How many barrier-free Swiss Youth Hostels are there?
Today, 32 out of the total amount of 51 Swiss Youth Hostels are barrier-free. 24 of these are suitable for disabled persons and 8 are partially suitable. Whereas the “suitable” hostels can meet the requirements for disabled access in all areas, including the arrival route, the entry and the wet cells, the partially suitable hostels present individual limitations, about which information is provided on a case-by-case basis (for example dimensions for ease of access not always achieved etc.).
Are all rooms in Swiss Youth Hostels barrier-free?
The Swiss Youth Hostels offer barrier-free beds in a range of rooms from 2-bed rooms with their own shower/WC to multi-bed rooms. With the barrier-free beds, care has also been taken to ensure the widest possible room offering, and in turn a broad price mix. Not all rooms are necessarily barrier-free however. Obviously, the upper level of bunk beds is not barrier-free.
Who are the Swiss Youth Hostels addressing with their barrier-free offering?
The Swiss Youth Hostels see it as part of their mission in social tourism to permit accessibility to everyone without exception. Their facilities and services have to benefit all guests, in particular also people with a physical or mental disability or with hearing, vision or speech impairment, who are able to travel alone or with an accompanying persons.
How can disabled people make bookings?
Essentially, disabled people book just like any other guest. Up to now, the emphasis was on telephone booking, enabling the special needs to be clarified precisely in advance. It is also possible for disabled persons to book their special requirements such as a barrier-free room directly online.
Does the principle “Disabled people first” apply to the booking of barrier-free rooms?
Equal treatment of all guests is a fundamental principle for the Swiss Youth Hostels; no preference is given, not even to people with disabilities. However, it is all the more important for the Swiss Youth Hostels to satisfy the specific needs of people with disabilities for information, booking facilities etc. and to train the staff accordingly.
What information is provided by the Swiss Youth Hostels for people with disabilities?
The Swiss Youth Hostels provide specific information on how to get to the hostel, on facilities and technical information such as door widths, lift sizes etc. as well as suggestions for excursions in the region. People with disabilities have individual limitations when travelling. It is therefore important for them to check before departure, if facilities are sufficiently barrier-free to meet their personal needs.
Are the barrier-free Swiss Youth Hostels entirely suitable for the visually impaired?
Travellers with guide and therapy dogs are welcome in all Swiss Youth Hostels. Our many building measures also help to make life easier for visually-impaired persons during their stay with us.
Why does the Swiss Youth Hostels website not have a barrier-free certification?
We cannot fulfil all of the requirements specified in the certification. For example, links to tourist partners and PDF documents provided by the hostels (daily menu) are not always readable in a barrier-free way. In general, however, we strive to adhere to AAA certification requirements, and deviate only in those cases that constitute a major challenge, either financially or in terms of the effort involved.
Does the Swiss Youth Hostels staff receive training?
Yes, regularly. Courses to increase awareness for the needs of disabled people are offered repeatedly as part of the internal training programme.
Are disabled people also involved to the joint project between the Swiss Youth Hostels and the Denk an mich Foundation?
The Swiss Youth Hostels employ a certain number of persons with disabilities in their organization. However, the focus of this specific project is not on creating jobs for the disabled, but on the providing a barrier-free tourist offer. In this respect, the experiences of directly affected persons are especially important. Mrs. Ursula Schwaller - architect and Board Member of the Denk an mich Foundation – is a wheelchair user and supports and supervises the project in the Denk an mich foundation steering committee. In addition, the Schweizerische Fachstelle für behindertengerechtes Bauen (a specialist organization for barrier-free construction), represented by Joe Manser and Beni Rüdisüli, is also a partner of the project together with the Federal Bureau for the Equality of People with Disabilities (FBED). Both gentlemen are wheelchair users and support the project both technically and by personal experience.