With over a billion people globally living with a form of disability, many day-to-day things can be a large challenge. In society this can at times be forgotten and quickly become an issue that is ignored. Accessibility inspection is imperative for any organisation that deals with customers and does not wish to exclude those with a disability from access their services or products.
The International Organization for Standards (ISO) has recently released a new standard, an international first, which aims to standardise accessible tourism. ISO 21902 – ‘Tourism and Related Services’ hopes to ensure that there are guidelines and requirements to ensure equal access and enjoyment of tourism services and offerings to all as best as possible. The standard is a unique pioneer standard in aiming to reduce some of the challenges those with a disability face in the tourism and travel sectors.
For all those operating in or acting as stakeholders within the tourism and travel sectors, ISO 21902 is a landmark change in attitudes for inclusivity. Recognising the difficulties that some face in these sectors when engaging with products and services ensures that organisations and business must think holistically. Setups and operations that previously may have inadvertently prevented someone from engaging with a product or service, can now face the ISO 21902 standard. This standard doesn’t aim to remove and reduce the offerings that are available today, but simply tries to ensure that they are accessible for everyone. In conducting inspections with ISO 21902, business and organisations can demonstrate that they are following the top advice to ensure that all customers are valued. Regardless of shape or size, any organisation or business with vested interests in the tourism and travel sectors ought to consider accessibility inspection and the new ISO standard.
Conducting accessibility inspections with or without standards such as ISO 21902, within or outside of the travel and tourism industries requires a thorough inspection process. This is not only to ensure the at inspection fully checks what is needed to be checked but is also a matter of principle to demonstrate that every user is valued equally. Accessibility inspection is best conducted on digital inspection solutions that are run off mobile devices. These solutions often allow inspectors to conduct a check with a smartphone or tablet and go through the necessary steps to produce a form or report of compliance and performance. This could mean a check of an accessibility lift into a building, scanning barcodes for quick information. Likewise, it could mean checking a ramp beside some stairs, whereby a visual confirmation of wear and tear can be recorded suing a picture. With such checks, it is much easier to perform these on a digital device that can instantly generate the report to be sent to the building manager, owner, management etc. It also means that during the inspection itself, the inspector can have access to any guidance or standards such as ISO 21902, attached to inspection checklists as reference material. If there are previous images of the wear and tear of the ramp, these could be attached here too – being a very clear way to see degradation of condition.