Tag Archives: accessible tourism

When Seable took on Thailand – Accessible Holidays for Blind and Visually Impaired

Seable has been on an incredibly exciting mission for the last 3 weeks to our new destination; Thailand.

 

The team from Seable that went on this journey was myself Emma, Holiday Tailoress and CEO Damiano La Rocca.  We set out on this trip with one mission…..TO COME BACK WITH AN EXCITING ACCESSIBLE HOLIDAY THAT WE CAN OFFER TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMAPIRED.  I, myself could not wait to get started and show all that we had to offer upon our return.

 

ASo here is our story of our trip to Thailand:

 

DAY 1

 

Arriving at Heathrow airport, we sat and went through the incredible itinerary that Nutty adventures had sent us.  They are the fantastic company that are going to show Seable what Thailand had to offer as an accessible destination.

 

ABOUT NUTTY’S ADVENTURE

 

nutty’s adventures

 

Nutty’s Adventures brings together a mixture of high-quality cycling tours, mountain treks and river-based adventures throughout Southeast Asia.

 

Their philosophy is to minimize the environmental and social impact of tourism activities, whilst providing opportunities for visitors to responsibly contribute to the well-being of the local communities.

 

Nutty’s Adventures is a new style of tour operator and a specialist in CBT, Community-Based Tourism. Nutty‘s Adventures offers all types of responsible travel, green eco-adventure activities and volunteer work holidays.

 

Specialize in Community-Based Travel (CBT) that allows tourists to have a closer connection to local people while directly experiencing their lifestyles and cultural traditions.

 

They are a tour operator situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, and their well-trained English-speaking guides will provide you with remarkable experiences that you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life. Nutty’s Adventures offers a wide variety of 3-day excursions and we also love the challenge of organizing unique tailor-made tours for the individual needs of families, charities, businesses and tour groups.

 

So, as you can see in the last sentence, ‘they love the challenge of organising unique tailor-made tours’ and here at Seable we love everything unique tailor-made for our clients.  We set off on our 13-hour flight with anticipation of what was to come over the next three weeks.  We flew with Malaysia air and we both thought the flight was fantastic.  Comfy seats, great food and a brilliant entertainment system including so many audio books/films, the 13 hours flew by-literally.

 

Arriving in Bangkok, it was 9pm there time and we were excited to drop our bags off and see what the city centre had to offer; and it did not disappoint.  The atmosphere was electric with many people fully enjoying what the street food had to offer.  As did we, and we probably got carried away with wanting to try something from every stall. After tasting each delicacy, finally, our bodies were feeling the effects of travelling and we set off to our hotel to get some rest.  We were staying in the Hotel De’Moc and it was lovely, big accessible rooms with a great balcony. Excited with the knowledge that the next day we started our adventure with Nutty and the team we said goodnight.

 

DAY 2

 

Waking up full of excitement we planned our day ready to meet a member of the team at 6pm.  Breakfast in the hotel was great.

 

We wanted to check out Bangkok city in the day time, to see if it is something we can include into our trip for our clients.  It did not disappoint-under the sunshine the little streets were wonderful, the smells of the food cooking in all the little street food stalls mixed with the sound of the street vendors, was something you must experience.  There were also many stalls selling fantastic clothing for super prices and as a girl I can say that I took advantage of this situation and bought some lovely things, including some amazing trousers for only 100 baht-about £2.50.

 

We set off back to the hotel and waited eagerly to meet the team. Nun was the lady who would be spending the next 2 days with us. She went through what we would be doing for the next couple of days and told us what was a must-see in our last evening in Bangkok.  We said bye and set off to Chinatown and personally it was my favourite evening in Bangkok. The atmosphere was electric with lots of people walking around the many streets of Chinatown.  As we walked along, we tried food from as many stalls as we could and it was all so yummy.  After we had eaten way too much food, we got a tuk tuk back to the hotel.  Tuk tuk’s are fantastic for getting around the city quickly, inexpensive and a great experience.

