Paralympic Games: accessible rooms scarce in Rio
25 February 2016
Guest post by Srin Madipalli, founder of international accessible accommodation site Accomable.
As a major sports fan and avid watcher of the Olympics and Paralympics, I'm excited for this summer. The world's biggest carnival of sport will be taking place in the home of carnival — Rio de Janeiro.
But how easy will it be for disabled people travelling to Rio to find accommodation?
A lack of accessible accomodation
I'm one of the founders of Accomable, a platform to find accessible accommodation. Earlier this year we attempted to find suitable properties for disabled travellers in Rio.
With hotel rooms being in short supply and their prices heavily inflated during the games, sites such as Airbnb have been called upon to address the likely surge in need.
However, it remains very difficult to near impossible to find properties in Rio with decent accessibility on sites like Airbnb.
While many popular mainstream sites have ‘wheelchair accessible’ filters, the properties yielded often prove to be small and inaccessible on closer inspection.
Moreover, there is no easy way to find properties that have additional access features such as roll-in showers, grab rails or hoists.
We found it very difficult to find adapted properties. In the end could only find one suitable property!
What options are there?
Tourism offices and official bodies were unable to assist. And it appeared little work had been done to address this need.
Several members of our user community based in Rio admirably tried to assist, but again we drew a blank.
The only options for disabled travellers appeared to be major hotel chains, few of which either had availability or were affordably priced.
A light at the end of the tunnel
On a positive note, media attention given to accessibility challenges in Rio this year will surely galvanise the city to improve inclusivity.
The Paralympics will leave a legacy all disabled visitors to Rio should benefit from in the coming years.