Like many cities in developing countries, Rio is not very disabled-friendly and, with its purse strings already stretched to the max to get the basic facilities ready for the Games, how well set up will it be for the thousands of Paralympic athletes set to descend on the city for the Paralympic Games in early September? And what about the thousands of disabled sports fans who will be visiting to watch the Olympics or Paralympics?
With this in mind, Lonely Planet sent wheelchair user Emily Rose Yates – a Games Maker at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and an accessibility consultant for MetroRio – to put in the hard yards on the ground and write a guide with the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip and what to watch out for if you have a disability. The International Paralympic Committee has ordered copies of Accessible Rio De Janeiro to put in the welcome pack for athletes arriving the Olympic Village. But, as part of its Travel for All initiative launched in 2013, Lonely Planet is giving away electronic versions of the guide to the public for free.
The guide covers everywhere you’re likely to want to go if you’re visiting Rio for the 2016 Olympic or Paralympic Games – the Maracanã Football Stadium, Copacabana, Barra da Tijuca, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea and more – with neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood accessible top tips. Disabled athletes and visitors will discover where to surf and samba with local disabled people’s organizations, and how to explore the lively nightlife scene and take in amazing beach views from Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain). From what to expect when you land and how to avoid the hassle of unexpected barriers, to planning an accessible weekend, this guide has it all.
Supplementing all the features of Lonely Planet guides that have made them the traveller’s Bible – essential information, detailed maps, honest reviews and cultural insights – with information about the accessibility of sports venues, restaurants, cafes and hotels, Accessible Rio De Janeiro will be indispensable for anyone travelling to Rio who has access needs.
E-book versions, also free, are available from the following sites:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lonely_Planet_Lonely_Planet_Accessible_Rio?id=pYbCDAAAQBAJ&hl=en
Authors: Emily Rose Yates, Regis St. Louis
“Emily is clearly passionate about accessible travel and inspired by her experience at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where she volunteered as a Games Maker. So it is great that she is now working on a guide which will provide practical support and encouragement for disabled people to go out to Rio to experience the Paralympic Games for themselves. Her travel guide is very much aligned with the BPA’s vision ‘through sport, a better world for disabled people’ and as such we are very supportive of it. We believe that Emily's hard work and dedication to this guide will result in it being a useful resource to disabled travellers and will enrich and facilitate their journey to Brazil.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association
“In my closing speech at the Paralympic Games in London I talked about the author of this book, Emily. The Games, she said ‘had lifted the cloud of limitation’ for people with disability”
Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF
Image: Beach Access City of Gold Coast, Jagger with mum Rachel Collien (behind) and Divisional Councillor Pauline Young and Mayor Tom Tate
Mayor Tom Tate today rolled out the first beach wheelchair mat in the city on a surf beach - promising a new era of accessibility for all.
To be trialled on Burleigh Beach on Saturday mornings, the beach mats allow wheelchairs to easily maneuver across sand.
The beach mat and two new beach wheelchairs, which are specially designed for beach use, have been donated by the City of Gold Coast as part of a $33,670 trial to run from September 2016 to May 2017.
Mayor Tate said the City was committed to ensuring everyone enjoyed a beach experience.
“The community asked for better access to our beaches and we listened,’’ he said.“If this trial is successful, we will look to provide beach access equipment at other locations.’’
“The community asked for better access to our beaches and we listened,’’ he said.
“If this trial is successful, we will look to provide beach access equipment at other locations.’’
The City will also donate two new beach wheelchairs to not-for-profit group Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Incorporated, for city-wide use at no charge.
“When we host the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ in less than two years’ time, we are also hosting the largest para-sport program ever held at a Commonwealth Games,” said Mayor Tate.
“There has never been a more important time to ensure our city is accessible for all.’’
The Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Lifesaving Club will manage the trial, with equipment available on Saturdays from 9am to midday.
Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Lifesaving Club president Michael Boyce said his club was ready.
“Burleigh is a great location because of the easy connection between the surf club, carpark and amenities. Our patrol members will advise the public if the weather and surf conditions are suitable for the equipment on the day,” he said.