 

 

 

DAY 3

 

Meeting Nun at 8am we had breakfast and then made our way to Bangkok train station.  After a short wait, we boarded to train to Ayutthaya.  The train was a typical Thai train, with big old seats, fans in the ceiling and had many people walking up and down the aisles selling food.  We bought some mango and watched Bangkok pass up by as we travelled for 1 half hours to central Thailand.

 

 

Arriving in Ayutthaya we got in a traditional Tuk Tuk and went to visit Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. The whole place felt incredibly peaceful, with classical music being played through speakers throughout the grounds, birds singing and the sound of the water.

 

After the Palace, we took the tuk tuk to Baan Koh Kerd and had a village tour, trying out local delicacies and meeting the community.  It was amazing to get to experience their way of life.

 

Seable Thailand Blind Visually Impaired Holiday

 

That evening we stayed in a Homestay that was located on the river.  It was a very traditional house on stilts, that had basic amenities but was perfect for what we needed.  The owner of the home made us a wonderful traditional dinner and we ate it on the terrace overlooking the river.

 

To be continued…..

 

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

Discover Accessible Munich

Make Way For Munich: The Most Accessible City in Europe?

Now is the perfect time of year to take a European city break: the lull between Christmas and spring tends to be one of the quietest times for tourists to travel overseas, and the chilly weather is perfect for wrapping up warm, exploring those famous sites, and drinking hot chocolate on bustling promenades. Thinking of taking a last-minute city break this winter but unsure of where you want to go? You may be lured by the romance of Paris, but its old and dated metro system is an accessibility nightmare (the same can sadly be said for London’s underground) and the cobbled streets of Rome are a nightmare if you are travelling in a heavy electric wheelchair. That doesn’t mean that these cities aren’t accessible with a little planning, but they might not be the ideal first choice for a last minute break. For an easy and hassle free accessible break, why not discover accessible Munich? Its old world charm is coupled with the kind of German efficiency that makes accessible travel here a breeze:

 

Accessible Public Transport

Discover Accessible Munich

Discover Munich’s accessible bus

 

Unlike most other European cities, most than 90% of the underground system in Munich is completely accessible, with access to the stations being entirely barrier free. Whilst the system isn’t extensive (comprising of two lines: the U Bahn (urban line) or S Bahn (suburban line) it goes to all of the major sites you would wish to visit and is a perfectly adequate and affordable way of getting around for a long weekend. If you wish to travel somewhere that is not accessible via the underground trains then the Munich public transport system also features buses and trams. All of the buses in the city are accessible via ramps to the rear doors. The tram system is currently undergoing a modernisation process, so not all of the trams are accessible, but approximately 50% of them are (so far) so if you need to get somewhere on a tram route then it is possible, if slightly inconvenient, to just wait until an accessible tram arrives. Getting around in Munich is perfectly possible then, but where should you be getting around to?

 

Interesting and Enjoyable Attractions

Augustiner – Keller. Discover Accessible Munich

 

Munich is an ancient city at the heart of Germany, and one with a rich history, meaning that there are plenty of tourist attractions worth visiting. The famous BMW museum and factory makes for a fascinating visit, and is proud to be fully accessible, as is the Olympic Park: host of the 1972 Olympic games which were sadly largely overshadowed by what is now known as the Munich Massacre.  If you are interested in exploring the darker period of German history, under Nazi rule, then you can reach the Dachau concentration camp (the first camp the Nazi’s built) via accessible transportation, and the historic site is also largely accessible when you arrive. Less interested in history and more interested in fun? Munich is infamous for being home to over 400 different beerhalls, and the vast majority of these are proud to be fully accessible. For ease and convenience, why not try the Augustinekeller, which is situated right next door to the central station, and is fully accessible.

