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Communicating accessibility information
Ensuring end-to-end accessibility
Creating inclusive experiences
Training accessibility-aware staff
Simon Darcy is AITCAP inaugural keynote speaker. He presents his views on the crossroads that the accessible & inclusive tourism is at in a post-COVID-19 world and what value lies in it being part of our recovery plans. Ivor Ambrose and John O’Sullivan then join him for a Q&A session covering both the institutional and industry point of views.
Simon Darcy – Professor in Management at UTS, Simon’s work includes contributing significantly to the understanding of the business case for accessible tourism nationally and internationally through the UN World Tourism Organisation.
John O’Sullivan – With over 25 years’ experience in the tourism and related industries sector, including being Managing Director of Tourism Australia for the last 5 years and being the current Commissioner of Tourism Western Australia, John has extensive leadership capabilities and experience in the sports and entertainment, media and travel and tourism sectors, on a local and global stage.
Ivor Ambrose – Founding Member and elected Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), Ivor advises public sector organisations, companies and NGOs in Europe and internationally. He manages several websites and online communities dedicated to accessibility, tourism business development and training.
If you are still under the illusion that accessible & inclusive tourism is a niche-market, all about ticking boxes for regulation purposes, you couldn’t be more wrong. This is a huge market opportunity that can fuel sustainable growth for your business and Carolyn Childs proves it, using the latest travel research data. Numbers don’t lie!
MyTravelResearch.com CEO, Futurist and Strategist Carolyn Childs’ passion is empowering travel organisations to succeed. Her career spans 30+ years & 35+ countries including with Travel Research Centre, the International Air Transport Association & heading TNS’s Australian travel vertical. She is a top-rated speaker; has published an e-book (emerging markets) and white papers on Trends, Markets, Tourism Sectors (e.g. Luxury) & Policy (Taxes). She is Immediate Past President TTRA Asia-Pacific, a Certified Member of the Market Research Society, sits on World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage’s Advisory Panel and was on the UNWTO Panel of World Tourism Experts.
Across their chain of 84+ hotels, Lemon Tree Hotels have built an inclusive organisation, both for for their employees and their guests. In this masterclass, Aradhana Lal shares their Seven Pillar inclusion model and how they’ve made it the core of both their successful business model and culture.
Aradhana is a TedX Speaker and leads Brand and Communications as well as the Sustainability Initiative at Lemon Tree Hotels. Their strategy is to build an inclusive employee base, they have been hiring Employees With Disabilities (EWD) for 14 years and have a goal to have them represent ~40% of employees in FY 2025-2026.
From an accessible tour leader and organiser’s perspective, Agnes Abelsen speaks about accessible & inclusive travel as well as some of the challenges she has seen in the industry. With experience travelling with people with both physical and hidden disabilities she shares her ideas on how to make tourism activities more accessible.
Agnes is the founder of Travengers AU – Supported Youth Travel. Having personal experience from having an autistic sister, combined with a background as a Disability Nurse and Social Educator and over a decade working in the disability industry, she is deeply passionate about creating opportunities for people with support needs. Agnes has so far been on over 20 accessible trips herself prior to, and through her business, for people with both physical and hidden disabilities.
In making tourism accessible & inclusive, co-design is key and this session will help you get it right. Geoff Trappett OAM will present how to co-design best, asking and answering all the right questions to have top-quality engagement process, capable of producing universally inclusive travel products & services.
Former Paralympic Athlete, Geoff is an advocates of human rights and disability inclusion related issues through his social policy change venture Inclusion Moves. Accolades include receiving an Order of Australia medal and named Queensland Paralympian of the Year during a 10 year professional athletics career.
You don’t know where to start on the path to making your tourism business or destination more accessible & inclusive? This session is made for you! Chris Veitch will go over: what’s to gain from, what are the most common barriers you might face and focus on simple solutions, that can be low cost and easy to implement right now, even in the current climate.
Chris Veitch is an independent consultant with wide experience in the field of accessible tourism. He has been involved in some significant European projects and works to help develop and promote Accessible Tourism in the UK, and elsewhere, including in Australia. He has collaborated in writing a number of papers and book chapters on this subject.
