Accessible Travel and Accessible Tourism-Web Accessibility

Accessible Travel and Tourism - Part 2 of a Three-Part Series - Web Accessibility and Tourism

Accessible Travel and Accessible Tourism-Web Accessibility

Accessible Travel and Tourism

Accessible Travel and Web Accessibility Is a Win-Win for Everyone!

Are You Leaving Tourism Revenue On the Table?

Web Accessibility and Tourism

Part Two of a Three-Part Series – Web Accessibility and Tourism

  1. Accessible Locations and Structures
  2. Web Accessibility
  3. Service Animals and Support for Accessibility Organizations

International Travel Reviews (ITR) Promotes Web Accessibility​ ​For Increased Tourism

Accessibility begins with your publicly accessible website listing your services. Also, your web designer should be thoroughly familiar with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Disabled travelers are not irrelevant. And should be seriously considered. Furthermore, not being accessible beginning with your website, can be a costly mistake. Most relevant as we noted in part one, outbound disabled American travelers alone already spent  $35 billion a year in 2015. What a revenue opportunity! yet it gets better. Disabled travel worldwide is estimated from disabled travelers and their caretakers/families will be over $300 billion dollars a year in 2017.  Lastly, tourism revenue rapidly increasing as countries and tourism related businesses recognize their responsibility to become accessible to everyone. Airlines, take notice!!

Review

In part one of this two-part series, we noted that if you are a

  • private tourism business
  • historic site manager
  • city, state, country CVB
  • Or any other tourism hot spot

you are losing significant revenues if your location is not fully accessible to all travelers.

We also provided these general resources.

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws  Publications: Architectural Accessibility

Frequently Asked Questions: ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities

Accessibility Defined

“The ADA is a civil rights law and not a building code to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate.”

Accessible access to physical locations, structures and websites is a legal requirement based on Civil rights laws, not construction laws. Public accommodations are covered under ADA title III. ADA Title III regulations 28 CFR Part 36.304. See also ADA Title III Regulations – Part 36 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities (as amended by the final rule published on September 15, 2010)

 

The ADA and Web Accessibility

Most noteworthy, web accessibility is another area where we see discrimination against people with disabilities. The problem is that not being web accessible discriminates against the visually impaired who cannot read the graphics. In addition, it discriminates against the hearing impaired if sound is used on your website. Furthermore, making your website meet web accessibility requirements isn’t just good business, it is the law.

Almost every time I point out that Web Accessibility is the law, someone always brings up Section 508 to refute me. They claim that Section 508 only pertains to the Federal Procurement process. Indeed, that is correct. Section 508 says: “Contrary to what you may read on the web, Section 508 does not directly apply to private sector web sites or to public sites which are not U.S. Federal agency sites. It also does not (generally) apply to agencies or establishments using Federal funds.”

Accessibility is a Civil Rights Law!

Yet, those who quote this are doing so out of ignorance. The “law” requiring web accessibility is not from Section 508. It is via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a Civil Rights Law!

Therefore, this has serious potential legal consequences for all public websites, especially for sites heavily image based. Since these sites have images, they must have a reasonable description of the graphics and images. Also, websites that serve the public are legally required to be web accessible. And lawsuits will ensure their compliance if website owners will not do so voluntarily. As a result, most have begun to address this issue but only to meet the bare minimum requirements. And placing the responsibility for web accessibility onto the contributor doesn’t free them from liability regarding images. Hence, it is the website owner who is responsible to make sure the images contain descriptive “alt attributes”. Most noteworthy, WordPress now provides the opportunity for you to include descriptive text for your images. It is a small step in the right direction. So, please use descriptive “alt attributes”.

 

What Does It Mean to be “Accessible”?

According to the ADA, “Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without. This doesn’t mean that a blind user will complete a task on a web site as fast as one who can see. Listening takes longer than looking at the screen and reading. But the processes must be comparable.”

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires State and local governments and (places of public accommodation) to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effect[ive] communication with individuals with disabilities”

 

Web Accessibility Resources

Is Your Site ADA-Compliant … or a Lawsuit-in-Waiting?

Lawsuits Mount Over Website Accessibility – Epstein Becker & Green

ITR Does Web Accessibility Reviews

First of all, we provide the optional service of testing a business’ website to determine its level of web accessibility. Yet another area where we can help tourism related companies increase their revenues. Since those with accessibility issues cannot read your website, or in some other way get the information from your website on their own, you are losing potential customers. And again, it isn’t just the right thing to do, it is the law. 

Also keep in mind that being proactive with accessibility issues can drastically increase your revenues. Finally, ITR helps tourism businesses to capitalize on this significant and rapidly growing sector.

Summary

Lastly, we want travelers to have a ready source of valid, uncompromising information about travel and tourism sites. While at the same time, giving tourism related businesses the exposure they need to claim their slice of the entire tourism pie

Additional Information

Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities (Title III)

List of ADA Publications for Architectural Accessibility

Standards issued under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) – Older but still applicable law

Did you miss the first article in this series? Read It Here

Also be sure to read the third article in this series: “Service Animals and Support for Accessibility Organizations

Please direct inquiries about this article to – [email protected]

Also, to see all my articles and other topics, please bookmark this link: Rick’s Articles On LinkedIn

Accessible Travel and Web Accessibility Is a Win-Win for Everyone!

Lastly, if you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment.

2 Your Success ™

Rick Stoneking Sr. CEO
Owner/Founder
International Travel Reviews ™
Division of International Publishing Group, LLC ™
Inverness, Florida

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About The Author

Rick Stoneking Sr, is a retired, disabled, veteran, minister and formal federal agent. And now, Founder/Owner of International Travel Reviews (ITR) and a #DisabilityAdvocate for #AccessibleTravel.

Also, Rick has written in one form or another for over forty years. Rick’s has published work in multiple genres in both Christian and secular circles. Furthermore, his writing includes everything from police reports to a Christian Ebook, to a year-long daily devotional series. Lastly, he has published articles and columns in well-recognized state and international magazines.

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