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.

 

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Cutting the ribbon

 

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Matting to the water's edge

 

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Beach matting

 

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A cake fit for the occasion 

 

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Change room

 

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Testing the matting

 

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At the water's edge

 

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Enjoying the day

 

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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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World Tourism Day 2016: Tourism leaders commit to advance Universal Accessibility


UNWTO - 28 Sep 2016

About 500 delegates from 60 countries have convened in Bangkok, Thailand, to take part in the Official Celebrations of the World Tourism Day this year dedicated to the theme ‘Tourism for all: Promoting Universal Accessibility.’ Policy frameworks, capacity building, business strategies and awareness raising have been some of the areas tackled during the week of events that commenced on the 26th September with a ‘Tourism and the Media’ Session.

During two days participants from 60 countries exchanged best practices and experiences on accessible tourism and have committed to advance universal accessibility in all components of the tourism value chain to ensure all citizens enjoy the benefits of travel, whatever their abilities may be.

“As one billion people across the globe have some kind of disability, accessibility becomes and will continue to be a major concern for us all” said Gen. Prayut Chan-o-Cha, Prime Minister of Thailand who presided over the Official Celebrations on 27 September. “We need to create more accessibility, for all including the ageing groups. We need to provide better services for all. This is also part of our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals” he added.

 “We should not leave anyone behind. We believe we have to do more, understand better the needs of these groups. The World Tourism Day celebrations in Thailand have acted as a platform to sensitize us all about the importance of adapting the sector to the needs of all citizens and we should work in closer cooperation now to meet the demands of travelers worldwide” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.

“People with disabilities, aged citizens, families with children and many more find obstacles when they travel. As tourism is a human right, the sector should advance to ensure that all citizens enjoy seamless travel in an equal manner,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in his message.

“Products and services aiming to increase the accessibility of travel add value to destinations and constitute an immense opportunity for the business sector” emphasized David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

“All of us have somebody who finds difficulties when travelling: family members, friends and colleagues, so we all are affected and can benefit from accessible travel measures” emphasized Mario Hardy, CEO at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).  

A human right and a business opportunity

The first event of the week, the ‘Tourism and the Media’ workshop, held in cooperation with the  Chulalongkorn University, served as a platform to discuss the role of the media in supporting Accessible Tourism.

“Journalists, editors, photographers, documentary producers…can do a lot in sensitizing the general public about Accessibility and by pushing their respective governments towards the necessary regulatory frameworks towards Universal Design in the tourism sector,” explained Xu Jing, Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Together with the commitment of governments and the need to develop regulatory frameworks linked to accessibility-related measures, the World Tourism Day celebrations have served to emphasize the immense business opportunities that Universal Design can bring to the tourism sector.: “Sooner or later all of us will suffer circumstances that impede us moving freely and independently, so adapting Universal Accessibility principles will benefit us all” underlined Ivor Ambrose, Director of ENAT, the European Network of Accessible Tourism. He added that by 2050, as much as 22% of the world population will be over 60 years old and thus have specific access needs.

The first round table included the participation of the Secretary General of Thai Disabled Development Foundation, and former Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Weerasak Kowsurat, Monthien Boontan, Member of the Thai Senate and of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Dissabilites, Benito C. Bengzon, Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism in the Philippines, Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of the Cambodia, Mr. Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr. Guy Didier Hypollite, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries of Haiti and Mr. Dato Sri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia. Moderated by Andrew Steven, CNN anchor, the Session discussed the application of policy and regulatory frameworks aimed at achieving ‘Tourism for All.’

The second debate, moderated by Anita Mendiratta, CNN Task Group, Lead Consultant, addressed the relevance of innovative strategies to foster accessible tourism infrastructure, products and services to enhance destination competitiveness. A number of best practices were featured by speakers such as Martin Heng, Accessible Travel Manager at Lonely Planet, Natthadej Suyadej, from Wheelchair Holidays Thailand, Hideto Kijima, President at the Japan Accessible Tourism Center, Svend Leirvaag, VP Industry Affairs at Amadeus IT Group and Sergio Guerreiro, Knowledge Management and Corporate Affairs at Turismo de Portugal. 

Bangkok Declaration on Tourism for All 

On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2016 participants adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Tourism For All, a document resulting from a consultation process involving governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and accessibility experts.

The Declaration calls upon all stakeholders to advance policies and business actions that promote universal accessibility, including training, awareness raising as well as considering Universal Design in all new tourism infrastructure and services and while adapting existing ones.

The celebrations of World Tourism Day 2016 were held in collaboration with CNN, UNWTO media partner.