Japan is a destination where you can enjoy lots of wonderful views, unique culture and unique history. General accessibility has been improved in recent years in Japan while disseminating accessibility information is relatively weak. We are presenting a variety of attractive destinations, and how to travel and enjoy them, for example, Mt. Fuji and its surrounding area, Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage Route etc.
Having a website that people with disabilities can access using the right type of technology is crucial but so is making sure you have information about the accessibility of your company and services. Gian Wild, Claudia Stevenson and Brigitta Norton are experts in this domain and will cover both aspects of the subject.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS –
Claudia Stevenson – Claudia identifies as being blind although they have very low vision. They have travelled in Australia and overseas in groups and by themself, with their Guide Dog and with their cane. Their preferred type of travel is now activity based travel, walking, paddling, cycling adventures.
Gian Wild – Gian Wild is the CEO of AccessibilityOz, with offices in the United States, Europe and Australia. She has worked in accessibility industry since 1998, when she worked on the very first Australian accessible web site. Amongst her impressive achievements, she Gian won the inaugural Accessibility Person of the Year in 2019.
Brigitta Norton – Brigitta Norton is the UX Lead at Synergy Group in Canberra and is a professional digital strategist with 16-years experience enabling organisations to achieve a competitive digital presence, creating a user friendly and accessible experience for optimal stakeholder engagement and providing effective and efficient service delivery. She is also a conference convenor of OZeWAI.org, partner for AITCAP.
Profiles of travelers: who they are, what they need and what are they looking for
The value of the accessible and inclusive tourism market in the Asia-Pacific
How to better serve this market: catering for diverse accessibility needs, providing the right information to attract this market
John Morris is a thought leader in the field of accessible travel, drawing from his experience of more than one million miles flown as a wheelchair user and triple amputee. He educates people with disabilities through his accessible travel website WheelchairTravel.org, advises companies through his Accessible Development Group consultancy, and leads innovative public policy campaigns with the goal of creating a culture of inclusion. Known for traveling the world with one hand, a passport and his power wheelchair, he has become one of the leading advocates for accessibility and inclusion within the travel industry. John shares his vision for an open world with both travel providers and the community at large.
This session will be full of insight from multiple trail blazers in the community of travelers with disabilities and their traveling companions and carers. They answer questions about the industry from the point of view of both customers and influencers. They talk about their travel experiences, showing how varied, yet alike, their experiences are, and discuss what can make a more accessible world for all.
Too often, the tourism industry buys into the stigma that people with disability are single people and are geared towards a single person with disability and their carer. Dane will share how tourism operators need to and can include in their accessibility strategy that travelers with disabilities have families and friends with whom they wish to travel.
Dane’s experience in the accessible tourism market comes not only as an ‘end user’ with lived experience in travelling with disability, but also in a professional capacity as an Advocacy Officer with Spinal Life Australia, and as a qualified Access Consultant. Dane, along with his wife, Stacey, and their 2 sons, enjoy sharing their ‘Cross Family Adventures’ with the aim of breaking down the barriers and removing the stigma regarding what it means to be a family living with disability.
Sport tourism and accessible tourism are two of the fastest growing sectors in the industry. Yet combining the two isn’t always as easy as it should be. Chantel Bongiovanni, Geoff Trappett OAM, Michael Dobbie and Julia Svaganovic discuss their experiences and what strikes them as best practices that should be adopted across the industry.
Social media has a crucial importance in modern society, for people of all ages and abilities, and although it has its accessibility problems there are a variety of accessibility features inbuilt into various social media networks. Gian Wild will go through over those in this direct-to-practice session to you reach this market.
Gian Wild is the CEO of AccessibilityOz, with offices in the United States, Europe and Australia. She has worked in accessibility industry since 1998, when she worked on the very first Australian accessible web site. Amongst her impressive achievements, she Gian won the inaugural Accessibility Person of the Year in 2019.
Michael Dobbie shares the process that PwC got through to get 100% of its accomodation providers for corporate travel to be accessible. A company policy that can make sense for everyone, as people with disabilities make up for 20% of the community and their buying power is huge.
