Understanding the opportunity for Australia in Accessible Tourism


Overview

In the first piece of new research into the Australian domestic Accessible Tourism market in nearly 10 years, MyTravelResearch were commissioned to do both a qualitative and qualitative study with the aim of determining the current value of the market, the latent demand and the key barriers preventing travel for people with a disability.

The research has placed a total value of the domestic market at $8 billion, when added to the estimated inbound market for accessible tourism of $2.8 billion (not part of the research) the contribution of Accessible Tourism to the Australian Visitor Economy is $10.8 billion. That is greater than the $9.1 billion spend by Chinese tourists inbound to Australia.

Image from Travability Images

 

Research Report Executive Summary

Introduction

Tourism Research Australia, in partnership with Tourism, Events and Visitor Economy branch of the Victorian Government, and Tourism and Events Queensland, commissioned a study into accessible tourism in Victoria, Queensland and Australia. The research was conducted between April and August 2017. This document is a summary of the research undertaken by MyTravelResearch.com. If you require more detail on the methodology and sources used, please contact tourism.research@tra.gov.au for the full research report. 

With an estimated 20% of Australian adults having a disability or long-term health condition, and an ageing population, the disability sector is set to grow. By 2050, it is estimated that nearly one-quarter of the population will be aged 65 or over. In 2015, five million people had long-term health conditions in Australia and this is also predicted to grow. Although the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers suggests that people over 54 are healthier than previous generational cohorts, the overall growth in the ageing population in both volume and longer life expectancy is expected to lead to greater numbers of travellers who may need extra assistance. 

This report provides an understanding of the current situation and potential of Australia’s domestic tourism market for accessible travel, including the: 

  • current size and future potential of the market for accessible tourism, especially for Victoria and Queensland
  • drivers of, and barriers to, accessible tourism
  • needs of travellers with a disability and those who travel with them
  • experience delivered – including during the planning phase – both as a measure of satisfaction, and to identify new areas for experience and product development or supporting infrastructure
  • most effective communication channels to reach this audience including the role of advocacy in travel for this segment
  • best ways to support businesses to become (more) accessible
  • opportunities to grow the market.
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The study used the following definition for ‘disability’: 

An on-going condition, requiring special care, that substantially inhibits a person’s ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions unless they have aids or support. 

This would include a condition which is permanent but may vary in intensity (e.g. multiple sclerosis) or a long-term temporary disability (lasting more than 6 months). 

A person with a disability might face special needs when travelling, in accommodation, and in using other tourism services. 

 

Value and size of the sector 

There is a sizeable, growing and diverse range of travellers with accessible needs. For simplicity in this report they are referred to as a sector. For simplicity, in this report they are referred to as a sector. Eighty-four per cent of travellers with a disability or their carers have taken an overnight trip as defined in Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitor Survey (NVS), that is, an overnight trip least 40 kilometres from home. Around one-quarter have also taken overnight trips closer to home. Approximately three-quarters of those with a disability travel, with more people stating they would like to if the products or technologies existed to enable/support their travel. The following estimates are based on the domestic market only, therefore do not include estimates of international travellers and spend. 

Australia

An estimate of the size of the current accessible tourism sector for overnight and/or day trip travel is around 1.3 million individuals, or 7% of the total Australian adult population. However, as many people with a disability travel with others, especially when they need to travel with a carer, a multiplier of 2.45 (overnight) or 2.62 (day trips) needs to be applied. By this measure, 14% of the Australian population (an estimated 3.4 million people) has need of accessible tourism experiences and services for an overnight and/or day trip. 

An estimate of annual expenditure by tourists with a disability (both overnight and day) based on NVS data would be around $3.2 billion annually (of which $2.7 billion is overnight spend and $546 million is day trip spend). Again, the multiplier of those travelling with a person with a disability means the true value of the sector could be as high as $8.0 billion. 

 

Victoria 

Travellers with a disability who had taken at least one domestic trip (overnight and/or day trip) represented 7% (349,000) of the Victorian adult population. 

When considering the average travel party size was 2.24 for a Victorian resident with a disability (including adults caring for a child with a disability), this represented 12% (784,000) of Victoria’s total population. 