 

Perfectly Practical Considerations

Discover Accessible Munich

E111 Card

 

Of course, disabled travellers also need to consider the practical aspects of their breaks, including the availability of decent healthcare, should something go wrong, and the accessibility of the airport. The healthcare in Germany is highly regarded as being amongst the best in the world, and whilst it is always recommended that you travel with your own health insurance (particularly when you have pre-existing conditions) our membership of the European Union (for as long as that lasts) means that with a valid E111 card, your treatment here is free.  And as for the airport? Well it’s time to think of that clichéd German efficiency again, because Munich airport is fully accessible and boasts a wide array of excellent transport links into the city, making it easy for travellers with accessibility concerns  to take a last minute trip without having to spend hours worrying about how they will get from A to B. So, Discover Accessible Munich!
“This is an article sent in by Sally Dacre”

Trip to Iceland for Visually Impaired

Holidays for partially sighted and blind travellers.

We have just returned from one of the best trip of the year and possibly in the history of Seable.

Let’s hear it from the participants:

Stacey: I had such an amazing time in Iceland. Did amazing things, saw amazing sights and met amazing people! Thanks for making a great time lovelies ❤️.

Warren: Last week I had an absolutely fantastic time in Iceland, a really beautiful, unique and strange country, on a Victa Milton Keynes trip with a group of people who gelled fantastically well, it was a pleasure spending the week with them. I have had so many unforgettable experience is, being absolutely drenched and freezing cold on Europe’s largest glacier, on a day when most other ttreks were cancelled, visiting some spectacular scenery and landscapes such as going behind a waterfall, visiting what must be the worlds largest warm, outdoor bath, the blue lagoon, smelling lots of smelly sulphur pits, seeing some active geysers, going to The worlds largest penis museum that did not disappoint me and much more. I was lucky enough to try some unique food, the fermented shark tasted like blue cheese but 100 times more intense, puffin, reindeer burger and much more. It is definitely a country I want to go back to and I went with a group of people I want to keep in touch with

Lucy: My Icelandic adventure with the most amazing people! Can’t thank Victa Milton Keynes and Seable Disabled Holidays enough for this amazing trip! Will never forget some of the beautiful things i’ve seen!

Rachel: Iceland was amazing with the best people <3

Alex: I’m jotting this down in the car on the way back at the airport. It’s been an amazing week in Iceland and seems a shame be over. We’ve seen some of the most amazing sights, and experienced unbelievable adventures. But the thing that’s made this trip is the group we were with. I was asked the other day is it hard to volunteer and when your out with people like this never!
Thank you for having me and letting me join in the fun!

Some shots of the trip:
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tactile map of iceland

tactile map of iceland

Blindfolded Tourism: 5 Attractions That Utilise The Other Senses

At Seable we’re all about proving that disabled and visually impaired people can experience the world in the same way able bodied people can. Scuba diving, off-road driving and climbing the largest active volcano in Europe – there’s no reason why any disabled or visually impaired person can’t do them all if they really want to! There is another type of tourism however that helps people experience something they thought they never would but in a different way. It’s called ‘blindfolded tourism’ and has been growing in popularity. It attempts to help able bodied people understand and experience the world in the way disabled and visually impaired people do.

Here are five blindfolded tourism attractions in Europe that utilise other senses and open people up to new experiences.

 

1. Blind Dining

Dark Dining isn’t a new concept, with the first dark restaurant being opened in Switzerland 1999. Blindekuh (which translates as ‘blind man’s bluff’) was started by a blind clergyman called Jorge Spielmann, who got the idea after guests who dined at his home blindfolded reported enjoying their food more because of it. This is the basic concept of dark dining; the removal of vision enhances the other senses and increases gastronomic pleasure.

Now there are dark dining restaurants all around the world, including one right here in London called Dans le Noir. Dans le Noir serves exquisitely prepared mystery menus inspired by french cuisine, and served in a completely darkened room by blind or visually impaired waiters and waitresses. They promise to take you on a ‘sensory journey’ that helps to re-evaluate our perception of taste and smell, and encourage ‘social conviviality’, where darkness kills shyness and brings an open-minded atmosphere.

 

2. An Invisible Exhibition

The Invisible Exhibition is a company that takes the concept of blind dining, that the removal of vision will enhance other sense, and apply it to more than just a culinary experience. They do still offer ‘invisible’ dining, but you can also try wine tasting and massage, as well as group activities that will test your ability to navigate, communicate and complete tasks as a team.

