WTTC launches guidelines for accessibility and inclusion in global travel

Published on : Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched new high-level guidelines for inclusion and accessibility in the travel and tour sector focussing on the experience of travellers with disabilities in order to help make the travel & tourism sector a more inclusive space. The innovative and important guidelines were compiled on the basis of insights and frameworks developed by private sector leaders in travel & tourism, travel and disability experts, and research from intergovernmental organisations. 

The guidelines have been divided into four pillars and follow a similar structure to the High-Level Inclusion and Diversity Guidelines and Mental Health Guideline released by WTTC over the past six months. The four key pillars include developing an inclusive & accessible system, creating safe spaces, designing an engaging & relevant system and exemplifying inclusion & accessibility. Highlights from these important guidelines include providing training to staff on disability awareness and how to support travellers with disabilities, as well as collaborating with other businesses in areas where there are gaps in accessibility knowledge, experience, and services. 

The report has also emphasised the importance of fostering a respectful environment at all locations and for all activities, specifically reminding staff that their attitude towards people with disabilities plays an integral role in making the customer feel welcome and included. Importance has also been given to developing accessibility features that are clear, overt, and which such travellers do not require special assistance from staff to use. Furthermore, the guidelines have made clear that businesses should regularly and proactively engage travellers with disabilities in the creation of accessible products and services so that these meet their needs appropriately.

WTTC has said that businesses should also include accessibility features from the booking process, enabling travellers with disabilities to engage with the business before booking their travel service or product. Staff should also be empowered to address customer concerns as they occur or to engage other staff members if and where necessary and inclusive marketing should be developed to dignify representations of all people and authentically represent them.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC said in a statement that WTTC is proud to release the important high-level guidelines, which will help travel & tourism businesses of all kinds, foster more accessible and inclusive environments. She mentioned that the travel and tourism is one of the most diverse in the world and said that as the report shows and according to the World Health Organization, almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience disability at some point in their life, and about 15% of the global population live with some form of disability and therefore it is imperative that all are inclusive. She stated that throughout its very nature, the sector promotes cultural exchange and understanding and hence it makes perfect sense that these values are reflected within the sector as well. She shared that WTTC is looking forward to see the guidelines making real change within the workforce.


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