Estimated spend for travellers with a disability was $680.1 million (approximately 4% of total domestic spend in Victoria), of which 80% was overnight spend. 

Estimated spend for the travel party (including the person with a disability) was $1.7 billion (approximately 10% of total domestic spend in Victoria), of which 79% was overnight spend. 

 

Queensland 

Travellers with a disability who had taken at least one domestic trip (overnight and/or day trip) represented 8% (289,000) of the Queensland adult population. 

When considering an average travel party size was 2.28 for a Queensland resident with a disability (including adults caring for a child with a disability), this represented 13% (657,000) of Queensland’s total population. 

Estimated spend for travellers with a disability was $781.0 million (approximately 4% of total domestic spend in Queensland), of which 84% was overnight spend. 

Estimated spend for the travel party (including the person with a disability) was $1.9 billion (approximately 10% of total domestic spend in Queensland), 84% of which was overnight spend. 

There are a number of Australians with a disability (including adults caring for a child with a disability) who are not currently travelling, but who would likely travel with certain industry improvements (in accommodation, transport, current technologies). The potential of this sector is approximately $735 million (an additional 1% in spend). When travel party is factored in, this comes to $1.8 billion, or an additional 2% in spend for the travel party (including the person with a disability). 

Although people with a disability generally have lower incomes than the average for the population as a whole, not all need to be considered as low income. More than one-quarter of those who identified as having a disability were in the top two income categories (disposable income above $900 per week).

 

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Understanding the accessible tourism market 

The research highlighted that the profile of travellers with a disability is diverse: 

Many people with a disability may face multiple challenges with a high overlap between mental, cognitive and physical conditions. For example, 24% of people with a mobility issue requiring a wheelchair or scooter also had difficulty with memory, learning or understanding, while 13% had difficulty hearing. 

Conditions range from requiring very high levels of support to ‘hidden disabilities’ that require support in less obvious ways. 

Mobility issues were the most common type of disability identified in this study, with 55% reporting difficulty with mobility in some way. 

 

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There is substantial opportunity to better utilise existing assets to meet the needs of those with mobility issues (e.g. hotel rooms could have more categories beyond the standard ’fully accessible’). Within this diverse sector, there are also many opportunities to meet the needs of specific groups. For example, Wi-Fi is vital to those travelling with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to an even greater extent than for most travellers, as interacting with phones and tablets is an important tool to help manage a changing in environment, using entertainment. 

Short (single night trips or day trips) and/or local trips (within 40 kilometres of home) are major growth opportunities, potentially because it’s easier to get there, less planning is required, and/or more is known about the area (and therefore less information searching is needed). This could also be an opportunity for those who find travel ‘so stressful it’s not worth it’ or ‘just too hard’ (23% and 22% respectively). 

Intrastate travel forms a significant part of the accessible tourism market and provides a cost effective local option that might be easier to navigate, given the level of organisation that some disabilities require prior to a trip. 

Day trips to iconic locations close to home would be particularly engaging for those with very high support needs. 

In common with Australians in the general population, most travel by people with disabilities and their carers is for leisure (travel for holiday, and to visit friends and relatives (VFR) combined), with holiday being the largest motivator. However, VFR is also important and VFR hosts are a key conduit for information about what to do in the destination. 

Importantly, respondents noted that knowing the layout of the VFR accommodation helped with planning the travel, and resulted in a less stressful trip. This highlights that accommodation providers could be offering more information on their website that shows layout and helps the traveller determine if this is suitable for them and/or the best accommodation options for their needs. 

 

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Travellers with a disability share many characteristics with the broader traveller population: 

Many of the key tools they used in the travel decision-making were the same. Internet search was the number one tool used by travellers with and without a disability when purchasing travel services, with word-of-mouth second. Building trust and reputation in this sector could use the same approaches, if not exactly the same content, as any other sector. 

Reconnection and unwinding are core needs for all Australian travellers, and this was just as true for travellers with a disability. Approximately 40% of travellers with a disability sought to meet those needs through either more active, or more emotionally and/or intellectually stimulating experiences. 

