The purpose of barriers and walls is security and protection. As early as 12,000 years ago walled cities started to appear to prevent attacks and invasions (especially from barbarians). Walls and barriers work because they limit access from the outsiders.
But that doesn’t have to be the case in these modern times especially when it comes to travel and tourism. Back then there seems to be a lot of barriers that limit access of people with disability to different places. It was a nightmare and painful experience to try to get into the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Garden and Barangaroo Reserve. Aside from the difficulty of getting there back then, the areas lacked basic facilities such as toilets that could be easily used by the disabled.
Barriers are disappearing
Thankfully, times are changing and it’s all for the better. That’s because there are now services that make it easy and delightful to get into Australia’s most famous places. From the airport to the destination, the experience can now be smooth and treasured memories are likely to result.
Somehow, we’re redefining what disability means. Actually, we’re correcting its definition because of what’s happening recently in accessible tourism. In a strict sense, disability means the lack of ability to perform certain tasks (whether physical or mental disability). This doesn’t mean the lack of ability to travel because people with disability travel and take a vacation just like everyone else. They are still able to travel and they can get an awesome experience if they wanted to.
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of barriers and walls is security and protection. Mostly, it’s about keeping people out (e.g. the city of Jericho mentioned in the Bible, Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall in the Roman times). Whether the barriers are real or imagined, the purpose of those obstructions is to limit access (or if there’s access, make the entire experience difficult). It was a similar case for people with disability who wanted to travel. Although they have the means and resources, the experience can still be a nightmare. After all, they and their carers and companions need to consider the accessibility of the airport and aircraft and the ease of use of wheelchairs. It’s also about gaining the same experience most people have.
For instance, the Sydney Opera House runs accessible tours and offers Auslan interpreting, low vision access, relaxed performances, closed captioning and audio descriptions on select performances. It’s a similar case in the Bennelong Lawn in the Royal Botanic Garden because the place has two accessible toilets and eight accessible entrances and in the Chinese Garden of Friendship which is accessible to wheelchairs and prams. Even going to the Sydney Tower Eye is easy because it’s now wheelchair-accessible. It’s now possible to get a 250 m view above the city streets (plus awesome views of the ocean on one side and the views of the majestic mountain on the other). There are no barriers here. What’s needed is the willingness to take the experience.
Removing the barriers instead of building them
People have been busy building walls to keep people out. These are physical barriers that limit access to different places. Aside from the physical barriers, there are also perceived ones such as the belief that it’s all a huge hassle because of the lack of facilities in the destinations and vehicles.
Lack or difficulty of access is the main issue here. But if we make it all accessible and easy, more people will be encouraged to get more out of life. For instance, mobility won’t be a problem anymore because the places and vehicles are becoming wheelchair-accessible.
Aside from building walls, other people have also been busy putting up constraints and restrictions (in the form of rules and regulations). Again, this is for the safety and security of the people especially of the constituents of a nation. This then makes doing travel and other things more complex for most people.
Here at Australia in Style, the difference is that instead of building barriers, we remove them. We accomplish this by making the tour experience smooth and seamless for people with disability. For much of human history people have been busy putting up barriers (whether knowingly or unknowingly) to limit access. But now things are changing for the better because barriers are now disappearing in travels and tours. This is about giving access to people with disability to what Australia can offer.
We’re still a long way towards achieving a truly barrier-free tour for every person with disability (whether temporary or permanent disability). But here in Australia in Style, each day we’re taking small but significant actions towards removing all the barriers so that disabled persons can enjoy even the Sydney Tower Eye and the Blue Mountains. Our focus has always been on helping people enjoy both the destination and the entire journey by ensuring a comfortable and smooth experience.