Enable Holidays Launches Accessible Tour of India03 October 2013
Helen Dolphin, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Disabled Motoring UK, has visited India for the very first time on a trip organised by Enable Holidays.
To celebrate the launch of its Golden Triangle Tour, which will be available to book from January 2014, the disabled holidays specialist invited Helen (38) to travel around the country and blog about her experiences.
Helen contracted meningococcal septicaemia when she was 22 and had her hands and legs amputated. During the 11-day trip she visited Delhi, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Jaipur and Sikandra.
“My trip to India has been absolutely amazing,” said Helen. “The people could not have been friendlier or more helpful and it seems that India is one of the most accessible places I’ve ever visited – not just because they have ramps but because wherever I want to go there will be someone there ready to help.
“Visiting somewhere like India may seem a bit of a step into the unknown but I cannot recommend it enough.”
Enable Holidays was established in 2004 and was the first UK tour operator to be accredited for its competence in auditing the accessibility and grading the suitability of accommodation abroad for people with mobility impairments.
It has since become the UK’s leading accessible holiday specialist and offers a range of over 250 accessible hotels and apartments for disabled people with limited mobility, wheelchair-users and slow walkers as well as their families and friends.
Managing Director Lynne Kirby said there’s a growing demand for more exciting and adventurous destinations.
“As the UK’s leading tour operator of accessible overseas holidays we are constantly sourcing new opportunities to satisfy our customers’ desires for something different and captivating.
“We have been working in conjunction with the Indian Tourist Board on the Golden Triangle Tour which we’re delighted to be able to offer to our customers from January 2014. We’ve also assessed extreme activities in the Catalan and we will shortly be planning a Kenyan safari to check out its suitability for disabled tourists.”
To ensure the suitability of all the holidays offered by Enable Holidays each one is personally visited by a qualified in-house auditor who undertakes a unique 150-point check list.
Although Lynne personally assessed the Golden Triangle Tour she was keen for Helen, a leading campaigner for disabled people, to experience this extraordinary holiday for herself.
“Helen is a truly inspirational woman who, amongst other things, is a highly respected freelance journalist,” explained Lynne. “Despite having no hands and no legs she trained as a journalist with Anglia TV where she worked as a news reporter for seven years before joining Disabled Motoring UK.
“She also swims with East Anglian Swallow Tails and The City of Norwich Swimming Club five times a week and narrowly missed out on competing in the Paralympics.
“I was delighted when she accepted our invitation as I think reading her reports, which have been posted on the DMUK website, will reassure other disabled people who would like to travel further afield but up until now haven’t had the confidence to do so.”
Lynne arranged for Helen to fly to India with Virgin Atlantic while Travel World Experiences (TWX) provided all of the ground arrangements including transfers to and from the airport and sightseeing tours.
The airline’s Passenger Disability Adviser Geraldine Lundy, said: “We were delighted to help Lynne arrange this trip. We work with many individuals and organisations to enable all our customers with disabilities to travel as safely and comfortably as possible.
“We are so glad that Helen enjoyed her experience in India and hope it inspires many more disabled people to travel. Virgin Atlantic has a team of staff dedicated to looking after passengers with accessibility needs and we encourage anyone that needs help to contact us in advance of their flight so we can make their journey as easy and comfortable as possible.”
To read Helen’s reports from her trip to India please visit the Disabled Motoring UK website http://www.disabledmotoring.org