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Bahamas aims to attract disabled travellers

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently been urging countries to look at how they measure up in terms of accessible tourism, and to take the necessary steps to open up their hotels and attractions to people with disabilities. The Bahamas is the latest nation to take the initiative, recognising that the benefits of accessibility go far beyond attracting foreign holidaymakers; they will also benefit their own growing ageing population. In September they will host a symposium on accessible travel, and the government have created a department catering for people with disabilities; small but important first steps.

It’s encouraging to see countries deciding that providing accessible facilities is the right thing to do; hopefully the lure of the benefits brought by the resulting rise in tourism will be enough to see these aspirations come to fruition.

See the full story here: Bahamas To Target Disabled Tourists

Can Be Done offer a selection of hand-picked accessible hotels in the Caribbean.

Royal Palace on Mallorca opens its doors to public

There will be a new attraction for visitors to Mallorca from early 2017, when the gardens of the summer residence of the King and Queen of Spain open to the public. Marivent Palace was built in 1923 for the painter John Saridakis. When he died, the house was donated to the local authorities on condition that it would be a museum, but was soon adopted as a summer home for the Royal Family.

There has been recent political pressure to open the 33,000 sq m of gardens, and the King has given his blessing for public access to Marivent for over 9 months every year (it will remain closed when the King and Queen are in residence). Toilets and benches are being installed, and there will be access for disabled visitors.

Read more about the story here: Gardens of Marivent Palace to open to the public

 

UK airports can improve access for disabled passengers, according to CAA report

While the major UK airports may be gradually improving in terms of the facilities they offer to passengers with disabilities, there’s still a long way to go according to a recent report by the CAA.

The report grades each of the UK airports according to how well they provide support and access to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility, and looks specifically at waiting times for assistance, passenger satisfaction levels, and the amount of consultation between the airports and disability organisations. Manchester Airport was praised for conducting surveys of users, allowing them to quickly identify the areas they need to fix. Heathrow, while commended for many recent improvements, needs to improve the understanding of assistance needs by its frontline staff.

Read more about the CAA report: New CAA report rates airports on quality of assistance for passengers with a disability or reduced mobility (the article includes a link to the full report).

 

Barcelona – Europe’s most accessible city?

Some cities have taken more care than others to provide good access for both residents and visitors with disabilities. Barcelona is often highlighted as one of the best of the bunch, and visitors to the city quickly notice that public transport, hotels and major attractions have largely been designed (or updated) with disabled visitors in mind. For example Barcelona is one of very few cities where 100% of its buses are accessible; most metro stations (including all those recently built or redeveloped) also have wheelchair access. See this story from Catalan News Agency for more details, and check out the hand-picked selection of Barcelona hotels used by Can Be Done Holidays.

Mind you, one wheelchair user took his freedom to ride on Barcelona’s street a little too seriously – this video of him weaving in and out of the city’s traffic has taken the internet by storm.

Diana’s birthplace becomes a hotel for travellers with disabilities

The grand Park House on the Royal Sandringham estate has been converted to a hotel which caters for guests with disabilities, offering them and their carers a holiday in the English countryside. The house, originally built in 1863 by the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII), was the residence of the Spencer family during Diana’s early years.

Now run by the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, it boasts a fully-accessible environment featuring ceiling hoists, accessible baths and air-flow mattresses, as well as an in-house care team. George Crofton recently stayed at the Park House Hotel, and his review is featured in The Telegraph. He particularly enjoyed being able to soak in a Jacuzzi bath for the first time in around 15 years.

Read the full story here: A stay at Diana’s childhood home – now a hotel for travellers with disabilities

See the Can Be Done website for more information about accessible UK hotels.

Why neglecting the disabled loos is bad for business

We’ve all visited restaurants and seen the disabled loos used as store rooms for furniture, or blocked off by dining tables. It is one thing for a hospitality business to tick the box of providing a facility for its disabled customers, but it appears for many to be a step too far to make those facilities usable by the people they’re meant to serve.

A recent article on the Big Hospitality website highlights the issue of poor toilet provision for disabled customers, even in some of the most upmarket restaurants. It also offers 6 simple but effective suggestions for businesses to better cater for their customers with disabilities.

See the full article here: How top restaurants and hotels can improve their bad disabled loos

5 Accessible Hotels in Mallorca | The Disability Experts’ Pick

Paraplegic man in wheelchair and girfriend

At Can Be Done, we are often asked to organise Mallorca holidays for disabled groups and individuals who are in need of a relaxing break. Indeed, if you’re in search of that unbeatable mix of laid-back island culture combined with rich history and unparalleled natural splendour, Mallorca is a go-to destination.

If you have set your mind on a getaway to this Balearic Island, let me tell you about the accommodation options I like to offer when we book holidays for disabled clients with high accessibility needs.* Read more

Florence for Disabled Travellers – An Accessibility Review

The Fountain of Neptune in Florence

Florence is one of Italy’s cities most worth visiting – especially for culture connoisseurs who are drawn like magnets to the world-famous artworks, colourful history that exudes from every nook and cranny, and architectural triumphs including the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio.

For travellers with reduced mobility, however, it is important to be up to date about the status of the local disabled access. Holidays with Can Be Done always include highly accessible hotel accommodation, so that gives you one thing less to worry about – but how easy or hard is it to go sightseeing? Read more

A Wheelchair User’s Guide to the British Museum

British Museum in London

Throughout the 31+ years that I have been organising specialist holidays for disabled travellers eager to see the world, many of my clients have shown a great interest in visiting London – most notably for the unparalleled and often freely accessible collection of art that the British capital offers.

The British Museum, as well as many of London’s other world-renowned museums, is not only accessible in terms of ticket prices (entrance is free!) – it is also exemplary at catering to the accessibility needs of wheelchair users and visitors with other disabilities. In order to help you make a smooth entrance into the astounding world of art and antiquities that this collection has to offer, here is our comprehensive Wheelchair Users’ Guide to accessing the British Museum. Read more

The magic of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is rightly regarded as one the most accessible and fascinating destinations in Central America. Where else can you stare into the craters of dramatic volcanoes, experience the rainforest while whizzing above the canopy, and watch turtles as they hatch on one of the country’s many beautiful beaches? Add into the mix some grand colonial architecture and a rapid growth in quality restaurants to meet the demands of ever-increasing international visitors, and Costa Rica really does provide an appealing holiday option.

Here’s an article from The Guardian that shares more of its unique attractions and helps whet the appetite: Costa Rica Travel Guide.

Can Be Done offer a 9-night escorted tour to Costa Rica.

 

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