Although travellers with a disability did slightly fewer activities, many of the experiences they participated in matched those of the broader traveller population: eating out, visits to the beach, and nature and cultural experiences. 

Overall, they tended to stay in the same types of accommodation and visit the same destinations as the broader population. 

 

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Specific needs of the market

Despite the similarities to the general population, there were some important differences and specific needs. Travellers with disabilities had a strong tendency to manage the stresses and uncertainties of travel by returning to destinations they knew well. Consequently, they appeared to have a higher incidence of repeat visitation and were loyal customers. 

Information 

Travellers with a disability need more support in planning their experiences if they are to travel as much as they wish to, and for it to be an enjoyable experience, rather than a stressful one. Overall, more detail in the information that is currently provided was the highest priority for travellers with a disability, particularly for those with limited mobility. While this primarily related to digital sources such as websites and review sites, it could also refer to information anywhere travellers look including in destination (e.g. on tours). 

They need information that is: 

related to their disability 

easy to find and absorb - this specifically relates to accessible tourism information which is often not prominently displayed an is often very complex 

well structured 

relatable – when choosing accommodation, attractions or experiences, including a range of images that covers a breadth of disabilities would help the potential traveller feel they were choosing an option that they can be a part of. 

 

Specifically: 

18% of respondents said that they thought information provision was the number one priority to drive accessible tourism – the highest number of overall mentions 

41% wanted information contained on review sites like TripAdvisor that were relevant to travellers with specific needs 

36% said that it would be great to have accreditation that shows businesses that have made the commitment to accessible travel 

23% wanted specialised review sites for their needs 

19% would like case studies that ‘encourage’ them by showing what is possible. 

In addition, priorities for improvement included: 

more practical information (e.g. location of toilets), with 86% rating this as important 

more prominent information on tourism and transport websites (83% for both). 

Planning 

Forty per cent of respondents stated that ‘not knowing what to expect’ was a barrier to travel, highlighting the benefit of more and/or more detailed information being available for trip planning. 

They need more expert advice at the planning stage if they are to convert to visitation. Disability forums, peak bodies for their disability, specialist travel agents and even National Disability Insurance Scheme co-ordinators are all used at the active planning stage. 

There was a preference for personal contact to answer specific queries (although this could increasingly be handled via BOTs – computer programs designed to stimulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet). Specifically, the research highlighted a strong preference to connect with a business or destination personally, either by phone or email. 

Traditional travel agents with a strong service ethic could also be important in driving conversion, particularly for older travellers and those who have lower support needs. Many clients had low expectations, so this advice could expand their interest and create demand for new products. Travellers with a disability find it hard to be inspired when they don’t know what is possible. 

Service 

There were still many challenges with regard to the attitudes and understanding from both tourism and hospitality staff and those of the public towards travellers with a disability. This was especially a challenge for younger travellers with a disability, and for those with ‘hidden disabilities’ who required support in less obvious ways. Conversely, quality of service by staff was a key driver for recommendation across all travel categories. 

Cost was very important for many travellers with a disability, as many need to travel with a carer which makes costs higher. Assistance with these costs (including potentially via the National Disability Insurance Scheme) or via special deals for those with a carer, would assist with removing barriers to more travel. 

 

Facilities and transport 

Respondents rated some of the following priorities for improvement as important9: 

Figure 4: Top 10 priorities by improvements 

 

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Growing and enhancing the market

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Building on the opportunity for accessible tourism is a multi-faceted task, categorised below by stage. All key stakeholders have a role to play in the process: 

 Consult – this should be the foundation of driving accessible  tourism. It should ensure that what is offered is built on a rich  understanding of what travellers with disabilities want and  need. This is a responsibility for all parties, but government and  destination management offices can take a lead, as they have  the resources and skills to undertake projects or guide others. 

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Inspire and educate - ensure that the industry has an  understanding of the potential of this sector and is  provided support on how to start targeting it.  Government, destinations and peak bodies should all  have a role in driving this. Further, many travellers with a  disability have low expectations of what is available, while their aspiration  for travel is high. The task here is to encourage them to explore and test  their boundaries. Peak bodies and service providers can play a strong role here, as can individual operators. 

