When Travel Juneau staff answers the inquiry line, we usually get a fairly short conversation with a visitor requesting a guide – easy-peasy. Every so often, however, we get a caller with a lot of questions about Juneau.
A couple of weeks ago, I answered the inquiry line, and the woman calling had concerns about a family member she would be traveling with who has mobility issues.
Would he be able to take his walker or wheelchair on a whale watch? How do they accommodate that? Are all the boats completely open or is there a place where he can sit inside? How about the glacier?
As I answered each of her concerns and assured her that Juneau is overall very accessible, I thought about how the nature of the industry has changed to accommodate a visitor’s lack of mobility and other accessibility concerns.
When I was younger, I didn’t often see people in wheelchairs, and it was as if the people who needed them just stayed home. Did they travel? Get to do anything fun? I remember on some occasions assisting folks struggling to get a wheelchair-bound person up a set of stairs or into a narrow door – and seeing the frustration on their faces.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a game-changer for these individuals and their families. While I’m aware of the cost to business owners to accommodate for mobility and other handicap issues, I’m also aware that whole new worlds have opened for persons with disabilities.
No longer stuck at home, hindered by barriers, they have the option to take fuller advantage of work, travel, and all that life has to offer.
I was so happy to be able to put my caller at ease by telling her about accessibility in Juneau. Here’s to our industry partners who eliminate barriers to travel and make sure that all visitors can enjoy an excursion, visit a shop or museum, or see a stunning glacier.
Thank you for being a valued member of Travel Juneau.
President & CEO