I once met a man named Jason, while standing at the bayfront cruise ship berth on my lunch break. We forged a conversation, searing social criticism, island styles, ironic humor, and good food (though not necessarily in that order).
When our conversion ended, I watched Jason on his on wheelchair trying to navigate the uneven cobbled streets and narrow sidewalks of my hometown of Roseau, Dominica, and I began to think about the accessibility of travel for people with disabilities. Being a disabled traveler involves challenges many others donâ€™t have to face. But is movement getting easier or harder for disabled travelers to move around?
Increasingly, it is becoming easier for people with disabilities to travel, but when you look at most of the tourist sites and facilities in Dominica very few of them are accessible by disable tourists. Though I understand the number of disable tourist is very small, but if Dominica markets its self as one of the Caribbean destinations that welcomes disabilities travelers, they will come.
Many ships now have signs posted in Braille and in December, 2007 Royal Caribbean realized just how much of a boon disabled travelers can be for business when more than 3,800 deaf and hard of hearing passengers set sail together on a cruise that was specifically designed to meet their needs.
But for those adventure travelers with disabilities, who arenâ€™t willing to wait for the tourism industry to adapt to their needs, the world is waiting for you and here is an open invitation to come visit Dominica. Most Dominicans are friendly and helpful.
What are we supposed to do, pave the path to the boiling lake? And who will pay to fix the streets in Roseau and the villages? And there is nothing that one can do about scenery for the blind, other than to describe it for them. We can do what is reasonable and affordable, and we can show empathy, but that is all.
I was not speaking particularly about the boiling lake but there are many other sites around Dominica that could be made accessible for people with disabilities. And I never mention anything about fixing the streets. Also blindness is not the only type of disabilities. Itâ€™s fortunate we both can enjoy everything beautiful about Dominica.