The various activities are led by visually impaired and blind people and include things like trying to cross a road or choose the right spices when cooking a meal. This sharing of experiences helps fully sighted people appreciate the difficulties of being a visually impaired person, but also recognise the techniques and skills people learn to adapt. The company also partners with local disabled charities and organisations. There are currently Invisible Exhibitions in Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, but they promise a UK edition is ‘coming soon’!

 

3. Castle Tours

If you’re ever in the wonderful city of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, a rather unique experience can be had in Křivoklát Castle. The castle itself was built in the thirteenth century as a large, monumental royal structure, but throughout its history it has been burned down and used as a prison. Now it serves as a museum, tourist destination and place for theatrical exhibitions, featuring collections of hunting weapons, Gothic paintings and historical books.

A woman with a blindfold touches an old stone door with a guide. Krivoklat Castle offers a unique blindfolded tourism experience

The castle also serves as a very innovative example of blindfolded tourism. You can choose to go on a unique double tour, once blindfolded and then once again sighted. The blindfolded tour promises to immerse you further than the visual stimuli through cold stone walls “which remember ages”, the “echoing sounds” of old castle halls, and tactile sculptures. The following sighted tour then serves to provide context to your initial sensory experience rather than the other way round, thereby allowing you to completely immerse yourself in the history and gravitas of the castle.

 

4. City Tours

It’s one thing to have a blindfolded tourism experience in a restaraunt or exhibition, or even a castle, but a tour of a whole city is different kettle of fish! That’s exactly what Sensorial Lisbon promises to do however, asking you to imagine what it’s like to ‘rediscover’ the famous and historical Amalfa region of the city; “the narrow streets, the smell of grilled sardines, the sound of a Fado that can be heard from afar and so many others sensorial adventures”.

The tours are run by a blind guide from the Portuguese Association for the Visually Impaired who shares his/her sensory experience, whilst there is also an official Lisbon Walker guide who provides historical context. The project has two main goals, “to provide a sensorial experience which aims to gather new knowledge of the surrounding space through the stimuli of the senses of smell, tact, taste and hearing”, and “to bring awareness to the universe of the visually impaired, not as a limitation but instead in a positive and stimulating note”.

A guide leads blindfolded people down a narrow Lisbon street as part of sensorial lisbon, an innovative blindfolded tourism experience

It’s been successful too, as Sensorial Lisbon made Springwise’s top ten international chart for new ideas for tourism services, which really shows the potential of blindfolded tourism. All the proceeds also go to the Portuguese Association for the Visually Impaired.

 

5. A Sign Language Bar

Okay, so this article did have the title blindfolded tourism, but we like to share the love around at Seable so we’re going to include this one too. The Deaf Lounge in Tottenham, London, is a unique bar where all the drinks and food are ordered in sign language. It was started by Paul Cripps, a man who has been deaf since birth and was tired of having negative experiences in pubs, clubs and bars.

In addition to the service staff, there are deaf security guards and a partially deaf DJ, with the sound system being set up so that deaf revellers can feel the vibrations of the music through the floor and dance. They also run salsa, zumba and DJ workshops where deaf people can learn to read beats and play instruments.

 

So that’s our introduction to blindfolded tourism and tourism that utilises other senses. Do let us know what you think of the idea, or if you’ve been to any exciting blindfolded tourism attractions in Europe or around the world. Don’t forget to share with anyone who’s interested in innovative travel and tourism!

For any other travel advice or guidance, feel free to contact us and to learn more about our active accessible holidays, click here.

Disabled holidays in Big Issue Magazine.

Read about disabled holidays with Seable through The GoDo See Buy part of  Big Issue Magazine.

You can read the full article here about our wide range of accessible sport and leisure activity for disabled holidays: scuba diving in the Mediterranean; quad biking; 4×4 driving on Mount Etna; gastronomic delights, wine tasting, olive harvesting and so much more.

