An area that has been most problematic is accessible accommodation provision. For example, the English Tourism Council (2000) put a great deal of resources into developing an accessible accommodation classification system but it has had limited uptake by industry and no evaluation of the system from consumers with disabilities’ perspective. In an Australian context, questions over accessible accommodation classification systems originally administered by the Automobile Association of Australia’s hotel and motel accommodation guide had been fraught with difficulties as evidenced by the number of Australian Human Rights Commission complaints cases (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2009; Darcy & Taylor, 2009). The accumulation of these complaints cases led to AAA Tourism (2006) withdrawing the icon classifications. AAA Tourism then commissioned an accessible accommodation information scheme (AAA Tourism, 2007) but to date this has not been implemented. As Darcy (2007) suggests a great deal of these complaints are due to the complexity of the building codes and Australian standards for access and mobility being simplified from literally thousands of measurements to an iconic representation. As Figure 1 shows, the AAA system of icon access classification was based on Wheelchair "independent access" and Wheelchair "access with assistance", which provided no detailed information about the rooms.
|Figure 1: AAA & ACROD Disabled Rooms Access Icons (Graham, 2000; Queensland Tourism, 2000)|
This has not stopped others from developing their own accessible accommodation classification systems (Australia for All, 2006). Alternatives to icons have been promoted by Europe for All (2007a, 2007b) and the European Commission (2004) where the detailed information for people with access needs are provided so they can make their own decision about whether the access provided meets their needs. This approach is also supported by the European Network for Accessible Tourism in their philosophy about accessible tourism information provision (European Network for Accessible Tourism, 2007). An Australian example of this type of system for the Deaf and hearing impaired community was completed in conjunction with an industry body (Deafness Forum & HMAA, 2005) and is based on five detailed criteria.
European Commission, & Westcott, J. (2004). Improving information on accessible tourism for disabled people. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, EUROPA.
Graham, J. (2000). A Guide to Accessible Caravan Parks in Queensland. Brisbane: Tourism Queensland.
Queensland Tourism. (2000). Accessible Queensland Website Retrieved 21 November, 2000, from www.tq.webcentral.com.au/accessqld/conditions.html