The beach wheelchair matting and beach wheelchairs join the Gold Coast’s growing number of accessible options, including viewing platforms along the Oceanway and permanent beach matting at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands.
For information go to: cityofgoldcoast.com.au/beachaccess
Renowned disabled comic, Francesca Martinez, has teamed up with Network Rail to launch a new campaign to improve disabled passengers’ experiences of travelling by rail after challenging its historic ‘bolt-on’ culture. With the number of railway passengers exceeding 1.6bn a year and two-thirds (67%) of disabled people saying they use the railway, Network Rail is launching its campaign, Spaces and Places for Everyone, to set out how it will make the railway more inclusive for every passenger.
Francesca, who has cerebral palsy but prefers to describe herself as “a bit wobbly”, often uses the train to travel around the country for her work as a stand-up comic. While she admits that she has seen a number of accessibility improvements to the railway in recent years, she says that at times she feels as though her needs are “invisible to the rest of society” and that accessibility has historically been a “bolt-on”.
According to research carried out by Populus and commissioned by Network Rail, it would seem that Francesca is not alone. Out of the two-thirds of disabled people who travel by train (67%), a quarter do not feel that their journey will be an easy one (24%), while a third (33%) said they would use the train more if it were more accessible to them.
Encouragingly though, two-thirds of people with a disability (63%) would feel confident using the rail network independently versus 79% of non-disabled people, while more than half of disabled people (58%) believe that accessibility across the rail network is improving despite there being more to do.
Commenting, Francesca Martinez said:
“As a disabled passenger, I often feel as though my needs are invisible to the rest of society and that sometimes people like me are seen as a burden rather than as valued passengers. Most people consider taking the train just a part of everyday life, but there are millions of people like me who need to carefully plan their journeys so they can get around without difficulty.“This is why I am supporting Network Rail in its campaign to make the railway more suitable for the modern world and accommodating of every single passenger, regardless of their needs. It’s really reassuring that the millions of disabled people in Britain are being considered right from the very start before rail projects leave the drawing board rather than being bolted on as they have been in the past, which will make a huge difference to their rail experiences in the future.”
“As a disabled passenger, I often feel as though my needs are invisible to the rest of society and that sometimes people like me are seen as a burden rather than as valued passengers. Most people consider taking the train just a part of everyday life, but there are millions of people like me who need to carefully plan their journeys so they can get around without difficulty.
“This is why I am supporting Network Rail in its campaign to make the railway more suitable for the modern world and accommodating of every single passenger, regardless of their needs. It’s really reassuring that the millions of disabled people in Britain are being considered right from the very start before rail projects leave the drawing board rather than being bolted on as they have been in the past, which will make a huge difference to their rail experiences in the future.”
Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail said:
“Most of today’s railway was designed during the Victorian era when attitudes towards disability were very different. Since then, access for disabled people has been tagged on at a later stage, rather than being a part of the initial design strategy for our railway. We know it hasn’t been good enough in the past, and we need to make it easier for disabled people to plan journeys and travel by rail.“We are committed to changing this, and doing what is necessary to make sure that inclusivity is deeply embedded in our culture. Only then will our railway be a place where everyone can travel equally, confidently and independently.”
“Most of today’s railway was designed during the Victorian era when attitudes towards disability were very different. Since then, access for disabled people has been tagged on at a later stage, rather than being a part of the initial design strategy for our railway. We know it hasn’t been good enough in the past, and we need to make it easier for disabled people to plan journeys and travel by rail.
“We are committed to changing this, and doing what is necessary to make sure that inclusivity is deeply embedded in our culture. Only then will our railway be a place where everyone can travel equally, confidently and independently.”
Network Rail, which is responsible for managing 20,000 miles of railway and some of Britain’s biggest and busiest stations, is committed to ‘inclusive design’ – which means putting all passengers at the heart of the design process rather than adding on provisions at a later stage . Inclusive design is already being delivered across its stations, including:
As part of the campaign, Network Rail invited Francesca to interview Mark Carne so she could find out first-hand what the company is doing to change the way it caters for disabled people.
Accessible Tourism is about creating experiences that everyone can enjoy together. Those experiences have to be inclusive so that they can be shared equally. Tourism is about the journey not just the destination and that journey starts with the planning and ends with the shared memories that often last a lifetime.
