Barrier Free Tourism in Tenerife – or is it?

Having several friends who have limited mobility, I am proud of what Tenerife has to offer. Not just through the council’s Barrier Free Guide but by the practical step they have taken in providing ramps along the seafront in the southern resorts. Looking through the eyes of the able bodied they look perfect, but is what I see also acceptable to a person in a mobility scooter or wheelchair. Are these areas really accessible to everyone?

The seafront Los Cristianos

I mentioned this to a friend who uses a wheelchair and we spent some time discussing the good, the bad and the ugly and the outcome was interesting.

She has never had the nerve to use the ramp above. Apart from it looking like a ski slope and just as slippery, it has bumps in the middle. I can only imagine that the force of gravity would scoot a wheelchair, let alone someone pushing, to the bottom quicker than a downhill racer. Add to that the slope is approximately 2′ 4″ wide, and the average wheelchair is 2′ 2″ wide. Obviously these were not designed for women because we all know women are terrible drivers!  Joking aside this sort of ramp was originally for the delivery of goods but at one time was the only access available for the disabled.

Despite the last ramp in the images above needing some new tiles it seemed OK to me. However, when pushing a wheelchair, it was easy to miss the kerb, and the person pushing could end up in the wheelchair users lap! Then there are the areas that to my untrained eye look perfect with long ramps, lifts and escalators, yet even here, all is not quite as it seems. In one shopping centre, the sign by the escalator says no pushchairs, does that mean wheelchairs too?

Of course, it is not all bad news; the beautiful Las Vistas beach allows the disabled visitor a chance to enjoy the beach with its easy access ramps, good boardwalks, adapted changing rooms as well as wheelchairs with huge ‘beach-ball’ type wheels for getting people down to the sea and hoists to help them in and out of the water. The seafront from Los Cristianos to almost Puerto Colon is relatively flat for several miles and exactly what is called for as can be judged by the amount of mobility traffic that passes by each day. The old established shops are often hard to get into for the disabled but the new shopping centres have thought things through and these really are ‘accessible to all’

So whilst I have been made aware that Tenerife may not be perfect it is one of the better holiday destinations when it comes to accommodating disabled people. As I mentioned recently on my other Tenerife blog  ” Tenerife is the second most visited destination, after Florida, for people with reduced mobility, with thousands of visitors every year” …..

(Photos of Las Vistas facilities courtesy of Turismo de Tenerife)
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6 Responses to Barrier Free Tourism in Tenerife – or is it?

  1. ceejayblue says:

    Problem is most people who design things for the disabled like ramps etc aren’t disabled themselves and have no real idea of what its like. x

  2. Kate Gittens says:

    You made some nice points there. I think most individuals will agree with what you have said.

  3. Juan Cortez says:

    i like it

  4. Sue says:

    Barrier free – the term is used primarily in non-English speaking countries (e.g. German: Barrierefreiheit; Finnish: Esteettömän rakentamisen), while in English-speaking countries, terms such as “accessibility” and “handicapped accessible” dominate everyday use. An example of barrier-free design would be installing a ramp for wheelchairs alongside or in place of steps.

  5. Val says:

    Was alerted to your blog thru Google and really enjoy it.

  6. sam says:

    This has to be one of the best articles I’ve read on this subject so far. You are obviously intelligent, but you really know how to speak to readers. Overall, I agree with your information.

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