Tourism is a huge industry. Who doesn’t like to travel to either explore new cultures and environments or relax? Travel for people with disabilities is tricky on many levels. I’ve personally had the good fortune to travel to a lot of different places for business and pleasure. Often there have been challenges despite an enormous effort spent on trying to prearrange for my access needs. I can’t stress enough how the lack of clearly defined parameters about access makes for the potential for disasters. I have learned by experience how to avoid difficult situations (to a degree).

Traveling to the United States usually is problem-free and I suspect this is due to the ADA (American’s with Disability Act). It disappoints me to no end that traveling within my own country is often fraught with problems. I have had accessibility problems with everything from hotels, spas, restaurants, retail stores, theatre houses, etc.

However, I must also mention there is a number of forward-thinking tourism enterprises that have developed features with those with disabilities in mind. For example, there are several ski and other sport-related businesses that include features to support patrons with different abilities. Outward bound, scuba diving for the disabled, therapeutic horse riding, tandem parachuting are just a few examples.

There are several organizations (some non-profit), agencies, and private businesses that promote awareness of and provide information for people with special needs concerning travel opportunities. Do a bit of web searching before you go anywhere and then go back to the ways of the past, and pick up the phone and connect with someone that works at the hotel, resort, etc. and be very clear about what you require in order to ascertain whether this is the ideal tourism experience to fit both your needs and desires.



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Access is a right
...not a privilege

Access by definition means right of entry. Now that you know a little bit about my access needs, use me as a benchmark. Look around and ask, how accessible is this building, venue, home, office, city, town, country – could Susan and others with disabilities enter with ease?

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