World Tourism Day 2017 will be held in Qatar as decides by the 21st UNWTO General Assembly held in 2015 and will address the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development’, in line with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Declaration

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, authorities of the Member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), representatives of the tourism sector, disabled people’s organizations and related civil society bodies, international organizations, and media outlets met in Bangkok, Thailand, on 26/27 September 2016 on the occasion of the World Tourism Day to celebrate the theme “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility”;

Recalling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which disability is referenced in Goals 4, 8, 10, 11 and 17 and in which tourism is included specifically in Goals 8, 12 and 14;

Considering the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006 as the global action framework in the sphere of universal accessibility, whose Article 30 recognizes the legitimate right of access to sports, cultural, leisure and tourism activities by persons with disabilities;

Whereas the mandate of the UNWTO is “the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”;

Inspired by the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999, and acknowledged by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001, whose Article 7 underlines that “...a direct and personal access to the discovery and enjoyment of the planet’s resources constitutes a right equally open to all the world’s inhabitants” and explicitly recommends that “tourism for persons with disabilities should be encouraged and facilitated”;

Referring to the Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All and the Recommendations on Accessible Information in Tourism, adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly at its 20th and 21st sessions as reference documents for tourism stakeholders for making their infrastructure, products and services accessible to all people;

Considering the UNWTO Manuals on Accessible Tourism for All co-produced with civil society and private sector organizations – the ONCE Foundation, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and the ACS Foundation, as a source of technical knowhow for destinations;

Recognizing the wide scope of the multi-stakeholder recommendations emanating from the Declaration from the World Summit Destinations for All, held in Montreal, Canada, in October 2014;

Taking into account the Bangkok Recommendations on Accessible Tourism of 2007 and Takayama Declaration on the Development of Communities-for-All in Asia and the Pacific, adopted in 2009;

Commending the efforts of the Government of Thailand, the tourism sector and civil society stakeholders in making tourism destinations across the country ever more accessible;

THOSE PRESENT

Being:

1. Convinced that measures implemented to bring about Tourism for All benefit not only persons with disabilities and specific access requirements but all people, while entailing major socio- economic opportunities for tourism destinations and businesses;

2. Conscious of the gradual improvements regarding universal accessibility in tourism, but also of many serious and enduring challenges that people with disabilities across the globe are still facing;

3. Mindful of the importance of solid policy frameworks and strategic actions in making full access to and enjoyment of tourism destinations and activities by all truly possible;

4. Aware of the challenges in providing adequate information on the accessibility of tourism facilities, services and products, and the opportunities for promoting those that actually meet the needs of a greater diversity of customers;

5. Committed to multi-stakeholder partnerships between the policy makers, local authorities, the private sector, disabled people’s organizations and local communities in making tourism destinations accessible for all;

UNANIMOUSLY CALL UPON ALL STAKEHOLDERS:
1. To ensure that the right to enjoy tourism by all becomes a reality and that the commitment of

governments and companies to improve access for all is sustained by concrete actions;

2. To engage in awareness-raising and training so as to reduce both physical and attitudinal barriers within the sector and to be able to embrace the undoubted competitive advantages of investing in Tourism for All;

3. To implement the principles of Universal Design/Design for All when developing new tourism infrastructure, products and services and improving the existing ones;

4. To promote the provision of objective and accurate information on the accessibility of all products and services, and in accessible formats, with the aim to enable travelers to accurately assess whether their own needs will be met during the whole travel process;

5. To mainstream accessibility in tourism policy and throughout the tourism supply chain with the aim to ensure that there are no broken links and that everyone can fully enjoy a seamless tourism experience; and

6. To encourage multi-stakeholder cooperation at all levels that enables development of consistent and up-to-date policies and business practices in the sphere of accessible tourism. 

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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Brussels to host the 2nd Destinations for All World Summit for accessible tourism in 2018


Montréal/Namur, September 27, 2016

Quebec-based organization Kéroul and Belgium’s Collectif Accessibilité Wallonie-Bruxelles (CAWaB) are pleased to announce that the second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will be taking place in Brussels in fall 2018. The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.

For more information:
http://www.accessibletourism.org/resources/accesibilityen_2013_unwto.pdf

These two organizations are making this announcement now in the spirit of World Tourism Day, September 27, 2016, the theme of which is “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.”

The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014, under the auspices of Kéroul and with the involvement of the UNWTO, UN, European Network for Accessible Tourism and ICAO, among others. With more than 360 participants from 31 countries having come out to share their knowledge and experience, the event wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.

Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.

With the Western population aging and the benefits of including disabled people in all facets of society, the tourism, culture and transportation sectors have no choice but to fully welcome and adequately serve all citizens, and to be particularly attentive to the needs of elderly and physically disabled people. Moreover, in September 2015, the UN adopted new Sustainable Development Goals recognizing accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities as principles of sustainable development.

The second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will provide the opportunity to assess progress made since 2014 and move closer to an international standard of accessibility, information sharing, practices and services for persons with disabilities. In conjunction with this event for trade professionals, there will also be an accessible vacations show for the general public, wherein visitors will learn more about the world’s accessible tourist destinations.

As the respective chairs of Kéroul and CAWaB, Isabelle Ducharme and Vincent Snoeck will co-chair the 2nd Destinations for All World Summit on behalf of their organizations.

 

About Keroul

Kéroul is a non-profit organization dedicated to making tourism and culture accessible to persons with limited physical abilities. Founded in Montréal in 1979, Kéroul acts as the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec’s key consultant in matters of accessibility.

 

About CAWaB

Since 2006, the Collectif Accessibilité Wallonie-Bruxelles has served as the umbrella organization for associations representing persons with limited physical abilities as well as for accessibility consulting firms. It advocates for universal accessibility in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

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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