New legislation requiring hotel owners to improve accessibility for disabled guests comes into force on 1st October 2004 and Active Hotels
, is making significant changes to its website in order to display full accessibility information on each of its UK hotels.
In the UK there are 9.4 million disabled people and in England alone, 2.7 million disabled people regularly travel. Disabled people usually travel with friends, family or carers, and book accommodation well in advance, often returning on a regular basis once they have found the right facilities.
Active Hotels is supporting the National Accessible Scheme (NAS) to ensure that all UK hotels that have been awarded accessibility icons have these clearly displayed on their online brochure page.ÊThe NAS, developed by the English Tourism Council, is one of the most widely accepted ways of improving access and quality. It will not guarantee compliance with DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) but provides a nationally recognised rating that shows reasonable steps have been taken to comply with the DDA.
Active Hotels is also running an awareness campaign to encourage hotels who are not members of the NAS to participate in the scheme. In addition, the company is working closely with Jonathan Kaye, a consultant to the travel industry who is disabled himself, to help obtain accessibility statements from each hotel. The objectives are to identify information disabled guests might require when booking a hotel (for example, the amount of wheelchair turning space there is in a hotel room or whether the hotel offers a disability adjusted bathroom), and to promote the NAS symbols to help disabled customers choose the most appropriate accommodation.
All UK hotels listed on Active Hotels’ website: http://www.activereservations.com have been asked to complete a detailed survey of their premises, the results of which will be made available online for anyone to view.
Jonathan Kaye comments: “Many hotel owners do not fully understand the vast range of issues that disabled people face when visiting hotels and miss out on a big market opportunity as a result. I hope that this initiative will bring disabled people closer to achieving the ultimate goal of equal accessibility for all.”
Andy Phillipps, CEO of Active Hotels, comments: “Everyone should have access to all the information they need when choosing a hotel, whether they are disabled or not.Ê Active Hotels is committed to providing as much of this information as possible in the hope that it takes the hassle out of booking a hotel, no matter what a guest’s needs are.”