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Collate – bringing the experiences together to provide a holistic offering in  some key destinations will help the traveller plan and navigate their trip.  Government, peak bodies in both the tourism and disability sectors, and  service providers can all potentially play a role to help identify new areas of  experience and product development or supporting infrastructure.  Governments can work with the sector in a number of ways, including improving accessibility standards in the industry and developing infrastructure that considers the complete user experience. 

Promote – many travellers are not aware of what is on offer, therefore promoting what is available to generate demand is important. The information needs to be easy to find, well-structured and provide the opportunity to delve further for planning and to build confidence in the experience/trip. This is the responsibility of individual businesses and destinations. 

Build – while not the highest priority for now, new infrastructure needs to be the subject of ongoing focus. Ensuring that any new infrastructure employs universal design principles will make widening this opportunity more cost effective in the future. This is a cross-industry responsibility. 

Methodology

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Image from Travability Images

 

This research is based on a combination of desk research, qualitative and quantitative research conducted between April and August 2017, and National Visitor Survey data (quarter and year ending March 2017, from Tourism Research Australia). The qualitative research covered both key stakeholders (including service providers, disability specialists, key destinations and airports) and consumers (face-to-face and online). In order to make the research as inclusive as possible, both people with a disability and carers were included. A small proportion of the study included non-travellers with a disability to understand whether a larger potential market existed beyond current travellers. The quantitative research covered n = 1,001 travellers with a disability, and n = 405 carers of travellers with a disability. 

Travability Pty Ltd, Tourism Events and Visitor Economy branch of the Victorian Government and Tourism and Events Queensland, provided expert advice on design, contacts, analysis and reporting. 

 

Download the full report

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Travability is Australia's premier consultant on Accessible Tourism

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

 

About TravAbility

TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester.

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:

  • Development of Access Statements
  • Product, service and program development
  • Development of 'Soft Infrastructure' policies and procedures
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Marketing Services and Toolkits
  • Access information kits
  • Industry Presentations and Conference Keynotes and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Property Audits and Universal Design planning
  • Self Audit Tools
  • National/State/Regional Park Guides and Trail Maps
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy development
  • Disability Action Plans
  • New Project planning and Development
  • Stock Imagery through Travability Images
  • Accommodation listings through TravAbility Properties
Contact

For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.

 

Contact Bill

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Grampians All-Abilities Trail Guide


Grampians National Park is a diverse landscape famed for its environmental biodiversity, rich Aboriginal cultural heritage and recreational opportunities. The park attracts visitors from all over Australia and the world, with a strong reputation for excellent bushwalking, waterfalls, spectacular lookouts, Aboriginal rock shelters and mountain peaks.

This guide contains a selection of 25 walking tracks in and around Grampians National Park that can be accessed by people with limited mobility. These tracks have been chosen to offer a wide range of experiences and challenges – everything from flat and easy short walks, to steep, adventurous and sometimes ambitious ascents. Each track has been scrutinised for its suitability, with the key objective to provide an accurate information resource for TrailRiders (all-terrain wheelchairs), conventional wheelchairs and children’s strollers.

In the spirit of Healthy Parks Healthy People, Parks Victoria hopes this guide will give people with limited mobility the confidence to access areas of the Grampians that were previously thought of as inaccessible.

 

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Airbnb is Making Travel More Accessible


Image: Airbnb

Airbnb introduces new features and partnerships to support travelers with disabilities.

Following from the announcement of the acquisition of Accomable, Airbnb are introducing new search criteria to aid in finding accessible accommodation. In addition they are introducing new guides and criteria to help hosts present information that will allow potential guests to determine if any particular accommodation is suitable to their needs. It is the first mainstream rollout of "Accessibility Guides" and recognises that the accessible tourism market is made up of a vast array of varying needs. This is an example of treating accessible tourism as a product and not just an access requirement.

The new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more. The features help hosts be descriptive about their home’s accessibility, and give guests the clear information they need to find the right home for them. We’ve already begun to roll out this new feature to allow guests to search based on accessibility criteria that is important to them on the web, and Apple iOS and Android will follow over the next few months.

