Disabled travellers will benefit from Airbnb deal
A UK disabled people’s charity has welcomed Airbnb’s recent acquisition of London-based start-up Accomable, predicting it will signal a seachange in attitude for the industry.
Revitalise believes the travel industry is finally waking up to the opportunity of providing better facilities of disabled travellers, as indicated by Airbnb’s purchase of the platform that helps find disabled-accessible hotels, vacation rentals and apartments.
By 2020, as much as 25 per cent of tourism spending in Europe is expected to come from people with accessibility needs, according to the European Commission.
With the market valued at £12 billion a year in the UK alone, Revitalise believes that this move will result in greater choice and more importantly give disabled consumers more assurance that what is described will be suitable.
Revitalise sees the acquisition as evidence that the travel industry as a whole is taking the needs of disabled holidaymakers more seriously, an issue on which the charity has consistently campaigned.
Revitalise provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers, with 24-hour nurse-led care on call, at three fully-accessible properties in the UK. The charity has over 50 years’ experience of catering for the needs of disabled holidaymakers.
The charity’s CEO Chris Simmonds said: “For too long the mainstream holiday sector has paid lip service to the needs of disabled travellers, so it’s great to see a giant like Airbnb taking this issue seriously.
“We recently studied the accessibility of the UK’s leading visitor attractions and found that 65 per cent of disabled people would rather stay at home than risk visiting a venue if they were not able to find sufficient accessibility information beforehand. Imagine how much more reluctant they are to book holiday accommodation when these same concerns apply?
“We hope Airbnb’s decisive move will lead to others stepping up and improving their provision for disabled people.”
• Revitalise is a UK charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers, combining 24-hour nurse-led care with a real holiday experience at its three accessible UK holiday centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport. Each centre offers a wide range of accessible activities and excursions in a holiday environment.