I’m not even very keen on surprises at Easter, when they are hidden inside the eggs, let alone when I’m about to start a journey. The world of disability is, alas, closely related to the word “surprise”, although smiles often turn into grimaces and you have to start an uphill trek.. Travelling involves physical and economic movements; planning everything to the nth degree is feasible, but it often spoils the poetry about discovering a new place.
The world of accessible tourism is indeed a maze of information and conflicting opinions with thousands of clicks on the web, to put together what little useful material there is, so as to be informed at least in part. There is no real tourist portal dealing with this subject, which knows the real limits of various locations and can provide alternatives or explain in detail the problems that one may encounter.
One aspect that always provides a number of surprises is booking your accommodation. For the sake of convenience, I go online a lot to find deals and materials; I always pray that everything is true and I always enjoy a spot of luck.
It may seem strange but not everything that is published reflects the truth of what you actually find. As always, I can recount an experience of my own about this point: I’ve sometimes come across hotel rooms defined as accessible, which in truth do not allow access even to a kid’s tricycle, or disabled bathroom facilities that instead of making their use easier have often been unusable even for assistants.
The problem lies in the term “accessible” for which there is no precise corresponding standard, but also in the poor attention paid when checking and inspecting facilities and their services.
An excellent compromise in order to avoid misunderstandings is, for example, the newborn portal called Bookingbility, a new startup in the sector that is really putting its heart and soul and intellect into it to become the leading light in this tourism niche. Accessible via the web from anywhere in the world, Bookingbility is the first portal for booking accommodation in real time which is suitable for people with disabilities and special needs. Here, in real-time, you can book hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes and apartments that are accessible to the disabled and to all those with special needs; all hotel facilities accessible for the disabled are carefully collected in this one place so as to avoid us making “bookings beyond our reach”.
And you don’t just find surprises, then, in interior spaces; they often lurk, for example, on beaches, paths, bathing establishments and mountain lodges, etc. There is no distinction between sea, mountains or lakes: the problem about false news in tourism is a daily reality.
It’s essential to find ways to limit this disservice, to encourage a responsible form of tourism that is truly accessible to everyone, because our country, just like the rest of the world, deserves to be seen and experienced by everyone.