Read Airbnb's full press release:

Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, and that includes travelers with disabilities. While we have rules that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and an Open Doors policy that helps ensure everyone can find a place to stay, it’s clear that we can do more to effectively serve people with disabilities. We’ve had insightful and humbling conversations with travelers and disability advocacy groups like the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and the California Council of the Blind (CCB) where we heard stories, gained perspective, and learned what we can do better. Today, we’re announcing some new features that will make our community more accessible and the acquisition of a new company that will help us accelerate our work. 

First, we are happy to announce that we have acquired Accomable and will be welcoming them into the Airbnb family. Accomable was founded in 2015, by Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley – two friends with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who have travelled all over the world. Frustrated by the difficulty of finding accessible places to stay and reliable information, Accomable was launched to make it easier for everyone to travel, regardless of disability.

The Accomable site will be wound down over the coming months and we will work to include Accomable’s listings in more than 60 countries on Airbnb. All of these listings have step-free access, high quality photos and detailed information on a whole range of accessibility adaptations. Perhaps more importantly, Srin and his team will be bringing their tremendous expertise and passion for inclusive travel to Airbnb. As part of the Airbnb team, Srin will lead our efforts to make travel accessible for everyone.

Srin and his team will be building on work that is underway to make the Airbnb experience better for everyone. Previously, travelers with disabilities could only search for homes that were labeled as “wheelchair accessible” when they were searching for an accessible place to stay. Guests weren’t getting the information they needed to find the right homes, nor the confidence that the home they selected would actually be accessible for them.

To help address this problem, we have been working on new “accessibility needs” checklists for hosts. While Srin and his team haven’t been involved in the development of these new tools, we’re confident that they will make our community more accessible for everyone and we’re going to work to make them even stronger in the future.

The new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more. The features help hosts be descriptive about their home’s accessibility, and give guests the clear information they need to find the right home for them. We’ve already begun to roll out this new feature to allow guests to search based on accessibility criteria that is important to them on the web, and Apple iOS and Android will follow over the next few months.

We want everyone to know a little more about how we created these filters and some of the other work we’ve already done to make Airbnb more accessible. You can read more about the work to craft these new tools here.

We’ve also worked diligently to make our website and app easy to use for everyone. We started by asking Level Access (formerly SSB Bart) to perform audits across our digital platforms (iOS, Android, Web). Those audits made clear that we have work to do, and while we’re nowhere near done, we have made progress. In the last year, we have:

Created a dedicated team of engineers and designers whose sole focus is to help ensure our community is accessible for everyone.

Improved the color contrast and added labels to icons on our site and app to make them easier to read.

Redesigned text. Some parts of our site included text on top of images. This text can be difficult to read, so we’ve taken steps to redesign those elements.

Established training seminars and regular educational initiatives to ensure all engineers and designers understand how to build products that everyone can use. 

Partnered with Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired to run research studies that will inform our future work on these topics.

All of these improvements are important, but they alone aren’t the solution: they are the start of an ongoing conversation and we’re committed to doing more. We’re looking forward to implementing quicker and easier ways for hosts to update their homes’ accessibility information, and hope to increase guests’ confidence that these homes will fit their needs. And we’ll continue to do all we can to ensure our platform and our community are open and accessible to everyone.

 

About TravAbility

TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester.

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:

  • Development of Access Statements
  • Product, service and program development
  • Development of 'Soft Infrastructure' policies and procedures
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Marketing Services and Toolkits
  • Access information kits
  • Industry Presentations and Conference Keynotes and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Property Audits and Universal Design planning
  • Self Audit Tools
  • National/State/Regional Park Guides and Trail Maps
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy development
  • Disability Action Plans
  • New Project planning and Development
  • Stock Imagery through PhotoAbility
  • Accommodation listings through TravAbility Properties
Contact

For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.

 

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Brisbane Airport breaking down barriers for travellers with disabilities


Brisbane Airport (BNE) is the first airport in Australia to open a dedicated ‘Changing Places’ facility for passengers with special needs.

Located on the central ground floor area of BNE’s busy Domestic Terminal (near Qantas Baggage carousel 3), the ‘Changing Places’ facility was officially opened this morning by The Hon. Jane Prentice Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services.

