Press release - 9 April 2008
Staying in a hotel is set to get easier for millions of disabled people in Great Britain following new guidance from BSI British Standards, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and VisitBritain.
The new guidance, PAS 88 Guidance on accessibility of large hotel premises and hotel chains, is designed to assist hotels to operate under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995).
PAS 88 builds on existing standards in this area, including the VisitBritain National Accessible Scheme. It aims to provide advice on accessibility in all areas of a hotel premises and services in line with Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act which says that establishments like hotels have a duty to ensure that disabled people can access their goods and services. Advice includes:
- The use of keycards instead of traditional keys. The keycards should have a tactile indicator on one side to indicate the correct direction of use.
- Visually impaired visitors should be able to easily differentiate between hot and cold taps, e.g. bathroom taps preferably embossed with on/off or hot/cold.
- Windows positioned at the end of corridors should be avoided as they can produce glare that can be confusing for visually impaired visitors.
- Floor covering that is sound absorbing (e.g. carpet) is preferable to a ceramic floor, which might confuse visitors with hearing impairment. Where a carpet is used it should have short pile to minimize the possibility of tripping and to allow smooth travel for wheelchair users.
- A choice of cutlery and crockery should be offered. A mug may be easier for some disabled people to use than cups and saucers or plastic cups that do not have handles.
- The operation of an access strategy, developed with input from disabled people, which demonstrates commitment to accessibility.
Baroness Jane Campbell, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said, “The recognition of good practice in hotels is a critical step in removing the barriers disabled people face in going about their daily lives. Disabled people, their families, friends and colleagues can now be reassured that they can expect access to large chains comfortably, not have to plan minutia of detail in advance, justify their impairment related requirements in a crowed lobby or be turned away on arrival due to lack of access. “
Jeremy Brinkworth, General Manager of Quality at VisitBritain, said, “This guidance document will enhance the existing information available to the industry and be an excellent reference guide to helping the industry become more accessible and meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act. It will help to manage both industry and consumer expectations and be a very valuable resource. We are glad that the hard work and success of the standards in the National Accessible Scheme has been used in PAS 88 and that we have been a valued partner in the development process. VisitBritain’s National Accessible scheme will still continue to be a valid rating scheme that businesses can participate in to enable them to promote facilities and services to consumers.”
Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said, “This document has been designed to assist hotels in meeting their obligations under the DDA. PAS 88 has undergone a consultation process with the hospitality industry and experts on disability and accessibility. It should prove an invaluable tool for hoteliers and yield great results for disabled hotel guests.”
About BSI Group
BSI British Standards is part of BSI Group, a global independent business services organization that inspires confidence and delivers assurance to customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world’s first national standards body, the Group has over 2,250 staff operating in over 100 countries through more than 50 global offices. The Group’s key offerings are:
- The development and sale of private, national and international standards and supporting information
- Second and third-party management systems assessment and certification
- Product testing and certification of services and products
- Performance management software solutions
- Training services in support of standards implementation and business best practice.
For further information please visit www.bsigroup.com
About the Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.
For further information please visit www.equalityhumanrights.com
For media information on VisitBritain:
Sian Brenchley, Senior Press Officer VisitBritain
Tel: 020 8563 3220,
mob: 07971 497047
Notes to Editors:
• VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a world class tourist destination and for developing England’s visitor economy. It has representatives in 36 countries around the world and, in the last three years, has expanded into China, throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and increased its presence in India with representatives in Bangalore and Mumbai.
• VisitBritain’s National Accessible Scheme: Developed following extensive review with accommodation providers, guests and many organisational bodies representing people with disabilities, together with the other National Tourist Boards, the scheme provides a set of Accessible Standards against which establishments are assessed for their accessibility and awarded a rating. Standards for serviced, self-catering accommodation and holiday parks cover three types of impairment: mobility, hearing and visual. There are four categories for mobility plus an additional accolade 'access exceptional', and two each for visual and hearing impairment with level 1 being the minimum entry requirement. The standards have been designed to allow people with access requirements and varying disabilities to make an informed choice about where they can go on holiday in the UK.
• In 2006, there were 32.7 million visits to Britain, 9% up on 2005. They spent over £16 billion in the UK: a 12% increase on 2005. Globally, the UK retains 6th place in visitor arrivals, slipping one place to 6th in spend.