Known for its sophisticated beaches and enough culture to quench any traveller’s adventurous and inquisitive side, Barbados is a tropical island that can now be accessed by ALL explorers.
Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) is an initiative of the Barbados Council for the Disabled, highlighting the importance of creating greater accessibility and exploration of the island by travellers with mobility challenges. It is a concept being adopted by almost everyone on the island – from hoteliers to restaurants and more.
With a number of Bajan tourism partners enlisting in the FAB program, a totally cohesive and accessible Barbados is now in the sights of the eight out of 10 Canadians with disabilities that use aids or devices.
“Combining the travel needs of those with disabilities with the island’s eclectic terrain – from its rocky eastern shoreline, to the calm, serene waters of its "Platinum Coast," and changing the landscape of an entire community is a monumental and somewhat daunting task, but seeing a Fully Accessible Barbados is a dream that is quickly becoming a reality,” says Deborah Millington, Business Development Officer for Barbados Tourism.
The aim of FAB is to create a cross-section of standards and criteria that help meet some of the challenges travellers may encounter, especially with the prevalence of disability increasing steadily with age. Canadian retired seniors will soon make up the largest cross-section of the population. The impact to the Inclusive Tourism sector is significant as over 40 per cent of them will be retiring with some form of disability, raising the total value of this sector to over 25 per cent of the tourism market by 2020. This is by no means a “niche market”!
“Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and Barbados Tourism Authority is paving a new way by offering persons with disabilities FULL access to this Caribbean paradise,” says Saj Rahman, Show Manager of People in Motion, a free-to-the-public show for those with disabilities and aims to help enhance independent living.
But it’s not just in how tourism partners have made their hotels, restaurants and attractions accessible. Barbados has opened up their island to those travelling in a whole new way:
With the introduction of an amphibious, ergonomically designed wheelchair, maneuvering the island, on the ground or in the turquoise, crystal clear water no longer proves challenging. The FAB Beach Wheelchair is ideal for people with moderate or severely reduced mobility. Easily manipulated on all types of soil, sand or pebbles, its passenger gains full access to the beach, where he or she can enjoy a leisurely swim in Barbados’ calm waters.
Known for their warmth, Bajans have proven – once again – they have an amazingly welcoming culture.
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