Hello Everyone and Welcome to Easy Access Travel’s 1st Blog Entry. It is my hope that we will bring you information that will be informative and interesting and will add to your knowledge in your pursuit to travel as or with a disabled traveler.
I recently returned from the 14th SATH Congress (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality) which took place onboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of The Seas. I have attended all but one Congress and always come home invigorated and excited to put into play new ideas that I have acquired during the numerous seminars and panels. SATH is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the needs of all travelers with disabilities and the mature, remove physical and attitudinal barriers to free access and expand travel opportunities in the United States and abroad. Membership is open to everyone. Please check out their website at www.sath.org for more information.
Some of the highlights of the congress were hearing from some new organizations focusing on getting the mainstream tourism industry to embrace the needs of the disabled community. So many tourist destinations are already accessible and need to be marketed to the disabled traveler so they are aware of “what’s out there”! We heard about the Air Carrier Access Act which governs the rights of the disabled flyer and recent changes that have been made. How about the growing sector of Medical Tourism….so many people are now seeking medical treatment in other countries for reasons based on lower costs to services not offered in the United States. In fact, I escorted a client a couple of years ago to China for Stem Cell Treatment! We saw an amazing video of a young man with osteogenesis imperfect who has traveled the world in a manual wheelchair to places that are definitely NOT on the accessible destinations list! A true testimony to what can be accomplished when somebody sets their mind to it. We discussed that the aging of America (and the world!) is going hand in hand with the disabling of America and how this process is forcing universal design to be accessible for all.
I have seen so many changes over the 19 years that I have been in the accessible travel business and I truly believe that better access will continue to expand in leaps and bounds as we go forward. As that happens, I will be able to do a better job in helping my clients realize their vacation dreams as the world becomes more accessible.