Senior United Nations Officials Champion More Accessible Travel

Desiree Michels

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As it does every year, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27th. This year, the celebrations were held in Bangkok, Thailand and the theme was “Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility”.

A Promising Message

This theme, and the messages delivered by senior United Nations Officials at the event, could have an enormous impact on accessible tourism and help many disabled individuals to see and experience the world. With such a positive and promising message behind this year’s event, I felt it necessary to outline what was discussed at World Tourism Day 2016 and what it will hopefully mean for the disabled community in the near future.

What Was Discussed

The senior United Nations Officials took to the stage and outlined their desire to make travel more accessible. They believe that this can be achieved through policy-makers, travel planners and organisations working with persons with disabilities uniting and working side-by-side to improve the current situation.


As my expert team and network of clients are highly aware of, disabled travel can be extremely challenging and not enough is being done to overcome the many obstacles that there are. Many will be relieved to hear that this was fully acknowledged by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who correctly pointed out that too many individuals with access requirements (disabled individuals, young children and older persons) still faced access issues even with basic travel needs. He identified these basic travel needs as clear and accurate information, environments that are easy to navigate and reliable public services and transportation.

The Benefits of Travel

Secretary-General Ban also drove home the numerous benefits that accessible tourism can bring, both for the individual and the economy – “tourism has become a powerful economic sector, a passport to prosperity and peace, and a transformative force improving millions of lives”.

Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), also highlighted the value of travel and how it has become a major part of modern day life. He also added that with the population of the globe ageing, everybody will benefit from universal accessibility at some point. He urged the tourism industry and countries all around the world to promote accessibility everywhere and for everyone – “as we celebrate World Tourism Day, let us recall that all of the world’s citizens have the right to experience the incredible diversity this planet has to offer. ”

The Future

The platform that World Tourism Day provides will hopefully have an enormous impact on accessible travel in the near future, with more organisations working side by side to make travel not only possible, but straightforward for disabled travellers.

This has always been our primary goal at Can Be Done and it is something that we feel passionate about. To discuss accessible tourism, holidays for disabled travellers and how we can help you, give me a call today and I will be happy to help.

Author Plate

Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator which has been championing and promoting accessible tourism ever since its foundation. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility, to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.


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