Luxury holiday operator, Oliver’s Travels, has conducted a study that revealed more than 50% of the people with disabilities find travel considerably more difficult or near impossible.
In order to gain valuable insights and improve its services, Oliver’s Travels surveyed 1,000 people with disabilities to know exactly what challenges they face when travelling. Through the research, it was found that one of the key issues affecting people with disabilities when travelling is feeling uncomfortable around other holidaymakers, which is a concern for more than 30% of the respondents.
Other key difficulties include airports, airline and other transport not being adapted for those with disabilities, while a lack of accessible booking options is another key hurdle for almost 25% of the respondents.
“Need to improve our accessible travel provisions”
Oliver Bell, co-founder and owner of Oliver’s Travels, said: “It was incredibly important for us to gain further insight into accessible travel and the key barriers facing travellers with disabilities.
“The results of our survey have been invaluable to us in identifying the areas in which we need to improve our accessible travel provisions, and we hope our findings will encourage a step in the right direction for the travel industry as a whole.”
In today’s travel industry, highly-personalised services has become a trend but it seems that travel for the disabled still needs improvement. The research found that although there are many travel options that offer accessibility, it can leave disabled travellers out of pocket. 40% of those in the survey revealed that accessible travel is always more expensive in order to have the necessary support and adaptations to meet their needs.
Generally speaking, respondents stated that they did not find tour operators particularly supportive in catering to travellers with disabilities and 16% say that those working within the hospitality industry need to be provided with full training on how to understand and support accessible travel needs.
This may be a key reason why almost a third of those surveyed stated that they prefer to travel with companies who prioritise accessible travel, but find it is not always possible.
On the brighter side, however, 44% of respondents said that they have seen a small improvement in accessibility options in the last five years and expect to see further improvement in the next five years.
The research proves that the travel industry should evidently be correcting the issues identified. Travel companies must continue to review ways in which they can adapt and improve their accessible travel options moving forward.
Since conducting the research, Oliver’s Travels have been making key developments to their website to ensure their online resources and booking options are accessible for all. Additionally, the team has conducted research into travel tools and resources to help support travellers with disabilities while on holiday.