Michael is a Senior Manager in PwC’s Infrastructure Strategy team, he leads the Firm’s vision to create a more inclusive environment and greater employment opportunities for people with a disability. He has 19+ years lived experience in disability and has held leading positions in Government across the Infrastructure and Transport, Social Services, Small Business and Education portfolios. Prior to Government, Michael was a professional athlete.
Buildind and transforming experiences around sensory inclusion will be an improvment both for your business and for your community. Nicole Thibault, Frances Riggs and Agnes Abelsen share their personal and professional experiences to deliver the best tips for administrations, attractions, destination marketing operators and venues. Start now, with simple solutions!
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS –
Frances Riggs – Frances Riggs works for Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS), an NDIS partner in the community in Sydney, Melbourne and regional Victoria. As Senior Community Development and Capacity Building Coordinator, she leads a team of people across 10 service areas who are working towards an inclusive and accessible Australia. Her team works alongside community organisations, mainstream service providers and businesses, with the aim to create more opportunities for people with disability to participate in all aspects of community life.
Nicole Thibault – Nicole Thibault has worked with Visit Mesa and Sesame Place designing accessible experiences for people with autism. She has boys on the spectrum and works in the travel industry with her own business, Magical story book travels. She also organises travel for families to Disneyworld. She is the author (amongst other things) of this Autism Travel Guide.
Agnes Abelsen – Agnes Abelsen is the founder of Travengers AU – Supported Youth Travel. She is deeply passionate about creating opportunities for people with support needs and has both personal and professional experience travelling with people with physical and hidden disabilities.
Travelling with a Guide Dog should be easy. But it isn’t always. Claudia will share experiences of travelling as a person with vision loss, giving tips on how to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of tourism experiences and destinations.
Claudia identifies as being blind although they have very low vision. They have travelled in Australia and overseas in groups and by themself, with their Guide Dog and with their cane. Their preferred type of travel is now activity based travel, walking, paddling, cycling adventures.
A wide-ranging sample of diverse accessible and inclusive destinations and experiences across the Asia-Pacific region.
Successful examples of inclusive and accessible destinations marketing in different economical & geographical environments
Accessible tourism is not a niche market and goes beyond way beyond box ticking items to be compliant. Giovanna Lever demonstrates how targeting this under-served and valuable market represents an untapped opportunity for Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) and tourism businesses. She will present a practical approach to building more inclusive destinations and tourism businesses. Starting with how important it is to think of accessible tourism customers beyond their disability and focus on their ability.
Giovanna Lever‘s ability to build and transform brands into sustainable business models is built on the back of her business acumen acquired from over 20 years commercial experience across the agriculture, education, health, tourism, and sport industries. She is well known for her expertise in helping organisations and their stakeholders in transformational and collaborative change management. With her company Sparrowly Group, she has done this successfully for a number of organisations in both the private and public sectors and in many instances, bringing the two sectors together to better align and drive impactful outcomes for their customers.
Giovanna has co-authored two research papers on accessible tourism and career pathways which has received acclaim from the sector and decision makers alike. She is also a TedX Speaker.
Pankaj Pradhananga will highlight Nepal’s endeavor to start Accessible Tourism from ground zero. He will share how inclusive tourism became a tool to bring about positive changes among PWDs, DPOs, FTO and other agencies. And how they’ve managed to convince stakeholders and policymakers and attract the right partnerships and clients to grow the pie of the accessible tourism market in the Himalaya.
Pankaj comes with an experience in Tourism industry over 2 decades. He holds an MBA from Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSOM) with a specialization in CRM (Marketing). He is a Director of Four Season Travel & Tours, charter President of Tourism Toastmasters Club and also an adjunct faculty member at ACE Institute of Management in Kathmandu. He is considered to be a pioneer of Inclusive Tourism initiatives in the Himalayan region.
Accessible tourism is tourism. This simple truth was the start for (so far) 20 years of sustained efforts, in order to turn the northern region of Belgium into a travel destination for everybody. Visit Flanders is ready to share their experience in developing and promoting accessible tourism with other DMOs and tourism organisations. Pieter Ghijsels will outline the key success factors, based on real-life examples, and how other travel destinations can apply these insights to their specific situation.
