Many people with disabilities have difficulty finding accessible accommodation when on holiday. Unfortunately some are told venues are accessible but on arrival find they are not.
The Access For All Alliance is carrying out this pilot project where tourism operators, especially those offering accommodation, are asked to join a National Accessible Scheme. To belong members have to meet one or all of the criteria which are divided into five categories:
M1 Suitable for a person with sufficient mobility to climb two or three steps, but would benefit from fixtures and fittings to aid balance.
M2 Suitable for a person who may need to use a wheelchair on occasions and/or a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair in a seated position at all times. The latter person may also require personal/mechanical assistance (eg carer, hoist etc). This criterion – providing for guests with a mobility impairment – may be attained with reference to access in accordance with the minimum requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
H1 Suitable for guests with a hearing impairment, from mild hearing loss to profoundly deaf. This criterion may be attained by meeting the requirements of the National Accessible Standards and the Hotel and Motel Accommodation Association’s voluntary code of practice for the provision of facilities for the deaf and hearing impaired.
V1 Suitable for guests with a vision impairment. This criterion may be attained by providing for guests with a partial vision impairment or a total loss of useable vision with reference to AS1428.4.
AE Access Exceptional This criterion may be attained when a facility offers all four criteria. Any facility that can meet any one of these criteria will be given a plaque and a logo (not yet decided) similar to road service organisations, but showing the accessibility level attained, ie M1 or M2 etc.
All tourism facilities can start by meeting the first level, and gradually, by way of access changes to their facility, be awarded a higher level. They will then be able to put this on their logo showing the level of accessibility available on all their literature and onto the website which will only be available to those operators who have passed the National Accessible Scheme criteria.
The Access For All Alliance is calling for people to contact them if they know of any accommodation or venue which meets any or all of the above criteria. The Association will then contact that organisation seeking their interest in the scheme.
All venues will be audited by a professional access consultant before being accepted into the scheme thus ensuring that what people with disabilities expect to get is in fact what they will get.
Please contact Sheila King, Access For All Alliance email@example.com
Good luck with your pilot Sheila!