusted information. We can quote it in our dealings with tourism providers and we should champion it among our friends and peers alike.

For those of us who have an interest in accessible tourism, we can take inspiration from it and know that our voices are not going unheard.

For travel providers and professionals, if you needed proof, here it is. If you needed ideas, inspiration, guidance or just someone to talk to, read the guide it’s full of resources for you too.

If you haven’t already, download The Ultimate Accessible Tourism Guide – it’s free!

By Robert Obey

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