This great video from the Rick Hansen Foundation in Canada showcases that the key to inclusion is changing the mindset towards people with a disability and creating a set of equal experiences.
The Rick Hansen Foundation works to break down these barriers by changing attitudes, creating accessible spaces and inspiring an inclusive society.
We need to change how we think and talk about accessibility and inclusion in order to break down barriers for the one billion people in the world who have a disability.Why?Accessibility isn't just for people who use wheelchairs -- it's also for those with mobility challenges, temporary injuries and parents using strollers. Accessibility is for everyone.Inclusion isn't just about tolerating differences -- it's about making sure our attitudes don't limit the potential of other people. Everyone deserves an equal chance to be included.
TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester.
Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.
We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:
For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.
Listen to my podcast with PUSH Living's Deborah Davis on the future of Accessible Tourism and the significant role it will play in the tourism market over the next 20 years.
Bill is a thought leader on Inclusive travel and shares a new perspective on how this important and economically viable market of travelers with a disability can best be served. Whether you are a person who loves to travel or a travel provider, you will not want to miss this insight. Bill was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. As a child, he was fortunate to travel to many parts of the world and to learn and appreciate cultures other than his own. That passion for learning and understanding has never left him. Bill spent most of his working life in the corporate field in both financial and operation roles. He specialized in corporate and cultural change. He left the corporate world and bought three retail travel agencies in Melbourne to pursue his love of travel. In 2007, after being approached by a Paralympic team to organize travel, he realized there was a need for a specialized agency, and he founded TravAbility.travel.
Image above: Dublin Airport Managing Director, Vincent Harrison accepting the Accessible Airport Award from Yannis Yallouros, European Disability Forum's Executive Committee.
Dublin Airport has won a major European award for the way in which it deals with disabled passengers and those travelling with reduced mobility.
Dublin Airport won the inaugural Accessible Airport Award at ACI EUROPE’s Best Airport Awards in Athens last night. Separately Dublin Airport was also short-listed in the best large airport category, which was won by Heathrow Airport.
“We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award for accessibility ahead of all our European peers,” said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. “This award recognises the significant efforts that the Dublin Airport team makes on a daily basis to ensure that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility have the best possible airport experience. Winning this prize is a major endorsement for what we have achieved in this area to date and will encourage us to continue to improve the service that we offer to our disabled customers and to travellers with reduced mobility.”
The judges for the award found that Dublin Airport “excels in accessibility features and facilities, including adult changing places, two separate relief areas for guide dogs, fully accessible retail and catering areas” and had service level agreements for assistance provision that exceed the European standards. The judges also cited Dublin Airport’s website accessibility, which meets the required accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.
“This is Dublin Airport’s second major customer-related award in just four months, which underscores our focus on ensuring that all our passengers have the best possible experience when they use the airport,” Mr Harrison said. Earlier this year Dublin Airport was rated number one for passenger experience ahead all other European airports of a similar size in the 2015 ACI Airport Service Quality survey.
“As passenger numbers increase, we intend to continue to enhance the passenger experience for all customers. We are currently investing €10 million to upgrade the arrivals area in Terminal 1 and we also have recently installed new automatic tray return systems at passenger screening to help make this process more efficient.”
The Accessible Airport Award was introduced by ACI Europe this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Regulation (EC) 1107/2006 which relates to the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.
ACI EUROPE partnered with the European Disability Forum (EDF) to present the new award. As well as rewarding the best airport in Europe for accessibility the award was also designed to encourage other European airports to continue their work on removing the barriers that people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility still face when travelling by air.
The judging panel for the Accessible Airport Award comprised members of the European Disability Forum’s Executive Committee as well as Fotis Karamitsos, Acting Deputy Director-General for Mobility and Transport; Coordination of Directorates C and D, in the European Commission.
The Accessible Airport Award was presented to Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison at a gala dinner in Athens last night by Yannis Yallouros, who is a member of the European Disability Forum’s Executive Committee.
