Inclusion and demographic change are two key social issues and the travel sector has to take the needs of disabled and elderly people into account. TUI hopes to play a pioneering role in these two areas by developing new products that make travel accessible to as many people as possible.
Breaking down barriers
People with reduced mobility often face special challenges when travelling. The various modes of transport that they use for their outward and return journeys, as well as their accommodation and excursion programmes, have to be barrier-free. In many cases it’s the details that count and a few centimetres can make the difference between a hotel room being accessible or not. If the doors are too narrow a wheelchair user cannot pass through them. If the washbasin is too low a wheelchair user will need assistance. Both the government and the travel industry have made greater commitments to accessibility in recent years, and the government intends to improve the information situation for German citizens. One example of this is the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs’ idea to introduce a standard nationwide labelling and certification system “Reisen für Alle” (“Travel for All”).
Accessibility has been on the agenda for years
The TUI Group has been campaigning for barrier-free tourism for years:
- Service: TUI Germany has a twelve-strong team exclusively dedicated to the care of disabled guests – something that no other package tour operators or major travel company has. The team arranges arrivals and departures, transfers and excursions at the destination. TUI has been offering this service since 1981.
- Widest choice: TUI has over 1,100 handicapped-accessible and limited accessibility hotels and holiday resorts at 130 destinations in its programme. The TUI Cruises cruise ships also have accessible cabins.
- Mobility in the air: Air travel is associated with special challenges for people with reduced mobility. The aisles are too narrow for normal wheelchairs and the on-board toilets are designed to take up the least space possible. TUIfly has a special on-board wheelchair that disabled guests can book in advance of their flight, and their own wheelchair is transported free of charge to the holiday destination.
TUI stays focused on accessibility
TUI is collaborating with external partners and experts to expand its range of accessible products because reduced mobility should not be an obstacle to travelling and exploring the world. The products target future guests, their travel companions and relatives, whom TUI hopes to inspire with its attractive accessible travel portfolio.
Comprehensive participation rights
People with disabilities have the right to self-determination and comprehensive participation in social life. According to Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this also includes the right to unrestricted access to tourism services. Germany was one of the first signatories to the convention in 2007 and it became national law in this country in March 2009.