David Scowsill has called for the tourism sector to be more accessible, during a speech at World Tourism Day celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand.
The president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council said: “Tourism needs to take accessibility requirements seriously.
“The imperative is not only moral, but it also makes good business sense.”
“The global Sustainable Development Goals provide a roadmap for a more equitable and sustainable future.
“If tourism is going to be truly inclusive in its growth, it must ensure that it is accessible to everyone.”
Nearly 15 per cent of the world’s population is estimated to live with some form of disability.
As populations get older, the number of people with special needs is going to increase.
Scowsill added: “Many tourism businesses can be deterred from making themselves more accessible.
“Sometimes they have financial concerns about the investment necessary to alter or refit their facilities, and at other times they are concerned about offending people.
“That is why days such as the World Tourism Day are so important.
“We need to raise awareness of the opportunities of accessibility and the mechanisms by which it can be achieved,” stressed Scowsill.
Scowsill identified three priorities for the tourism sector when it comes to accessibility:
Scowsill further argued that catering for people with disabilities goes far beyond those travellers restricted to wheelchairs.
It includes all forms of mobility restrictions, hearing or visual impairments, learning disabilities or mental health issues.
It encompasses the needs of an ageing population around the world.