We are so glad and honoured to be included in the magazine that has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution.

The Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless and long-term unemployed people. Vendors buy copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-london

Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991, they have helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. The Big Issue currently work with around 2000 individuals across the UK offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’.

Over the past two decades the magazine has become synonymous with challenging, independent journalism, and renowned for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies every week.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-magazine

Last year alone The Big Issue put more than £5million in the pockets of the vendors, releasing them from a dependence on handout and providing an alternative to begging.

Earning an income is the first step on the journey away from poverty and The Big Issue Foundation, a registered charity, exists to link vendors with vital support and services.

Visit www.bigissue.com for more information.

disabled-holidays-big-issue-foundation

Reviews of the latest Seable Sicily Experience

Have a taste of your disabled holidays with Seable, discover how could it be through some of our client’s reviews.

We don’t sell products: our aim is to provide the most valuable experience supported by passion and enthusiasm, believing that our disabled holidays can offer a wide range of exciting activities in order to make your trip unforgettable.

Olga, 22, a partially sighted lady from Milton Keynes, England said: “Thank you for such a wonderful experience and everything that you have done for all of us while we were in Sicily. It is because of you that I tried so many new things. Your support, encouragement and humour in various activities has helped to make this one of the best weeks in my entire life. You have worked SO hard to ensure that everyone had not only a good time and learned about Sicily, its culture and history, but also tried something new. What you do is amazing. Keep it up. You are spreading so much joy and encouragement and I hope that your company will continue to grow. Hopefully see you again soon!”

disabled-holidays

Moreover, thank’s to our team, primary composed by local guides, you can deeply connect with the essence of your destination: “Amazing experience in Sicily. Some unique activities you wouldn’t find on a generic holiday package. As well as really friendly staff who have grown up in Sicily, which allows them to give great info on the best hidden places to eat and some knowledge on local history / sights you may want to see.” Daniel, 25, a partially sighted young boy from London said.

Rachel, 23, a partially sighted lady from Birmingham, England said: “The Seable team are amazing and very understanding, they knew the best places to take us in Sicily. A few activities we did such as; scuba diving, walking up Mount Etna, honey tasting, olive oil making and visiting an organic farm, were only some of the brilliant experiences but it didn’t stop there, there was always something we would be doing so there was never a dull moment. The team really do go the extra mile to help you in whatever way you need and are always there for a friendly chat if you need to. Can’t wait for the next trip!!”

disabled-holidays-favignana

Mohammed, 21, a blind man from Blackburn, Lancashire said: “I cannot put into words how good the service is provided by Seable Disabled Holidays. I went to Sicily with them in October and I was extremely satisfied with the five star service that was provided. Damiano and his staff ensured I was completely comfortable at all times. Damiano went out of his way on many occasions to help me and meet my requirements. Seable Disabled Holidays are always prepared to Taylor your holiday to suit you and your needs. All the staff are very friendly and understanding. You do not feel as if you’re disabled because they make sure you are treated as normal and that you get to do what you want. They will fulfil any dietary or religious requirements you have and do everything in their power to make sure you have the best time with no stress. I recommend Seable Disabled Holidays highly. Every excursion that is offered is worth every penny and provides the most authentic experience possible. Don’t take my word for it though, book today and find out for yourself!!”

Tanya, a lovely young daughter of a visually and hearing impaired elderly father from London, said: “Seable and Damiano made it possible to take my visually and hearing impaired elderly father on holiday this year. I could not have done this on my own. They made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and happy. The tour guide Francesco was so helpful with dad and with everything from finding a spa for dad to translating menus. I can’t recommend them highly enough!! Loved Sicily and we will definitely be traveling with Seable again next year.”

We are so proud and happy to hear such lovely feedback, and we want to thank you all for such delicious reviews.

disabled-holidays-ortigia

Disabled Holiday Accommodation: What We Offer

Our Disabled Holiday Accommodation

For today’s blogpost, we thought we would focus on some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer to our guests. We have a great range of luxurious disabled holiday accommodation, from villas to apartments to hotels, all of which are surrounded by magnificent Italian scenery, and have either a pool or beach access. All of our accommodation has been inspected, and assessed fully compatible for the visually impaired and wheelchair users. Read on for more details about some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer.

