Disability, tourism and transportation, interview with Roberto Romeo national president of ANGLAT and national vicepresident of FAND
For many travel agencies and tour operators it is difficult to structure packages accessible to people with disabilities and one of the greatest difficulties is transport management. We deepen the theme with Roberto Romeo, National President of ANGLAT and National Vice President FAND.
One of the greatest difficulties that tour operators face in structuring accessible travel packages is that of organizing transport by dividing the various regulations and the systems made available by the various carriers.
We try to clarify, addressing the topic with Roberto Romeo, National President of ANGLAT (National Association Guide Handicapped Transport Legislation) and National Vice-President of FAND (Federation of National Associations of Persons with Disabilities).
Is it really so difficult for a tour operator to manage the booking of the trip for a client with disabilities?
I would say that it is not so difficult, it is certainly essential to know the legislation and the various procedures for access to the transport service that must be followed to request assistance at stations and airports.
Are there specific procedures for travel agencies and tour operators or numbers to call dedicated?
No, the procedure to follow is the same for both tour operators and for the final customer. What changes, especially for air transport, is the agency’s responsibility to request the carrier for the assistance service linked to the traveler’s needs. It will then be up to the airline to activate the service at the start and at the destination.
Entering specifically, what should the tour operator do?
For air transport, the relevant legislation is European Regulation No. 1007/26 which establishes the obligation for the tour operator, who books a ticket for a traveler with disabilities, to inform the airline about the needs of the client.
The obligations of the agency end here, because according to the law, it is the duty of the air carrier to coordinate the service at the airport of departure and destination.
The reference legislation is the European Regulation n.1371 / 07. I take this opportunity to inform everyone that starting from the month of January 2017, thanks to Anglat, the telephone number 02 32 32 32 is available at ordinary rates, which can be used both from a fixed network and a mobile network, which allows assistance to be requested. 14 blue rooms that coordinate the 270 accessible stations in the area.
Also in this case, the management for a professional operator is quite simple, it is sufficient to contact the railway company or the 14 Blue Rooms of RFI and provide the directions of the trip that will allow the customer with disability to use the service. It is important to underline that it is possible to request the service, preferably 12 hours in advance, 24 hours if the request is made by e-mail, and that the traveler must go to the meeting point at least 30 minutes before the departure of the train.
As far as ports are concerned, are there any particular indications?
The relevant legislation is the European Regulation n.1177 / 2010. To request assistance on the ground and on board, it is good to contact both the naval partner and the port, who in turn will coordinate the services on the ground and on board. In particular, for ships and ferries it is most appropriate to ascertain the level of accessibility of the ship as a whole, of the cabins and services.
In your experience, what should be done to improve the ability of tour operators to meet the needs of travelers with disabilities?
In these cases the answer is always the training, an efficient management of the issues related to transportation and booking of travel requires the knowledge of the basic legislation, needs and possible solutions most appropriate to the various types of disability, during the trip. In this sense it would be important for tour operators to follow specific training courses and to do so, as suggested by the aforementioned regulations, can avail themselves of the collaboration of ANGLAT or alternatively, other trade associations of equal relevance, representativeness and competence .