UK Travel Industry Urged To Offer More Assistance to Differently Abled Travellers

The recent success of the 2012 London Olympic Games has helped to highlight the fact that most of the UK’s hotels, attractions, rail operations and airlines are yet to be fully supportive of people with limited mobility¬†or other access needs.

The impetus that the games has generated in the UK has been taken up by a number of charitable organisations that have highlighted the lack of facilities at British hotels and attractions.

Guy Parckar, the head of policy and campaigns at the charity, Leonard Cheshire Disability, said in an interview, ‘Often accessible hotels are rendered totally inaccessible because staffs aren’t trained. We recently heard of a hotel guest who was turned away because he had a guide dog – remarkable in this day and age. We’d also like to see hotels looking beyond the provision of level access and consider additional features like hoists to cater for a variety of disabilities.

London’s bus network is very good, but we still hear of drivers refusing to stop for wheelchair users or ramps that don’t work. Facilities on trains are getting better, but stations have a long way to go and sometimes staff will be unable to offer assistance with simple things like handling a wheelchair.’

Earlier, VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England, released a new online guidance aimed at catering¬†for travellers with access needs. The ‘Winning More Visitors’ online guide provides access information assistance for destinations.

Brian Seaman, of charity, Tourism for All, said, ‘We are lucky that, despite the economic situation, money is still being spent on better accessibility for the disabled, but there’s always room for more improvements.’

TripAdvisor Survey Reflects Economic Optimism of UK Hotel Owners

UK Hotel operations are among the most profitable in Europe, and hotel companies are feeling optimistic regarding the industry’s buoyancy, according to TripAdvisor, a company that provides an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information.

The latest update of the TripAdvisor Industry Index survey has revealed that economic optimism is prevalent in the UK hospitality industry, with 27 percent of around 2,500 respondents from the UK prepared to state their faith in economic growth. This can be compared to the TripAdvisor Industry Index survey statistics released in December 2011, when only around 19 percent of the respondents had stated their belief in an economic upswing.

With 79 percent of respondents having described their current operations as beneficial or very profitable in the last six months, this makes the UK hotel industry the third most profitable hospitality industry in Europe, with only Turkey and Germany outperforming it.

When asked if Britain’s time on the world stage this summer, would have any lasting effect on business, with London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games following on the heels of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, over half of respondents (58 percent) stated it would have no effect. A third of respondents (35 percent) were more positive, saying there would be either a short-term or long-term improved effect.

Even if the 2012 London games fail to have a positive impact on the UK hotel industry, the Eurozone crisis is likely to have a more serious impact, as around 87 percent of respondents expect the crisis to impact on their bottom lines in next six months.