On the International Day of People with Disability (3 December – a United Nations–sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being) Lonely Planet (LP) has launched an accessible travel project. LP hosts the world’s largest, most well-known, highly respected and frequented online travel community, and they want to extend that to the accessible travel community. The new project seeks to make travel possible for more people. LP believes that travel is a force for good when practised responsibly, and that travel enriches those who are touched by it either directly or indirectly. Travelling with a disability requires a lot of organisation, but information on accessibility is often hard to find. Around 50% of people with a disability would travel more if they could be sure more accessible facilities were available. With almost a billion people in the world (about 15% of the world’s population) have a physical, mental or sensory disability, and LP believes it’s important to ensure their access to travel opportunities is not limited. LP hopes to become the world’s premier provider of accessible travel information, the first port of call for all accessible travel needs, not only for those with a disability, but for anybody with access issues.
LP will give people with disabilities the platform to share their information and experiences, through their existing Thorn Tree forum, and social media channels such as Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. They know that there is no group of people better qualified to assess the accessibility of venues than those themselves affected by access issues and none more highly motivated to provide advice and recommendations for their peers. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recommendations on ‘Accessible Tourism for All’ (2013) have been approved by the General Assembly. The recommendations outline a form of tourism that will enable people with access requirements to travel independently through universally designed tourism products and services. These recommendations were developed within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A manual on ‘Accessible Tourism for All’ is set to be published in late 2013, designed to guide tourism stakeholders in how to improve the accessibility of tourism destinations, facilities and services worldwide. The development of the manual is a joint effort between UNWTO, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and two Spanish institutions, the ACS Foundation and the ONCE Foundation. As UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai says, ‘We must come to appreciate that accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities or special needs, it benefits us all.’
Source: LP press reease. For more information visit the LP website: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/travel-for-all-join-lonely-planets-accessible-travel-project Follow on Twitter: @lonelyplanet @UN_Enable @UNWTO @Fundacion_ONCE