Thursday, February 16, 2006

An exclusive Q&A on disabled travel in the UK

When I read and posted about The Mersey Neurological Trust exhibition on travel for people with disabilities , I was fascinated enough with the idea that I wanted to know more. How it went, will they do it again, what insights might they have on travel by the disabled? I was fortunate to connect with Danny Start, administration and marketing officer for The Mersey Neurological Trust. We had a little Q and A, which I share here:

Get Around Guide: How did the exhibition this year go? How many exhibitors were there? What was attendance like?
Start: There were 15 exhibitors (a full complement) and approximately 150 visitors. Tons of information was provided and taken away - plenty of follow up calls asking for information about the day, brochures etc

Get Around Guide: Will you host another? When?
Start: .The event is bi-annual so we should be organizing another in 2008 (although some exhibitors thought this should be an annual thing - to be discussed...).

Get Around Guide: What kind of feedback did you get from attendees? From exhibitors?
Start: Feedback (was) good to excellent -- no major criticisms. Issues around parking and maybe getting the mix/variety of exhibitors right. We could have done with representation from an insurance company but, having said that, Age Concern did offer insurance information.

Get Around Guide: How did you identify this as something to do? Do you hear a lot about a need for accessible travel options?
Start: Arranging a holiday, if you're a disabled person, is unnecessarily convoluted and difficult - it's a struggle for disabled people, their families and carers to get it right -- in particular with regard to accessibility and getting reasonable insurance cover. So, there is always a demand for this sort of event.

Get Around Guide: In your opinion, what is the state of travel for people with disabilities in the UK?
Start: I think the state of travel for disabled people is improving but far from satisfactory. I think more of the mainstream companies could benefit from attending an event such as ours -- a sizeable proportion of the population is disabled and to exclude them from your planning is bad business and bad PR.

Get Around Guide: Anything else you think we should know ...?
Start: We are floating the idea of a regular holiday brochure - perhaps exhibitors past and present, and the many contacts I've built up could subscribe, pay a yearly fee and have a space to advertise and promote their products.

Kudos to The Mersey Neurological Trust for the foresight to host this event and to Danny Start for his cooperation with Get Around Guide.


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