Former Accessible Travelling Experiences Fail to Support Special Travellers Amid Covid-19
Travelling is a fulfilling experience for most adventurous souls. The pandemic has made leisure travelling quite challenging for all. With the easing travel bans, most travellers are now adapting to the ‘new normal’. Things are not the same for special travellers who could earlier enjoy accessible travelling experiences every now and then.
In addition to travelling with a wheelchair or some other motor impairment, special travellers have to now face new challenges amid Covid-19. As said by the Founder of Accessible Japan (an online community that provides support to disabled travellers), the biggest impact on travel is for special travellers who were using personal care as its difficult to get carers to go along now. Specifying the challenges of accessible travelling in the new world, he said, “Some agencies that provide carers don’t want us to go out at all and potentially expose the carer to Covid-19 as they would take it to other clients (including those with more severe disabilities)”.
Even though there are some firms working to encourage disabled travellers to explore international travelling opportunities, the pandemic has made their sustenance quite difficult. Since many disabled travellers are not planning to restart their travelling escapades before the launch of a Covid-19 vaccine, the future of such companies seems bleak.
As reported by BBC, some disabled people in the UK have not been able to get timely access to medication and breathing equipment amid the pandemic. Despite being nearly nine months in the pandemic, no country seems to be able to offer comfortable travelling experiences to special travellers.
Although UK’s Department of Transport is planning to invest £500,000 in projects that will improve services and encourage disabled people to explore new places, more practical and quick solutions are needed. As stated by the Transport Secretary — Grant Shapps, “Everybody’s way of travelling has been affected by COVID-19, but none more so than those who are disabled. While essential in tackling the virus I know the widespread use of masks, social distancing and changed timetables has been disconcerting for people with accessibility issues”.
Based on the current situation of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry across the globe, one can say that various small operators working to boost accessible travelling might not be able to survive the tide. As per the CEO and founder of Accessible Travel Solutions (the only accessible travel company on the World Travel and Tourism Council), this will significantly impact the availability of accessible vans and trip planners in the long run.
Hoping for the sun to shine bright for all those special travellers who have been stuck at one place amid the pandemic. Our heart goes to you. Hang in there buddy!!