On 27 September we celebrate the annual World Tourism Day. It was brought into being in 1980 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in order to raise awareness for the importance of tourism in various sectors, ranging from society over culture to economy. Every year, there is a host country and a specific topic: This year’s World Tourism Day is hosted by Thailand and it is promoting the idea of Universal Accessibility under the motto “Tourism for All”.
Travelling the world is becoming more and more easy: Inexpensive flights and well established local transport systems allow globetrotters to discover even the remotest corners of the world. However, to some extent this is only true for younger travellers as the elderly and people with disabilities might still encounter numerous obstacles on their journeys.
“Everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis. Yet 1 billion people around the world living with disability, along with young children, seniors and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing fundamentals of travel such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate”, explains Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General.
This is not only with respects to longer journeys but can also be the case for weekend getaways and staycations. For instance, if you opt for the coach as your means of transport, it is necessary to check the individual company’s standards regarding accessibility. Although the EU passenger rights define some of the more basic features and services, which need to be offered to passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility, the individual nations themselves are encouraged to come up with better defined and more clear-cut rules and regulations.
However, conditions on coach travels can vary to a significant degree, which is why CheckMyBus has created a guide for coach passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility, which tells you whether you’re entitled to discounts, allowed to take your guidance dog or whether it’s possible to reserve a wheelchair space on intercity buses (and how you can book it): Accessibility of Long Distance Coaches: A Bus for Everyone(?)