Breaking Down Barriers in Tourism with Lazarillo: Discover How Tourism Can Adapt to
Make More Destinations Accessible to Everyone
Factors Involved in Accessible Tourism:
After a prolonged period of global restrictions, there is an urgent and significant need to address the lack of accessibility in numerous tourist destinations. While accessibility may have been overlooked over the past three years, it is now resurfacing as a priority due to fresh ideas and concepts that demand immediate implementation.
Truly accessible tourism requires the consideration of multiple factors involved in travel, from logistics of travel to activity planning. For instance, planning a trip involves analyzing each resource available to determine suitable modes of transportation, accommodation options, indoor and outdoor activities, and, if necessary, special health assistance. Unfortunately, if any of these factors fail to meet the requirements of individuals with disabilities, the entire chain is disrupted, leading to uncertainty about whether it is safe to take the trip in the first place.
Enhancing Transportation Accessibility:
When planning a trip, the first crucial step is selecting a mode of transportation. One of the first challenges that arises during this process is ticket reservation, as airline, bus, and train websites are often inaccessible to individuals who rely on screen readers. Furthermore, the lack of clear information regarding schedules, routes, and luggage management often limit one’s ability to find a convenient and budget-friendly option.
The second aspect that one must consider is the physical accessibility of their mode of transportation. To ensure physical accessibility, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, and cruise ships should ideally be equipped with access ramps, tactile flooring, and audible signals to facilitate seamless boarding experiences. Unfortunately, many transit offerings lack these vital features.
Accessible Lodging and Accommodations:
Accessible accommodation plays a pivotal role in the accessible tourism chain, as lodging serves as a safe haven for individuals to store their belongings, rest, and plan their activities. In order to provide an accessible experience for all visitors, physical accessibility features and the willingness of staff members to assist are paramount. Access ramps, adequately wide doorways for wheelchair accessibility, clear signage with high contrast, tactile paving, and audible signals are essential resources that greatly benefit travelers with disabilities. Attention to detail within rooms is also crucial. Bed heights should be reasonable, and bathroom access should be obstacle-free to ensure a pleasant stay.
Overcoming Accessibility Challenges:
The decision to explore new destinations, especially for someone with disabilities, involves a lot of unknowns. Whether in outdoor or indoor spaces, it is crucial for travelers to be guaranteed a wide range of accessible options that allow them to feel as safe as possible, ultimately giving them more of a reason to return in the future.
An excellent example of an accessible destination is the Educational Trail Las Trancas, nestled in the Ñuble region of central-southern Chile. Its owner, Tomas Cams, recognized the importance of improving accessibility so that as many visitors as possible can experience it’s natural beauty.
Thanks to a collaboration with Lazarillo, more than 206 meters of the trail have been geolocated, providing users with invaluable information about the local flora, fauna, points of interest, and geographical landmarks. Moreover, the Lazarillo app allows easy access to parking lots, entrances, recycling points, and restrooms, which can be conveniently selected via the trail’s profile, guiding users to their desired destinations using their mobile devices.
Tomas enthusiastically expressed his satisfaction with the project, stating that Lazarillo has been an invaluable partner in understanding and supporting his vision for an accessible trail. This achievement has directly translated into increased footfall and growing interest from diverse groups of people eager to experience this natural wonder – now more accessible than ever.
Accessible Solutions by Lazarillo:
Having discussed these challenges and examples, let’s explore how Lazarillo is contributing to improving accessibility in the tourism industry. From transportation companies like bus and train stations and airports to lodging including hotels and resorts, Lazarillo offers interactive maps that companies can update and modify as needed.
In Lazarillo’s indoor navigation system, autonomous Bluetooth devices facilitate the accurate geolocation of service modules, elevators, and boarding gates. Users receive real-time audio guidance through their smartphones, ensuring a seamless and stress-free travel experience.
Lazarillo also aids tourism businesses in creating inclusive experiences by providing audible content, accessibility information, and customizable profiles tailored to each user’s needs.
Accessibility is an essential aspect of travel that must be prioritized to ensure that all individuals, including those with disabilities, can enjoy their experience. By addressing accessibility barriers in transportation, lodging, and tourist attractions, we can create inclusive environments that promote equal opportunities for everyone.
Lazarillo’s innovative solutions serve as a catalyst for change in the tourism industry, enabling destinations worldwide to adapt and offer accessible experiences to a diverse range of visitors. Together, we can embrace the principles of universal accessibility and work together to build a more inclusive and welcoming future for all travelers.