Plans for the opening of a second ‘Changing Places’ facility at Brisbane’s International Terminal in the new year are well underway.

Changing Places facilities are different from standard accessible bathroom amenities, providing additional space and specialised equipment such as an adult change table, hoist and toilet fitted with movable handrails for the use of people with severe disabilities and their personal carer providers.

Stephen Goodwin, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Acting CEO said the opening of ‘Changing Places’ facility at Brisbane Airport would support many thousands of people with disabilities and their families who find it otherwise difficult to travel due to a lack of access to specialised amenities.

“There are many people who live with serious and profound disabilities who require particular facilities for personal care and, unfortunately, standard accessible bathrooms do not cater to their needs. This can be a major barrier to travel for a lot of people and this was a barrier we wanted to remove.

“It’s not just catering for a specific disability, we are focused on an ‘access for all’ approach and have a team dedicated to ensuring we are not only meeting the regulations and legislation surrounding disability access, but exceeding them.

“This includes retrofitting existing buildings with facilities like we’re opening today and making sure all upgrades and new developments improve access and the overall airport experience for people with special needs.

“We also work very closely with many organisations representing the interests of various disability groups to make sure we get it right,” Mr Goodwin said.

The Hon. Jane Prentice MP congratulated BAC on their achievements to ensure social inclusion and accessibility.

“The ‘Changing Places’ facility is an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved when whole communities work together to address the challenges faced by people with disability every day,” Mrs Prentice said.

Eddie Chapman, CEO of the Association for Children with a Disability which supports Changing Places, said although the Changing Places facility is not yet a regulatory requirement, it will give Brisbane Airport a world renowned accessible facility for those travelling with or caring for someone with a severe disability.

“Brisbane Airport has led the way in terms of not only making the airport accessible for those with higher care needs, but by doing so also opens up the City of Brisbane to individuals and families with disabilities from other states. This is the sort of mainstream inclusion that we should expect of all our public facilities.”

To date Brisbane Airport has invested more than $3 million in the last five years implementing its extensive Disability Access Management Plan in addition to the funding for DDA compliance incorporated into other major projects.

Other key ‘Access for All’ initiatives underway or introduced at Brisbane Airport include:

Development of Brisbane Airport’s Accessibility Journey Planner which is due for release later this year

Completion of an Access Audit Program across both terminals by an accredited access consultant who provided recommendations.

Completion of a number of accessibility remediation projects including upgrading of public stairs, Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSI’s) to escalators and travelators, lift upgrades and way-finding.

In collaboration with QUT-based Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration: Carers and Consumers (DCRC-CC)developing a step by step guide - Ensuring a Smooth Journey: A Guide to Brisbane Airport for people living with Dementia and their Travel Companions – an action plan and resources kit for airport staff to improve the experience of air travel for people with dementia. Through this program Brisbane Airport was the first airport in Australia to be recognised by Alzheimer’s Australia as an approved Dementia Friendly organisation.

In 2014, opening Australia’s first dedicated airport Assistance Animals ‘bathrooms’ in the International and Domestic Terminals.

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Thailand launches nine new routes to promote universal accessibility and tourism for all


Image: Mrs. Somrak Kumputch, TAT Deputy Governor for Administration, presents the Tourism for All guidebook to Mr, Krisana Lalai, President of Friendly Design for All Foundation, a human rights worker and a famous journalist and TV host in Thailand

 

Bangkok, 18 September, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is launching new pilot routes in nine popular provinces to promote universal accessibility and ‘Tourism for All‘ concepts aimed at encouraging universal design catering to disabled travellers at facilities and tourism attractions across Thailand.

The initiative is a direct result of last year’s highly successful 36th World Tourism Day, which was held in Bangkok on 27 September, 2016, with a range of events under the banner of ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’. During the event a number of speakers emphasised that the concept begins with universal design infrastructure that allows individuals with disabilities access to key tourism destinations and attractions.

Mrs. Somrak Kumputch, TAT Deputy Governor for Administration said, “TAT recognises the importance of promoting equal access to Thailand’s many attractions, and we have always been a keen advocate of this concept over the past several years. The nine provinces selected have the necessary universally designed infrastructure to launch the promotion.”

