Close your eyes for a minute while walking or cycling just to know how it feels. Or playing games as a child where you were in the dark or blindfolded. But how does the world look like when it is dark all day? In fact, when it’s not even dark, but when there is just nothing.
My name is Emma Kok, I am a Tourism Management student at University Inholland Diemen. The last twenty weeks I have been working on my thesis with the title: ‘Always look at the blind side of life’. During these twenty weeks I have been doing research about and with visually impaired people. In my opinion everyone deserves the chance to see the world whether that is literal of figurative. Which is why I worked on creating a trip for people with a visual impairment commissioned by Accessible Travel Netherlands. I started my research by visiting MuZIEum in Nijmegen to experience what it is like to be blind, I have had interviews with several experts and potential clients internationally and I have hold a survey about the wishes and needs of people with a visual impairment to measure the opinions on this subject quantitatively.
During the research I have learned a lot about visually impaired people and have heard many wonderful travel stories and things that blew my mind. From climbing the Kilimanjaro to working in voluntary building projects, I have literally heard everything. One of the things that came out of my research was the fact that being blind or visually impaired does not affect the desire to travel. Almost all respondents agreed with the motto “You can not spell disability without ability”. Although many respondents indicated that they were practically independent they indicated that they would like to have a guide that is good at describing and knows a lot about the surroundings.
The trip will consist a for blind and visually impaired people accessible accommodation, a guide that will serve as an assistant, transport adapted where needed for visually impaired people and entertainment focused on the senses: touching, hearing, tasting and smelling. The product will be added to our offer in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!