Villa del Palme, Acitrezza

Accessible Accommodation 15

Nestled amongst pine trees and citrus groves, Villa delle Palme offers the best of location with all of Sicily’s beauty at your doorstep. Acitrezza is one of Sicily’s most sought after addresses, being home to the Islands of Ciclopi legends and all the village’s natural’surrounding beauty.  It is a short drive from Catania City, and only 40 minutes drive from Taormina and Etna. There is a swimming pool and BBQ facilities in the expansive garden, and it is only 110 yards from the beach.

disabled holiday accommodation

In terms of accessibility, Villa delle Palme has been fitted especially with wider doorways and accessible wet rooms. It also has hoists, electric beds and scooters for hire.

disabled holiday Accommodation

You can find its website here. You can also see more photos, and read reviews, on Tripadvisor and Airbnb.

Grand Hotel Faraglioni

disabled holiday accommodation

This 4 star hotel, situated on the seafront of Acitrezza, offers guests comfort and hospitality that only a top rated hotel can give. A Lobby-bar where guests can relax and have a cocktail at any time of the day. Guests have exclusive, private access to the “solarium” and to the sea in front of the hotel. Facilities include sun loungers, deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

disabled holiday accommodation

Accessibility wise, rooms come equipped with wider doorways and accessible wetrooms, and a range of electric beds, hoists and scooters. Highly qualified staff also be at your disposal to ensure your stay is flawless. There is excellent service at all times and assistance with the choice of sightseeing, special events, guided tours, travel itineraries, and transfer to and from the airport etc.

disabled holiday accommodation

You can find its website here. Find more photos and read reviews on Tripadvisor here, and Expedia here.

La Terrazza

disabled holiday accommodation

A delightful B&B set right on the sea promenade, La Terrazza is less than 5 minutes’ walk from Aci Castello town centre. It boasts air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor pool and free Wi-fi. Every morning, you are served an Italian breakfast of local pastries, fresh juice and coffee, whilst enjoying the sea views from the terrace.

Rooms at La Terrazza are clean, comfortable and modern, and come with a TV, fridge and tiled floors. Some overlook the sea, while the others have garden views.

disabled holiday accommodation

In summer, guests can enjoy relaxing moments at the partner beach nearby, while the Acireale thermal spa is 5 km away. There is also a poolside bar, and the owner provides live music at least once a week at the pool.

disabled holiday accommodation

The staff are friendly and accommodating, and will be happy to help with whatever you might need. A shuttle service to/from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport is available on request.

Find more photos and read reviews on Tripadvisor here, and Booking.com here.

 

Hopefully this post has given you a greater insight into some of the disabled holiday accommodation we offer, and the various accessible features of the locations we have selected.  If you have any questions about our disabled holiday accommodation, please contact us by email or call us at +44(0) 207 749 4866.

Accessible Holidays: Bucks Legacy Accessible Tourism Seminar

Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury,  1st March 2014

Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury, 1st March 2014

Accessible Holidays: On March 1st on the morning of the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting at Stoke Mandeville, 25 of Europe’s leading lights in the Accessible Tourism Field gathered for a workshop at the Oculus in Aylesbury to share best practice and to see how new standards relating to more inclusive visitor standards could be delivered as the norm rather than as glorious exceptions.

The workshop had been organised by the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board in partnership with the Buckinghamshire Disability Service who have stated their ambition that Buckinghamshire should reflect its position as the Birthplace of the Paralympic movement by also becoming the most accessible visitor destination in Britain. To do this they aim to encourage through a new Buckinghamshire wide Destination Management Organisation, attractions, accommodation providers, transport and hospitality providers to all aspire to the “Stoke Mandeville Standard” around accessible tourism visitor experience.

