“It simply came to our notice then. As soon as I see the summer holidays approaching, I wonder what I can do for two months, ”explains Flore, 26, a French teacher at the university and visually impaired. For her, as for the 2 million visually impaired in France, it is not a formality to take leave, but a hassle.
From the preparation of the journey begins the obstacle course. According to a study conducted by the French Association of Guide Dogs for the Blind (FFAC), revealed by 20 minutes, 70% of visually impaired people have difficulty booking a ticket, hotel or staying online because 90% of the pages are still unavailable. “The websites are poorly designed and the text-to-speech software reads the information in disarray, making the information incomprehensible. Many of them also ask to validate the order of Captcha. Which is not possible for a blind person,” notes Alexandra Blanchin, general manager of FFAC. “Sometimes the voice synthesis is triggered in English. Or the sites are crammed with images that the software describes each time. Every summer I spend whole days browsing these pages,” Flore also emphasizes. telephone assistance, but it is not systematic at all.
“Too many tourist places still deny guide dogs”
While some only need to put their finger on a map to decide where they want to travel, 70% of visually impaired people say they are limited in their choice of destination due to lack of accessibility to certain places. “Too many tourist sites still refuse guide dogs. This is not the case in holiday homes or hotels, but in cabins or rental apartments. We often have to call the owners to reassure them and convince them to welcome the visually impaired and their dog. “” When I manage to book, customers are not always satisfied: “I had booked an Airbnb in Cabourg. And on the spot we had to redo the cleaning, because the rubbish bin was full and the dirty towels from the previous tenants was still there, ”says Flore.
Of course, there are organizations that offer group tours designed specifically for the visually impaired. “But very often, people suffering from a disability do not want to leave with people who face the same difficulties as them,” notes Alexandra Blanchin. This is confirmed by Flore: “I have already started with this type of structure. And each time, I was the youngest and surrounded by retirees. Talking about osteoarthritis problems and playing bridge is not really my thing, ”she says.
One in two visually impaired people has already given up
For those who manage to leave once they are at the resort, there sometimes remain difficulties in terms of mobility. In fact, 63% of respondents believe that they can not move easily, as transport and public roads are not adapted to their disability. Example: “While the law specifies that taxi and VTC drivers must take care of the visually impaired, many reject it when accompanied by a guide dog,” notes Alexandra Blanchin. Access to leisure is also limited: it is difficult to engage in physical activity (swimming, hiking, horseback riding) or cultural activity (museums, visits to monuments). “Shopping or engaging in a sporting activity is not easy for a visually impaired person if they are not accompanied,” Alexandra Blanchin emphasizes.
An opinion that Flore shares: “Every summer it’s Indiana Jones. You have to systematically check that I can carry out the activities without endangering myself. And I notice that some museums do not have audio guides or a guide at all. In the restaurant the menu is still often in paper format, and it is not uncommon for the toilets to be located at the end of a staircase.This sum of obstacles is such that some decide not to travel.So one in two visually impaired has thus already given up Flore, she was only able to take a week’s vacation this summer: “I’m going to a friend’s house on Ile d’Yeu. It’s not much over two months’ holiday, ”she regrets.