Over 50% of people with disabilities find travel considerably more difficult or near impossible, according to a new survey conducted by luxury holiday specialists Oliver’s Travels.

The villa holiday experts polled 1,000 people with disabilities to gain insight into the greatest barriers facing people with disabilities when travelling.

The research found that one of the key issues affecting people with disabilities when travelling is feeling uncomfortable around other holidaymakers, which is a concern for over 1/3 of respondents.

Other key difficulties include airports, airline and other transport not being adapted for those with disabilities, while a lack of accessible booking options is another key hurdle for almost 25% of respondents.

The research also found that the need for accessible travel options can leave travellers with disabilities out of pocket, with 40% of those surveyed saying that accessible travel is always more expensive or that they have on occasion had to pay more in order to obtain the necessary support and adaptations to meet their needs.

Generally speaking respondents stated that they did not find tour operators particularly supportive in catering to travellers with disabilities and 16% say that those working within the hospitality industry need to be provided with full training on how to understand and support accessible travel needs.

This may be a key reason why almost a third of those surveyed state that they prefer to travel with companies who prioritise accessible travel, but find it is not always possible.

The situation may however be improving as 44% of respondents say that have seen a small improvement in accessible options in the last 5 years, and expect to see further improvement in the next 5 years.

Whether their expectations are met is of course at the hands of the travel industry, who evidently need to correct the key issues identified in this research.

Oliver Bell, Co-Founder and Owner of Oliver’s Travels, says, “It was incredibly important for us to gain further insight into accessible travel and the key barriers facing travellers with disabilities.

The results of our survey have been invaluable to us in identifying the areas in which we need to improve our accessible travel provisions, and we hope our findings will encourage a step in the right direction for the travel industry as a whole.”

Since conducting their research, Oliver’s Travels have been making key developments to their website to ensure their online resources and booking options are accessible for all. Additionally, the team have conducted research into travel tools and resources to help support travellers with disabilities while on holiday, which can be found in their online guide.

The travel experts are continuing to review ways in which they can adapt and improve their accessible travel options moving forward.

ABLE Magazine’s travel section is sponsored by Post Office Travel Insurance