Anyone with a disability, or anyone who cares for someone with a disability, will know just how difficult it can be to arrange trips out. This is true not just in the North East but the entire UK, but, fortunately, there has been a lot of progression within the last few years and things are looking brighter for the future.
Many of the North East’s major attractions are much more accessible than they were previously, including highlights such as The Sage and Baltic in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, the Centre for Life in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear and Alnwick Gardens in Alnwick, Northumberland just to name a few. These places have taken great strides in making their spaces much more accessible and wheelchair friendly, but there is still a lot of work to be done throughout the North East.
This work will involve making the major cities much more accessible for those that require the use of a wheelchair. This must include ramps to gain access to building, more lifts and disabled parking. Additionally, there should also be more scooters and/or wheelchairs for sale and available to use in the major attractions in all of the major cities and much more disabled toilets.
In addition to this, one great idea and one which could have a significant impact on tourism in this part of the UK is offering disabled-friendly accommodation in the form of hotel rooms that have been designed for those with a disability. It is rare for somebody with a disability to have a hotel room that is suited to their particular needs, so there is currently a lot of focus on opening hotel rooms that are well suited to those with a wide range of conditions whilst still remaining a stylish and welcoming space. A few examples of the kind of features that an accessible room will have include wider doors, accessible baths, lower beds, grab rails, walk-in showers etc.
Currently, too many hotels will simply have rooms that are compliant with the UK Equalities Act without thinking about offering spaces which are stylish and aesthetically pleasing in addition to being disabled-friendly. This could all change in the near future, however, with one of the UK’s leading hoteliers Robin Sheppard leading the way as a champion for disability rights in the hospitality sector.
With the major cities around the North East making further adjustments to their infrastructure to make it easier for those with a disability to enjoy the attractions and get around with ease, there will be much more tourism in this part of the UK. By offering not only disabled-friendly accommodation but beautifully designed, stylish hotel rooms which can be used by people with a wide range of conditions, this could have a huge impact on the North East and encourage many more people to visit instead of focusing purely on London and the South East. There have been many great strides made within the last few years with several major attractions becoming more disabled-friendly, but there is still a lot of work to be done.