Top 5: Standards for accessible travel

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Holiday time is upon many of us! And while all of us hope for stress-free travels, it’s especially important to remove unnecessary barriers for the 1 billion people in the world who live with some kind of disability1). Which is why ISO believes in accessibility for everyone, everywhere, including tourist facilities. Below are a few ISO standards that can help.

1. First stop: The tourist office

Accessible swimming pool with wheelchair symbol.When new to a city, often the first port of call is the tourist information office to make a plan of where to go and what to see. ISO 14785, Tourism information offices — Tourist information and reception services — Requirements, will help make such places more accessible for everyone, by considering things like getting through the door (the entrance and parking) as well as being able to access the information they distribute, taking into account hearing and sight abilities. It also recommends that tourist offices should assist those with disabilities get the most out of their visit, by providing a list of the best-accessible hotels, activities and adapted transport.

2. Accessibility at every step of the journey

Wheelchair friendly blue ramp on the hotel beach in Madeira Island, Portugal.Most, if not all, travel and tourism operators want to make their experience enjoyable and accessible to all clients, so a good place to start is ISO 21902Tourism and related services — Accessible tourism for all — Requirements and recommendations. These internationally-agreed guidelines and recommendations are aimed at helping them improve their current accessibility provisions, covering information on everything from policy making, strategy, infrastructure, products and services, it is relevant to the whole tourism supply-chain. It is applicable to all kinds of stakeholders including the public sector, urban and rural tourist spaces, accommodation, tour operators and more.

3. Beaches for all

Parents kneeling by a 6 year old boy in a wheelchair, enjoying an ice cream on the beach, while looking at the view.When sun-and-sand is on the agenda, it is important that beach operators take into account the needs of those for whom accessibility to such places can be a challenge. ISO 13009, Tourism and related services —Requirements and recommendations for beach operation, highlights the importance of making beaches accessible to all. It outlines recommendations for the accessibility of beaches such as design of access ramps and boardwalks, as well as facilities on site including toilets, showers and drinking fountains.

4. Tourism for all the senses

Braille directory of a public building.For blind or visually-impaired travellers, universally-understood braille is an essential part of life. ISO 17049, Accessible design — Application of braille on signage, equipment and appliances provides requirements for braille used all over the world, enabling visually-impaired travellers access to information wherever they are. In addition, ISO 23599, Assistive products for blind and vision-impaired persons —Tactile walking surface indicators, helps them visit new places more easily and safely.

5. Accessibility in all standards

Little boy with Down syndrome having fun in the swimming pool with his mother who is holding him in her arms.ISO takes the needs of people with disabilities very seriously. That is why it developed ISO/IEC Guide 71, Guide for addressing accessibility in standards. This advises ISO technical committees to take the needs and challenges of persons with disabilities into account in the development of standards, particularly those that focus on systems that people use, interact with or need to access. This means they are considered in standards that relate to anything that has an impact on their lives, wherever they are.


Looking for more travel titbits? You’re in luck! If you are prone to catching the travel bug, and your feet itch to discover new places, follow Cath’s journey on social media as she travels around the world looking for tourism standards from 10 July to 9 August.

For those who care about our impact on the planet, who want to experience new thrills with no compromise on safety, and think that travel should be accessible to all, you’ll find the hottest standards and stories from our members around the world. 

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1) UN World Travel Organization: Accessible Tourism


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