Ross Calladine, Accessible Tourism Manager for Visit England helped set the scene by outlining the national context where Visit England have secured regional growth funding to work alongside a number of destinations to develop new visitor guides and promotional material based on the visitor experience rather than any perceived barriers to services. This approach was supported by accessible tourism Brian Seaman who explained that the most important skill for a tourism business was to listed to its customers and to make sure it adapted its services to their needs, he said that the most important message he could provide to any tourism business looking to make its service more accessible was “customer service, is what the customer thinks it is.”

This ethos became a recurring theme of the workshop with many speakers saying how they had benefitted from taking personal care with all of their customers and how by doing the right thing they had also benefitted their overall profitability. Geraldine Lundy, Head of Accessibility from Virgin Atlantic explained their philosophy which was based on a total customer experience and highlighted how by employing people with different disabilities had given the company a competitive edge and better insight into all of its customers. This approach wasn’t just benefitting large organisations, but was even more effective for small and growing businesses Bob Griffin from Tomkat Trikes, an award winning engineering firm specialising in custom build bikes and trikes for disabled children, explained that his business follows a process of constantly learning, innovating and inventing to delivering individual solutions for its customers and delivering great rewards for all involved.

Quite appropriately on a day in which the flame for the Sochi Winter Games was lit, it was a visitor from Sweden, the country that hosted the first Paralympic Winter Games, had the clearest message for delegates. Magnus Berglund from Scandic Hotels, one of the fastest growing hotel chains in Europe, said simply that “I can get you more business” he explained that Scandic had adopted a simple 110 point standard many of which were mandatory for all of its hotels. Many of the standards such as providing a stick holder in all receptions were extremely cheap to implement but had proved instrumental in increasing the profitability for the hotel chain.

Double award winner tour operator Seable Holidays, shared his passion for making exciting accessible holidays, creating a fully accessible offer that includes sport activities, cultural excursions and gastronomic experiences. The model has worked so far and Damiano La Rocca, the director of the company, is looking to add a number of UK based destination holidays that will allow local and international tourists to explore the accessible offers available.

The delegates agreed that 10 themes had emerged from a fascinating workshop session

• Always listen to and ask your customers
• Don’t be fearful
• Very often accessibility costs very little
• Where you can, keep it simple
• Embrace innovation
• Share knowledge & learning Involve all of your staff
• Doing the right thing can also be financially rewarding
• In the UK we do many aspects of visitor accessibility very well
• We need to share and celebrate best practice more widely throughout the UK and internationally

At the end of the morning session, all of the delegates agreed that they had benefitted greatly from the workshop and agreed to work together to start planning for a much larger event linked to the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting for the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
[Tweet “Accessible Holidays: @BucksLegacy Accessible Tourism Seminar #accessibleholidays”]

Accessible Tourism – Seable speaking at workshop pre-ceremony of Paralympic Heritage Flame lighting

Accessible Tourism

CREDIT: VANOC/COVAN
During both the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, the flame is passed from one torch bearer to the next. The Paralympic Games feature differently-abled athletes who compete in sport competitions.

Accessible Tourism, Saturday 1 March 2014 in preparation for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. As part of a programme of linked events highlighting the Paralympic Legacy in the UK, a Workshop on Accessible Tourism is to be held with the aim of showcasing good practice in accessible tourism in the UK and discussing how accessible tourism can be promoted and developed as part of the UK Paralympic. A number of key players in UK accessible tourism have been invited to the Workshop with the aim of bringing practitioners, policy-makers and accessible tourism specialists together for an informed and informal discussion.

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Accessible Holidays in Sicily fit for disabled – Interview from Startup Italia

Startup Italia

Interview with Startup Italia

Seable Accessible Holidays is happy to announce that Fabriq, a new incubator for social innovation just opened in Milan and during their first workshop they mentioned Seable Holidays as an example of good practices and social inclusion. Antonio Tasso, journalist @ Startu-up Italia decided to get in touch with us and interviewed the founder: Damiano La Rocca. Here the translated version of the interview taken on the 14th of February 2014

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