We often hear about accessibility, in relation to hospitality, parking or services.
However, this term often conceals unpleasant surprises, due to the absence of an Italian standard and a culture that still fails to understand the real needs of someone with a motor disability.
Stefania Marson, a travel consultant for Evolution Travel, with many years’ experience in accessible holidays, knows this all too well.
Hello Stefania. Tell us about what you do.
I plan accessible holidays for anyone who lives with a disability, whether it is a motor, sensory or mental one. My work consists primarily of selecting structures that have been checked and confirmed as genuinely accessible. For each structure, I work with my team and a network of collaborators to check all the environments and ensure that a disabled person can access and use all the services the structure offers.
What does organising a genuinely accessible holiday mean?
It means going a step further, after selecting the structure. My work consists of considering the timings and the difficulties faced by a disabled person on holiday. It also involves creating itineraries for an individual or a group that allow people with disabilities to enjoy the same things as the able-bodied, without repercussions or delays. It involves studying times, spaces and routes in detail, to ensure it is a holiday for everyone.
Do you plan holidays in Italy alone or abroad as well?
I work a great deal abroad and collaborate with local agencies specialised in accessibility. Over the years, we have created a solid network and checked structures in every corner of the world. To cite just a few examples, we can organise accessible safaris, tours in the world’s major cities, with precise indication of accessible museums with ad hoc itineraries, tactile guides or olfactory experiences, holidays in disabled friendly spas or in the mountains, with nature paths accessible to wheelchair users.
What do you recommend for someone living with a disability?
Based on my many years of experience, I would strongly recommend that people with disabilities should never forgo the enjoyment of a holiday and should use the services of professional and qualified operators for precise and careful planning of the itineraries. It is possible to travel with a disability nowadays and there are excellent structures pretty much everywhere in the world now, who will make you feel truly welcome. Happy holidays everyone!