Organisers of travel industry trade shows must make more effort to enable visitors with disabilities to attend, according to multiple sclerosis sufferer, Alan Broadbent.
Broadbent, who runs Disabled Accessible Travel, which provides services to people with mobility problems in 51 countries, said he was unaware of any travel exhibition offering support.
He said: “Every time I’ve been to shows like EIBTM and WTM there are no people there in wheelchairs. I don’t think this is because there are no people with disabilities in this industry; in the UK alone there are 10 million registered disabled adults.
“It’s a chicken and egg situation. If you don’t promote facilities for disabled people they will assume it will be too difficult for them to attend.”
Broadbent has written to Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of EIBTM in Barcelona and World Travel Market (WTM) in London, among others, to encourage it to provide disability travel facilities at all of its shows.
“I would like to see them promoting accessible transport from the airport and to the venue, as well as providing wheelchairs and mobility scooters. They should also advise exhibitors about how to make their stands accessible.”
Broadbent attended EIBTM, which took place this month, to encourage organisers of other congresses to think about disability access.
He said: “The feedback I had was ‘we’ve never even thought about this’ but people were very receptive and I had a number of PCOs and association congress organisers interested in me coming to speak to them about it.”
Alan Broadbent can be contacted by email via email@example.com
* To find how to enter the Access = Excellence Awards go to http://www.meetpie.com/modules/eventmodule/eventdetails.aspx?eventid=857&templateid=