Dublin Airport is Ireland’s key international gateway, accounting for 82% of all air passengers into and out of the State. Last year Dublin Airport celebrated its 75th birthday by setting a new a new all-time record for traffic, as it welcomed more than 25 million passengers. So far this year, passenger numbers are up 14% to almost 10.3 million. Dublin Airport has direct flights to over 180 destinations in 40 countries on four continents, and will welcome 16 new services this year.
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) makes its air travel services as available to its customers as it possibly can. This policy applies to all its online facilities, too: the core functions of the swiss.com website have now been made fully accessible to blind and visually impaired users or customers with other physical disabilities. SWISS has thus extended the accessibility of its services at the airport and inflight to its online platform, too.
The core functions of the swiss.com website have been comprehensively overhauled to make them accessible to all. As a result, blind and visually impaired users and those with other physical disabilities can now easily book, rebook or check in for their flights online. The blind and visually impaired, for instance, can use screen reader software to have text read aloud to them, and can navigate the site more easily via their keyboard entries.
The fully accessible part of the swiss.com website already meets the AA standard of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. And the entire site should meet this standard by the end of 2016.
The revised swiss.com website further expands SWISS’s range of services for customers with restricted mobility. On the ground, specially trained staff continue to be available to provide these travellers with the additional care they need. SWISS offers escorts for both departing and arriving travellers, along with the free use at the airport of wheelchairs and transport vehicles.
Travellers with restricted mobility are also invited to board and deplane before other passengers; and up to two wheelchairs and an assistance dog will be transported free of charge. SWISS also provides a wheelchair on board on all its long-haul flights and (on request) for its short-haul services, too. And SWISS cabin personnel are sensitized to the special needs of travellers with restricted mobility, to ensure that they are offered optimum care and assistance throughout their time aboard.
For further details of SWISS’s special services for travellers with restricted mobility please visit.
Blind and partially sighted train travellers can now navigate their way around ten railway stations across England thanks to the arrival of new tactile maps which can be read by touch or sight.
The RNIB Maps for All will be installed at eleven stations across the east coat route. Ten stations already have them on-site: Berwick, Peterborough, Retford, Newark Northgate, Grantham, Darlington, Wakefield Westgate, Doncaster and Durham. Newcastle will follow shortly.
Virgin Trains has worked closely with leading sight loss charity RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to create RNIB Maps for all eleven stations that it manages on the east coast route – spanning Berwick to Peterborough.*
The maps provide key information such as the location of platforms, toilets, shops and cafes by using a mix of raised large print, Braille and tactile symbols. They are located close to the station entrances to help travellers with sight loss prepare for their journey more easily.
Almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and it is predicted that this number will nearly double by 2050. According to RNIB’s recent My Voice research, one quarter of blind and partially sighted people said they were not able to travel by train as much as they would like. Tactile maps are a way of addressing this issue sensitively and practically.
Kawal Gucukoglu, RNIB Transcription Executive, is registered blind herself and was on hand this week to test out the Peterborough map. She said:
“I like the fact it’s a map for everyone – there’s not a separate one for people with and without sight loss. It’s very clear to use with good Braille and print lettering. Tactile maps are a great idea and will come in useful for loads of travellers.“
Neil Heslop, Managing Director, RNIB Solutions, added:
“We’re pleased to have worked with Virgin Trains in finding an effective solution to make the stations they manage more accessible for people living with sight loss. We will continue to work with industry to look at other ways in which people living with sight loss can travel with greater confidence and independence.”
Debbie Ambler, Virgin Trains Programme Delivery Manager, said:
“We are committed to working with partners like RNIB to find new ways to make journeys more accessible and enjoyable for all our customers. The tactile maps at stations across our network allow blind and partially sighted customers freedom and independence when travelling. Both at stations and on board our trains, we encourage our people to go the extra mile to offer brilliant service to all our customers. We also have a dedicated team that disabled customers and their friends and family can contact in advance to plan for their journey.”
Customers with disabilities are also encouraged to contact the Virgin Trains Assisted Travel team. They can help with planning journeys, buying tickets, reserving seats and wheelchair space, help at stations, changing trains and on reaching destinations.
Customers with a disability that makes travelling by train difficult may qualify for discounted travel – ask the Virgin Trains Assisted Travel Team for details.
