As much as it is enjoyable, tourism also has it’s challenges. Think back to the last time you faced difficulties when travelling, whether you had to climb what seemed like millions of stairs to get anywhere or you struggled to ask for food or catch a taxi because of the language barrier. Maybe crossing a busy street was a scary experience, or you felt lost half the time. Now imagine how much harder it would be to travel with a disability.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as many as one billion people will find it harder to enjoy the rewards of tourism, such as the privilege of knowing other cultures, appreciating nature at its fullest and experiencing the thrill of embarking on a journey to explore new sights.
ISO standards developed by technical committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services, set out guidelines and best practices that promote universal accessibility in tourism and enable travel industry service providers to reap the commercial benefits that flow from it. For example, ISO 13009, Tourism and related services – Requirements and recommendations for beach operation, raises the importance of making beaches accessible, with such amenities as toilets, showers or foot washes and a drinking water point adapted for people with specific needs. Access to the beach should also be facilitated by access ramps and boardwalks, with direct access to the water, if at all possible. Beaches that are more accessible are believed to attract more holidaymakers, including visitors with special needs and their families. Tourism must be for everyone’s enjoyment.
QSI America can contribute to the growth and development of its clients by offering training, auditing and certification services in order to fulfill their expectations.