March 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts March 2001 Current Issue
March 2001
Short Cuts:
Access grantedimage

When the Americans With Disabilities Act took off, it opened up peoples’ consciousness. They began to think, ‘Yes, we’re entitled to upscale, accessible travel,’” says Howard McCoy, president of Accessible Journeys (800-846-4537;, a Ridley, Pa.-based firm that organizes travel for the mobility-impaired. His company is among the handful of agencies that accommodate this segment of the population, estimated at 52 million worldwide.

These companies make it their business to track down accessible transportation, accommodations and attractions all over the globe. Besides checking with tourist boards, convention and visitor bureaus, local travel firms and targeted Web sites (one of the most comprehensive is Access-Able Travel Source;, McCoy contacts local hospitals and rehabilitation facilities for recommendations. He gives the United States high marks for the overall accessibility of its hotels. Europe, he says, does a better job in the transportation area.

Interested parties are eyeing Germany, where the first purpose-built hotel for persons with disabilities is to open next year. The 108-room House Rheinsberg Hotel on the Lake, near Berlin, will feature wheelchair-height bar counters, balconies that accommodate four wheelchairs at a time, beds with special lifting apparatus and a medically trained staff to assist guests with any special needs.


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