FEG Ex.Co. Executive Officer
Tourist Guides we are required to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of toilet locations and their facilities. How many toilets can be found in a city centre? Are they clean? Can they accommodate a group of 50? Do they have paid entrance? Are they free? What times are they open? Are they accessible for disabled visitors? What level of accessibility do they have?
These are some of the questions a professional tourist guides should have at their fingertips. And it is not easy to always have the latest updates.
Public Toilet at Basel, Switzerland ©Wikimedia Commons
There is now a new app that can help professional tourist guides and disabled visitors alike. It was introduced by Disabled Accessible Travel, a leading European accessible travel agent based in the Netherlands.
The app is called accessaloo. The app helps users to find suitable accessible toilets on the go. Users can find their ideal accessible toilet by showing facilities and images for every toilet on the map. Ratings and reviews by other users help decide if the toilet meets their individual needs and requirements. t It also allows adding and sharing information on accessible toilets. After the visit users can update the toilet’s profile by adding new photos, rating it, reviewing it.
Managing Director of Disabled Accessible Travel, Mirjam Versteegh explains that the app offers the answers to returning questions she kept receiving from her clients. Most people travel as a way to relieve stress. However, “Not knowing where to find accessible toilets has a huge impact on the overall experience of our clients and travellers.” This essential need, the big differentiator, and potential deal breaker made her think. And so, Mirjam came up with the idea for 'accessaloo';.
Accessaloo app © www.accessaloo.com
Professional tourist guides can benefit from and use their experience to improve the app. Tourist guides have in depth knowledge of the facilities on offer in theirs areas and can use this knowledge to enhance the app. The app can also act as a reminder of existing facilities, it can be used as a resource.
Not only travellers can benefit from the application. Basically, it's useful for everyone with a disability who wants to go out. Whether they are going out for a drink or a meal, or sightseeing, Disabled Accessible Travel believes the focus should be on the joy of the experience. And, above all, the worries about being able to find an accessible toilet should no longer stand in the way.
"No disability is the same, and therefore personal needs differ,” says Mirjam Versteegh, creator of ‘accessaloo’. “There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to accessible toilets. Moreover, many proclaimed accessible toilets do not comply with the ADA guidelines or comparable bodies. Thus, we believe that images, ratings, and reviews by users, ultimately the experts, are the most valuable features of the app."
The app is supported by Pantou, the guide to accessible tourism services, helping to make tourism everywhere Accessible for All; and ENAT the European Network for Accessible Tourism.
Are you a Tourist Guide out there? Get started! Download ‘accessaloo’ on the App Store or get it on Google Play.