Founder of the Global Access Award Scheme, James Price, was born in the United Kingdom in 1978 and sustained a spinal injury in a diving accident in 1991 aged 21. The accident left the former chef, who at the time was training to join the fire rescue services, paralysed below the chest and some paralysis in the arms and hands (Quadriplegic).
Since becoming paralysed and wheelchair dependent James has battled through many other ailments of his injury which included a collapsed Trachea, 2 collapsed lungs and pneumonia, to compete at the highest levels in wheelchair sport. He managed to work his way through the ranks to compete in the wheelchair rugby world Championships in 2006 for Great Britain, still with a 50% closure of his trachea! Having had major tracheal resection surgery in 2013 to remove the 3cm's of blocked windpipe, In 2017 he represents Great Britain / British Athletics, his country once more, in the Paraworld Cup marathon during the London Marathon.
In and among his sporting ambitions James was and still is passionate about improving travel for persons with disabilities, having now been thrown into the world / nightmare of booking accessible accommodation. The lack of decent hotel information that existed back in 2000 when James first traveled post injury was huge, and in many cases now it still is incomprehensible to James that some hotels / booking agents just do not seem to appreciate or see the value in providing such information.
"At the end of the day it is one thing to say to a customer over the phone that they have an accessible room, but it is entirely another for a hotel to be able to explain the whole hotels accessibility. There still doesn't seem to be a grasp by the industry that disabled or ageing people want to be able to go everywhere and enjoy the whole facility, not just go to their accessible room and stay there..." James Price
James post injury, but being a chef in the English Riviera and well used to the tourism trade, went back to college to study tourism management and then to university in Cardiff to follow on his education in Tourism management. He also worked alongside Kuoni carrying out travel accessibility reports and developed the Global Access Award Scheme, originally designed to aid tour operators to display accessible information just as easily as a star rating.
As time and technology has evolved and holidays and hotels being booked more and more online, the GAAS ratings have now become a more simple accreditation process - simplicity but effectiveness are James's priority.
James speaking for the British Paralympic Association at St James Palace in 2007, in front of his Royal Highness Prince Edward, also pictured.
James also has been an expert commentator for wheelchair rugby at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, as well as guest pundit for athletics in London 2012. He also appeared for the BBC Holiday show - click the YouTube link to see one of his presenter outings in New Zealand in 2006.
James Price personal Twitter