Did you know; the number 1 travel-related activity of persons with disabilities in Canada is camping? Surprising right? I thought so; and I have disabilities and love camping!
Truth is we know more than ever about accessible travel needs and trends. Why? Because as the stigma of having a disability fades so does the fear of self-identifying. As a result; realization of the importance of not ignoring this sector is also coming to light.
For example; Baby Boomers are responsible for most luxury travel in North America and the majority of us are over 65 now. So, the accommodation needs are growing in all sectors – but especially in travel.
The overall “disability paradigm” has changed – from one where persons with disabilities were considered broken and requiring fixing – this is what we call the Medical Paradigm – to the Social Paradigm where people with disability are included and allowed to make their own decisions. Not for us without us – as the saying goes.
That paradigm shift is part of what has pushed Canada to pass it’s first National Legislation dedicated to equalizing the playing field for persons with disabilities. The fact is, we all know someone with a disability and we want them to experience an equalized playing field. So that seems simple.
Yet when I meet travellers who require some form of accommodation – the majority are disappointed by the belief that the industry would rather avoid us then accommodate us – or that folks see accommodation as a “special” act rather then a matter of equalizing the playing field.
We can all agree there is nothing special about me enjoying your travel offerings just like anyone else. So, let’s drop the special and focus on the equal – now that would be a shift worth embracing!