The initial promotion targets Thai domestic travellers with disabilities and represents a concerted effort by key public sectors, the private sector, community networks and tourism stakeholders.

TAT has launched a dedicated Tourism For All website and published a 116-page Thai-language guidebook – with braille letters and a DVD – to help raise awareness and extend the range of universally accessible attractions around the Kingdom. The guidebook, available at TAT offices in the nine pilot provinces, can be downloaded or read online. Meanwhile, video clips of the nine routes, in Thai with English subtitles and Sign Language, are available on the website.

The pilot routes in nine provinces are Stylish Capital: Bangkok, Exotic Lanna: Chiang Mai, Nature & Art: Ratchaburi, Wonderful Town: Pattaya, Remaining Memories: Kanchanaburi, Andaman Pearl: Phuket, Northeast Spicy Isan: Khon Kaen, Precious Treasure: Ayutthaya, and Fertile Land: Nakhon Ratchasima.

During last year’s World Tourism Day in Bangkok the Thai government stated it would “transform Thailand into the hub of universal design in ASEAN” which would, in turn, help the country develop into an ideal ‘accessible tourism’ country while preserving its invaluable architecture and history. It also announced plans to launch the pilot route project while concentrating on upgrading existing facilities.

This year’s World Tourism Day event is again scheduled on 27 September and celebrates the 37th consecutive session since its launch in 1980. It is a World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) initiative dedicated to promoting accessible, sustainable and responsible tourism.

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Travel Guides Series 2


Channel Nine is currently working on series 2 two of their TV show Travel Guides. They are looking for everyday people in groups of 2-4 to take part in series two of the show, experiencing free holidays with no catch.

In a fantastic move, they are looking to highlight Accessible Travel and are looking for people with a disability to take part in the show. They are looking for groups of two to four, It may be a couple, family, or friends who are prepared to travel together, where one of more of the group have a disability.

No previous travel experience is required. If you meet the eligibility requirements below follow the link to apply.

This is a great opportunity to change the perceptions of people with a disability on a national TV platform. 

 

  • At least one member of your group must be aged 21 or over.
  • You must be able to travel between August and November 2017.
  • You must upload a video for your application.
  • All members of your group must appear together in the video.
  • All applicants must be Australian citizens or have been a permanent resident of Australia for at least two years.
  • Applications close June 4th at midnight ESDT.
Apply now

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Dubai to Cambodia


A great new video from master film maker Mitch St Pierre.

Both Dubai and Cambodia are unique and accessible destinations.

 

Contact us for details

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New business champions to support rights of disabled consumers


The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health has announced 11 new disability sector champions.

London 21st February, 2017

Eleven new sector champions, who will help to tackle the issues disabled people face as consumers, have been announced by England's Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health today.

The champions, who represent a range of different sectors and businesses, from gaming to retail, will use their influential status as leaders in their industries to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people.

Accessible Tourism features strongly with the appointment of Chris Veitch, a well respected world authority on Accessible Tourism.

There are currently more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households - ‘the purple pound’ - is almost £250 billion. But many businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by having everyday products and services which aren’t available to disabled people – who, as a result, are regularly excluded from experiences and opportunities that many others take for granted.

The sector champions will amplify the voices of disabled customers and employees within their own industries, increasing accountability and challenging inequality. They will also be able to highlight specific changes and improvements that will make a difference to the millions of people who often miss out.

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

As a public advocate for accessibility, these champions will help businesses realise the value of disabled consumers and the importance of catering to every customer’s needs.

These industries must become fully inclusive. Not being able to access the high street, products and services, transport or simply to access a loo jars with our national values: it must change.

The new sector champions will drive improvements to the accessibility and quality of services and facilities in their sector, helping to showcase best practice and show other businesses the merit of making disabled customers a priority.

