Universal Design: Guide for Inclusive Tourism

Navigating spaces outside one’s familiar environment can be particularly tricky for people with disabilities. Applying the principles of universal design to travel can facilitate this process and there are some efforts to do so, in what is termed inclusive tourism

“Inclusive tourism is a global movement to ensure the full social participation of all persons with disabilities in travel, citizenships, and cultural contribution—and in the process, to ensure the same for everyone else.” 

Inclusive tourism involves travellers, industry professionals, policy makers, designers and builders. It also encompasses an understanding of the principles of universal design: equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort and size and space for approach and use.

Efforts to make tourism inclusive benefit everyone. When you take into account those with special requirements because of health conditions, age, and height and reach, this group encompasses a large portion of the population.

Inclusive tourism includes several components: 

  • Basic access considerations such as doorways, pathways, lighting and contrast
  • Pathways and roads, for example, curb ramps, pathway surfaces, and crosswalk signals
  • Ramps and steps, including handrails, slope and landings
  •  Entrances and doors, which includes entrances, door hardware and power-assist doors
  • Interior access, including level changes, signs and doorway widths
  • Multi-storey access such as elevators, steps, and platform widths

Other components to consider in inclusive tourism are restrooms, guest rooms and bathrooms; retail and food service; beach and sea; leisure venues and locations; transportation; parking; and lighting.

To learn more about inclusive tourism, you can consult this guide here