August is a peak time for holidays, whether it’s a day trip to the beach or flying off to an exotic destination. These adventures provide a chance to reconnect with family and friends. That is if everyone can benefit from this quality time. Some resorts simply aren’t accessible, but the situation is improving; welcome to the inclusive holiday season!
Fully Accessible Beaches in Greece
Greece’s tourism minister is on a mission to make 287 of the country’s beaches fully accessible. It’s the latest step in the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics, where the country committed to improving accessibility for all.
Seatrac systems have been installed on the majority of the inclusive beaches for this summer’s national and international holidaymakers. These provide unassisted access down to the sea for those with limited mobility, and there’s more. More designated disabled parking spaces are available and fully accessible bathrooms and changing facilities have been installed.
In addition, wooden pathways and ramps now crisscross the sand, providing access to beach bars. They are popular with all beach users, including parents pushing buggies and older visitors.
This focus on inclusive holidays will enable Greek resorts to attract visitors who are often not catered for in holiday destinations. This untapped resource could significantly boost the country's tourist industry.
Greece isn’t the only accessible holiday destination. Catalonia in Spain has a reputation for inclusive tourism and a great tourist website. Further afield, Japan’s efficient and accessible public transport system makes it easy for visitors to get around. However, where are the good UK destinations?
Inclusive UK Destinations
My trip to Scotland in June included a day in Dundee. This city is undergoing a huge regeneration and is being made more accessible in the process. The number of disabled parking bays has increased, 13 Changing Places toilets have been installed and mobility hire services are available in the city. The new V&A has facilities to encourage everyone inside, including British Sign Language tours.
Further down the coast in England, Bridlington in Yorkshire is a beautiful seaside resort, with a long, smooth promenade. All-terrain wheelchairs can be hired from South Beach for use on the sand and in the sea. There are several accessible hotels and caravans available to hire.
Cardiff, in Wales, has pedestrianised the city centre, which makes it easier for people to explore the shopping arcades and Cardiff Castle. The castle grounds, visitor centre and café are fully accessible and facilities to aid visually or hearing-impaired visitors are available. The city is also home to Chapter Art Centre, featuring an inclusive cinema, with subtitled, audio-described and dementia screenings.
Have you got an inclusive holiday destination to recommend?
People with mobility issues, sight loss and other impairments want to enjoy holidays, bars and restaurants and entertainment as much as the next person. However, many venues lack basic facilities that make it possible for everyone to relax and recharge or get adventurous and try something new.
The needs of all visitors are often overlooked, even when major renovations are taking place. This means that venues are missing out on a significant percentage of visitors who want to enjoy their time off and nights away without worrying about what barriers they may face.
Changes should include reasonable adaptions. It also means awareness training for staff, so they are friendly and helpful to all. When facilities are installed, ensure everyone in the team knows how to use them so they can confidently deliver great customer service.
For inspiration on how fantastic a fully accessible room can be, take a look at The Londoner in Leicester Square or Hotel Brooklyn’s Liberty Suites in Manchester and Leicester. These offer great facilities with no compromise on a 5-star experience.
So, to boost visitor numbers, invest in inclusive entertainment and make your place a stand out destination! Isn’t it time to ensure everyone can enjoy quality time with friends and family?