 

  • Helen Drury, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Intu (retail)
  • Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything (music)
  • Huw Edwards, Public Affairs Director at UKActive (leisure)
  • Chris Veitch, Co-founder of Access New Business (tourism)
  • Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels (hotels)
  • Dan Brooke, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Channel 4 (media)
  • Sam Phillips, CMO at Omnicom Media Group (advertising)
  • Michael Connolly, Regional Training and Standards Manager at OCS ltd (transport - airports)
  • Jane Cole, Managing Director at Blackpool Transport Services (transport - buses)
  • Trudie Hills, Disability Manager, Lloyds Bank (banking)
  • Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of UKIE (gaming)

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Mt Martha Beach Matting Trial


On Saturday the 26th of November the new accessible beach matting was laid out at the Mt Martha lifesaving club and the beach officially opened.  Mt Martha is situated on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, which is the summer aquatic playground for the city. This is the first beach on the Mornington Peninsula and only the third in the City, to offer accessible beach facilities for people with a disability including full accessible change facilities and now beach matting to the waters edge.

In addition to the matting and change room there are three types of beach wheelchair available from the lifesaving club, including a self propelled chair and a a fully floating one.

Mt Martha is a relatively sheltered beach and safe for people with a disability to get back into the water including young children. In front of the club house is a large concrete hard stand with shade.

The matting will be rolled out from now until April 26 next year.

Hours: Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.

The matting has been made possible by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Mt Martha Lifesaving Club and the Mornington Peninsula Disabled Surfers Association.

Mt Martha is an hour from the CBD of Melbourne so get down there and take advantage of this new facility. Th more support it gets, the more likely it will be that other beaches on the Peninsula will be made available.

The other two accessible beaches in Melbourne are located at Williamstown and Altona.

 

Cutting the ribbon

 

Matting to the water's edge

 

Beach matting

 

A cake fit for the occasion 

 

Change room

 

Testing the matting

 

At the water's edge

 

Enjoying the day

 

Councilor Antonella Celi cutting the cake

 

Images for use in editorials or blogs are availably from Photoability's news feed.

 

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Visitors with a disability should not be seen as “risk management” but as valued customers,


Image: Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Disabled visitors to Scotland should not be seen as “risk management” but as valued customers, according to the national tourism organisation.

Chris McCoy, Equality and Diversity Manager at VisitScotland, addressed delegates at the Rehabilitation International (RI) World Congress in Edinburgh on October 27, to highlight the importance of Scotland’s £1.3 billion accessible tourism market.

VisitScotland’s Accessible Tourism Programme aims to harness the growing, high-value accessible tourism market, and for Scotland to become internationally recognised as a leading destination for people with access needs.

Chris McCoy said: 

“Legislation in the UK has empowered disabled people, making it illegal for service providers to discriminate on the grounds of disability, but it has not enabled them. VisitScotland believes access is enshrined only as a compliance issue, not a market issue. Disabled people still have difficulty finding businesses to cater for their access requirements, and provide adequate information to help make informed choices.

“Disabled people are seen as “risk management”, requiring expensive adjustments, but not as valued customers, requiring new and innovative customer service.” 

Chris says that disabled people still have difficulty finding tourism businesses to cater for their access requirements, and to provide adequate information to help them to make informed choices.

She added: 

“Disabled people don’t want special products, they want to be part of the mainstream. They are seen by some as ‘risk management’, requiring expensive adjustments, but not as valued customers, requiring new and innovative customer service. 

“Changes have to be transformational and our aim is to move the mindset of the industry and the driver for accessible tourism from compliance into the competitive marketplace.”

Hosted by disability employment charity Shaw Trust Scotland, the RI Congress at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is seeking to influence disability and inclusion policy at a global level and is being attended by more 1,000 people from over 60 countries.

For more information about VisitScotland’s Accessible Tourism Programme, go to www.visitscotland.org

 

About TravAbility

TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester.

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:

  • Development of Access Statements
  • Product, service and program development
  • Development of 'Soft Infrastructure' policies and procedures
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Marketing Services and Toolkits
  • Access information kits
  • Industry Presentations and Conference Keynotes and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Property Audits and Universal Design planning
  • Self Audit Tools
  • National/State/Regional Park Guides and Trail Maps
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy development
  • Disability Action Plans
  • New Project planning and Development
  • Stock Imagery through PhotoAbility
  • Accommodation listings through TravAbility Properties
Contact

For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.

 

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