Geelong SCI Regional Network meeting – October 2017
The October Geelong SCI Regional Network meeting focused on accessible holidays and travel, and featured Bill Forrester from Travability - a licensed travel agency dedicated to inclusive tourism through education, advocacy and information about the world’s most popular travel destinations. Bill has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything related to accessible travel so the group was enthusiastic to hear from him!
Bill explained how accessible travel is the largest growing market segment in the travel industry worldwide, and discussed the best areas in the world for accessible travel.
Barcelona was listed as the best city in Europe, and Canada, the Netherlands and parts of the UK all ranked high on Bill’s accessibility list.
Bill recommended when travelling by plane, to consider the airline, airport, cabin class and type of plane before booking. It’s important to think about transit times and arrangements, as sometimes your wheelchair might not be available for use during transit. When booking accommodation, one should call hotels and ask for specific information such as bed height and door width, and ask to view photographs of bathrooms and showers.
Cruises are also really popular due their accessibly. Bill recommended choosing cruise lines with new fleet, rather than old, refitted ships, as accessibility is usually much better on newer vessels. He also explained that at some ports, cruise ships use tenders to transfer people from ship to shore, rather than roll-on-roll-off docks, so wheelchair users may not be able to exit at some stops. This is particularly true of many Pacific cruise stops, and he recommended the Alaskan, Mediterranean and Asian cruise routes.