The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched new guidelines for inclusion and accessibility in the sector.
The work focuses on the experience of travellers with disabilities and is designed to help make the tourism industry a more inclusive space.
The guidelines were compiled on the basis of insights and frameworks developed by private sector leaders in tourism, travel and disability experts and research from intergovernmental organisations.
The guidelines are divided into four pillars:
- Developing an inclusive and accessible system
- Creating safe spaces
- Designing an engaging relevant system
- Exemplifying inclusion and accessibility
Highlights from these important guidelines include providing training to staff on disability awareness and how to support travellers with disabilities, as well as collaborating with other businesses in areas where there are gaps in accessibility knowledge, experience and services.
The report also emphasises the importance of fostering a respectful environment at all locations and for all activities, specifically reminding staff that their attitude towards people with disabilities plays an integral role in making that customer feel welcome and included.
There is also an importance given to developing accessibility features that are clear, overt, and which such travellers do not require special assistance from staff to use.
Furthermore, the guidelines make clear that businesses should regularly and proactively engage travellers with disabilities in the creation of accessible products and services so that these meet their needs appropriately.
They should also include accessibility features from the booking process, enabling travellers with disabilities to engage with the business before booking their travel service or product.
Staff should also be empowered to address customer concerns as they occur or to engage other staff members if and where necessary, and inclusive marketing should be developed to dignify representations of all people and authentically represent them.
Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the WTTC, said: “WTTC is proud to release these important high-level guidelines, which will help tourism businesses of all kinds, foster more accessible and inclusive environments.
“The sector is one of the most diverse in the world.
“As the report shows and according to the World Health Organisation, almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life, and about 15 per cent of the global population live with some form of disability.
“It is therefore imperative that we are inclusive.”
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