Hospitality industry players must consider easing the needs of those living with disabilities as this will help the bottom line of the hospitality industry. The implication of this is a huge consumer niche in the hospitality industry that stakeholders can tap into.
PrideInn Sales and Marketing Director, Mrs. Farzana Zahir said the industry must actualize the idea that people with disabilities have a tremendous economic impact on hospitality industry.
“We are cognizant to the fact that people with disabilities have a great economic impact on hospitality industry as a whole. Putting a ramp is not enough, it must go beyond modifying the facilities like the hotel room hotel compound as well as sanitary amenities in order to make them more user friendly to the disabled guests,” she said.
PrideInn hotels is dedicated to continuously improving disability inclusion across all its facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa forfeiting at least 5 rooms accessible to the physically challenged.
“Despite the millions of people around the world living with disabilities, the hospitality sector has largely overlooked the importance of promoting accessible features to travelers. When we talk about need for disability accommodation, we aren’t talking about luxuries, special treatments, favors or extra add-ons, we are talking of a basic human right,” she added.
While access for wheelchair users and disabled people has been a legal requirement for any public buildings constructed, there are so many ways in which the needs of physically challenged population are still being ignored.
According to a survey released by the Open Institute Ability Programme on Wednesday last week, Kenya has an estimate of about 4.4 million people living with disabilities, 68 percent of whom have a physical disability and 2.2 million of working age.
“One of the largest obstacles for travelers with disabilities is simply a lack of information. Hotels are missing out on a huge segment of the tourism market by neglecting to promote their accessibility features,” said Antony Mbaja, General Manager at PrideInn Raphta.
“Lots of people with disabilities still believe doors are closed to them,” he added. “I know this is not the case. We just need to inform people properly.”
Globally, it is estimated that there are over 1 billion persons with disabilities, representing almost a third of the world’s population. While this signifies a huge potential market for travel and tourism, it still remains vastly under-served due to inaccessible travel and tourism facilities and services, as well as discriminatory policies and practices.