A coalition of disability groups from across the country is calling for a boycott of some of the biggest names in the hotel industry in a bid to force all lodging to become more accessible.
More than 50 national and local organizations are urging travelers to stay away from hotels run by members of the boards of two leading industry groups — the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
Disability advocates blame the lodging industry associations for working to block enforcement of regulations that would force all hotel pools and spas to include lifts so that they are accessible.
The boycott targeting select locations of Radisson, Kimpton, Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn hotels in addition to several other national chains and independent properties is being spearheaded by the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Disability Rights Network, ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living.
The action comes after lobbying from the hotel industry led the U.S. Department of Justice to delay until Jan. 31 implementation of new Americans with Disabilities Act regulations requiring lifts at all public pools. The regulations were initially set to take effect in March.
“These industry groups are fighting tooth and nail to prevent Americans with disabilities from gaining access to their pools,” said Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, in a statement. “Twenty-two years after the passage of the (ADA), it’s disappointing to see the so-called ‘hospitality industry’ fight so hard to prevent its implementation. Now the disability community is fighting back.”
In addition to the current boycott plans, disability advocates are collecting a list of properties that are in compliance and are asking the public not to stay at hotels without pool lifts.
A representative of the American Hotel & Lodging Association told USA Today that the boycott is “unfortunate,” insisting that the group supports pool access for those with disabilities.