A Changing Attitude

It’s been a very busy week for me, as I’ve done scads of print and radio interviews for my newest title, 101 Accessible Vacations; Travel Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. There were some interesting (and unique) questions posed by folks, but one issue was addressed over and over again: “What’s the state of access today as opposed to when I started covering accessible travel 14 years ago?”

Of course it has improved; after all 14 years ago it was in its infancy. And to be honest, when I told people I was covering accessible travel back then, they looked at me like I was a few fries short of a happy meal. Today it’s much different, as with the aging of the Baby Boomers the hospitality industry is actively courting their tourism dollars. And I don’t mean just conforming to the letter of the law, but actually going beyond that.

Take the Mornongo Casino for example. I spent a few days down there last week for a media conference and I noticed that all of their guest rooms (not just the accessible ones) were designed so that some slow walkers could use them. The low step showers were huge and they had a nice built-in bench with a hand-held shower head. Now granted this setup won’t work for everyone, but considering their clientele (largely over 50) it seems they are responding to the needs of that market.

And they’re not the only ones. Several properties in Las Vegas have ceiling track lifts in their “high needs accessible rooms”, and many of the properties have more than the required number of accessible rooms.

And then there are the cruise lines. Many have been providing accessible staterooms since long before I even came on the scene. Again, something that wasn’t required.

Finally let’s not forget the inns and B&Bs. Many are not required to be accessible, but have added access features to some of their rooms and public spaces. Why? Well these properties are big into destination weddings, and if one member of the party can’t get in the door, then they loose the whole party. I learned that while researching the first edition of There is Room at the Inn; Inns and B&Bs for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, and as I am starting to research the second edition, I’ve found it’s a trend that’s catching on. And that’s a very good thing.

Like I said, things are definitely improving! OK, they’re not perfect, but at least we are moving in the right direction.