Disabled charity Scope says the hospitality sector is missing out on “millions of pounds” and to has urged it to invest more in “betters access and emergency evacuation solutions” for disabled travellers.
According to the charity, those with disabilities avoided travelling for fear of receiving poor service. It suggested that the UK was missing out on £1.8bn spend per month.
A panel of disability experts spoke at the Abta Accessible Travel seminar last month, where the dangers of not investing in proper emergency evacuation equipment was also highlighted, as firms were told that those without appropriate facilities put the lives of disabled people at risk.
According to a survey carried out by hotel-access consultancy, AccessChamp, 80% of respondents were not given a personal emergency form or plan when they checked into a hotel.
Speaking at the seminar, Arnold Fewell, managing director of AVF Marketing, said: “Travel companies, hotels and attractions are missing out on a huge opportunity and there will come a time in the future where accessibility is the norm.”
Fewell spoke of his own experience at a hotel where a fire alarm had gone off and he was left stranded with no means of escape. It was only once the fire brigade showed up and the alarm had stopped that Fewell was checked on.
He added: “I would urge businesses to take advantage of the market opportunity as any time and investment you put in now will pay off because you will be at the forefront of the market.”