Telephone: 03457 225 225 (select option 3 then option 4)
Text Relay: 18001 03457 225 225
The construction of the Iconic Arthurs Seat Skylift moves a step closer today with the erection of the gondola's support pylons.
The pylons were skillfully flown into place by a heavy lift helicopter overseen by the Australian lift company Doppelmayr.
The new Skylift will consist of fully enclosed 8 seat Goldolas making it an all weather attraction and for the first time allowing people of all abilities to take in the spectacular views over Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula from Arthurs Seat.
It will help revitalise Arthurs Seat State Park by creating an internationally recognised attraction, and contribute to the Mornington Peninsula’s economy through tourism and employment.
The upper and lower station buildings will each feature a loading area, mezzanine level, café/kiosk, information centre, toilets and office space.
The $16 million project will not only be a major tourism asset for the state of Victoria but it will be a world class Accessible Facility to cater for the rapidly growing Accessible Tourism market.
The Skylift chief, Hans Brugman said today:
Making it completely accessible has increased the cost of this project significantly but it was important to do it.
TravAbility's Founder, Bill Forrester said:
As a major iconic tourist attraction for both the Mornington Peninsula and the City of Melbourne, it is important that such a development be fully inclusive to everyone.The Arthur Seat Skylift project has taken the time and effort to understand the needs of the disabled traveller. By changing their approach away from a compliance to customer focus, the developers have gone far and above their obligations under the building codes. They have fully embraced the spirit of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially Article 30, and in doing so have created a truly world class accessible concept.
As a major iconic tourist attraction for both the Mornington Peninsula and the City of Melbourne, it is important that such a development be fully inclusive to everyone.
The Arthur Seat Skylift project has taken the time and effort to understand the needs of the disabled traveller. By changing their approach away from a compliance to customer focus, the developers have gone far and above their obligations under the building codes. They have fully embraced the spirit of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially Article 30, and in doing so have created a truly world class accessible concept.
The Arthur Seat Skylift has the potential to create a significant competitive advantage for the Mornington Peninsula and the City of Melbourne in attracting the Accessible Tourism market, as well as enhancing the city’s reputation as being the “Most Livable City” for all.
Gondola - Artists Impression
Upper Station - Artists Impression
The next major milestone will be the arrival of the Gondolas from Switzerland.
The Skylift is expected to be operational before the end of the year.
Minister for Disability Services and Ageing John Ajaka today welcomed people with disability and representatives from government, business, academia and the non-government organisations to a forum focused on making tourism more accessible in NSW.
In doing so NSW is recognising the key importance Accessible Tourism will have on the industry in the coming years. It is already a major market segment but with an ageing and retiring population it will become a critical element of any tourism strategy and a major source of competitive advantage.
We were delighted to be one of more than 55 representatives who attended the Ministerial Forum on Accessible Tourism at NSW Parliament House, including representatives from Lonely Planet, Zomato, the NSW Business Chamber and New Earth Tourism.“Everyone, regardless of their age or disability, should be able to enjoy everything NSW has to offer,” Mr Ajaka said.
“However, if we are going to make our community truly inclusive, we need to identify and remove existing barriers to make our world-class holiday destinations and tourist attractions more accessible.”
“Accessible tourism is a large and growing opportunity for the tourism and hospitality sector. By finding new ways to make travel and tourism more accessible we will deliver a boost to the sector and generate more jobs,” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said.
In 2010, accessible tourism was worth $8 billion and represented 11% of the tourism market in NSW.
The Ministerial Forum is aimed at developing three to five practical ideas to improve access to tourism services, improve information about local facilities like accessible toilets and accommodation, and increase participation of older people, people with disability and their carers in tourist and recreation activities.
To further support accessible tourism, the NSW Government has commissioned the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Public Policy and Governance to identify innovative and practical ideas that will enhance accessible tourism in NSW.
The ideas and insights generated from the Ministerial Forum will help inform the development of a future NSW Accessible Tourism Plan for NSW.
Enhancing accessible tourism in NSW aligns with the objects of the Disability Inclusion Act 2014, the Disability Inclusion Plan and the NSW Ageing Strategy.
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