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Agents call on travel industry to help disabled holidaymakers

Agents have called on the industry to do more to help disabled holidaymakers after reading about John Roberts' experiences in the Disability Travel ­Challenge in Travel Weekly.

John is on a month-long trip testing various modes of transport and hotel facilities for disabled travellers.

Agents want more communication about accessible holidays and more training on how to book these holidays.

Tracey Blacker, a travel consultant with LJ Personal Travel in Sevenoaks, Kent, said she had problems trying to book a holiday for a wheelchair user and his wife. "The booking opened my eyes as to how difficult it is to find suitable facilities," said Blacker. "I tried to research it, but couldn't find anything that satisfied my criteria."

"I trawled through lots of websites but none seemed to have any useful information. There should be a guide or rating for each hotel of how suitable it is for disabled travellers," she said.

Travel Weekly Cruise Club member Tracy McFall of Accessible Travel said: "The only way things are going to get better is if people like John highlight the issues. He should not have to be contacting airlines direct about his booking.

"Unfortunately, one of the problems is that some agents are not interested. It is hard work to find basic information. There is a lack of information and training for agents. I think outlets should have a mobility specialist in their shop as a unique selling point."

Travel Counsellor Julie Savill said: "I have been on crutches for the past 15 months and it has really opened my eyes to the needs of disabled travellers.

"Agents who have the knowledge and take the time to listen to disabled customers needs can tap into this sector."

John Roberts was unhappy with his experience on a Qantas flight when he received no assistance. Follow his progress at www.travel weekly.co.uk/travelchallenge

By Michelle Perrett and Chloe Govan


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