The Tourism and the Disability Discrimination Act
Any service provider who provides a service to the public in the UK, whether they charge for it or not, has duties under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Service providers' responsibilities
Service providers include holiday accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants and transport providers. They cannot refuse to serve you as a disabled person or provide a lower standard of service because of your disability unless it can be justified.
Service providers may need to make 'reasonable adjustments' to any barriers that may prevent a disabled person using or accessing their service.
What is a reasonable adjustment?
Under the DDA, service providers only need to make changes that are 'reasonable'. These might include simple changes to layout, improved signage and information and staff training which can improve accessibility to disabled customers.
It's about what is practical to the service provider's individual situation and what resources they may have. They will not be required to make changes that are impractical or beyond their means.
Examples of reasonable changes that can be made include:
* Using large print for registration and guest information
* Ensuring that at least one copy of the fixed menu is in Braille
* Providing phones with large buttons
* Providing portable vibrating alarms for guests who will not be able to hear an audible fire alarm
* Where a low reception desk is not available, providing an alternative low desk for wheelchair users
* Sending staff on a disability-awareness training course to increase awareness of common disability related issues
Good for business
Making their services more accessible will not only benefit disabled people but could encourage recommendations and return visits. For example:
* The friends, families and any carers accompanying a disabled person
* Older customers who may not consider themselves disabled but would appreciate easier access and better facilities
If you believe you have been discriminated against, you might wish to seek advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Equality and Human Rights Commission website
Tourism for All website
Tourism for All UK is a charity which offers expertise and support to the tourism and hospitality sector to provide accessible services for all, as well as giving advice to disabled people in relation to accessible accommodation and other tourism services.
Tourism for All website