Pieter Ghijsels obtained a master’s degree in Communication Science at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He works in the field of accessible tourism since 1999, first for the disability organisation KVG, later as an accessible tourism product manager and policy advisor for Visit Flanders, the tourism administration for Flanders-Brussels.
Japan is a destination known for its wonderful views, unique culture and unique history. General accessibility has been improved in recent years in Japan even if there are still some improvement areas. Kuniyasu Nomura, Josh Grisdale and Yasmine Gray share their experiences of discovering this country and its ingeniousity in overcoming all types of accessibility issues.
If you have doubts on how to apply the advice of the first two days of AITCAP 2021, Lake Macquarie is a destination that is deeply engaged in the process with some great results to show. Julie Jones interviews Garry Ellem on how they managed to turn Lake Macquarie into one of the best examples of accessible & inclusive tourism in Australia.
Garry has over 20 years senior experience in tourism operations with Local Government, State Government bodies and private enterprise. He is passionate about developing products that merge the needs of the community with the opportunity for tourism development. In particular, Garry is focused on developing businesses and products with a higher level of social responsibility.
Last year, Ean Price explored Japan, Thailand and Cambodia with his travelling companions, limited physical mobility and on a ventilator. This session will inspire you to push boundaries and achieve your wildest dreams!
Ean Price is the CEO and founder of ICAN Resource Group Inc, a dynamic company combining his passion of digital design, accessible travel and assistive technology. He has Muscular Dystrophy (SMA II) and is wheelchair/ventilator dependent. Over the past 16 years, he has travelled throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Indonesia, including Bali, is widely seen as a difficult vacation spot for people with disabilities. In Bali in particular, however, more and more services for accessible travel have developed over the past few years. The Association of Providers of Accessible Tourism in Bali (ATABI) presents best practices on how barriers can be overcome, even if the infrastructure does not yet meet global standards.
ATABI – Accessible Travel Association Bali Indonesia arose from like-minded disability travel advocates residing within Indonesia and Australia. ATABI’s association members have vast experience within the disability travel sector, including accessible accommodation providers, accessible tour operators, mobility equipment specialists and special needs travellers. They possess the necessary skills and experience to lobby governments for improved accessibility outcomes for tourists travelling with disabilities to Bali and the more expansive Indonesian archipelago. They endeavour to become the most comprehensive knowledge hub for accessible travel and tourism in Bali/Indonesia. Their members are: Wheelchair Travellers, Rollin Adventures In Bali, Accessible Villa G / Accessible Penyaringan, BSF Asia, AccessibleIndonesia, Bali One Care
Tourism for all is the future of tourism in the Philippines. Veneranda Mateo will present the reasons why this strategy was adopted and the efforts the country has made to implement it. She advocates in favor of all tourism & travel actors taking the first steps in favor of equal access to leisure and tourism for all.
Veneranda Mateo is both an accessible tourism specialist and an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Living in the Philippines, she has a disability herself but that doesn’t prevent her from travelling around the world.
In 2015, Korea introduced an accessible tourism policy for the country. Seoyoon Jane Hong will be sharing the lessons learnt in this five year process, as well as the social changes it introduced, the development of accessible tourist attractions and the training of employees in the tourism sector.
– 한국의 접근가능한 관광의 현재와 과정 : 접근성 환경과 교육 개선
홍서윤은 한국장애인관광협회 대표이며 한국관광공사의 무장애 관광 자문위원으로 활동하고, 서울관광재단의 비상임 이사로 재임하였다.
그는 2017년 서울 국제 공정 관광 포럼에서 한국의 무장애 관광에 대해 발표하고 다수의 관련 연구를 진행한 바 있다.
Tony the Traveller has visited 125 official UN countries, totally blind and partially deaf! He shares his experience to inspire others but also to point out where improvements still need to be made in the travel and leisure industries. He advocates that people of all abilities should have equal access to travel, leisure and tourism.
Living in the United Kingdom, Tony is an avid traveler and author of three published travel eBooks. To date, he has visited 125 official UN countries, totally blind and partially deaf! He also went bungee jumping seventeen times, sky dived on three occasions, has been zorbing twice, driven jet boats, a large jeep, ridden motorbikes, jet skied and water skied, to name a few activities.
Accessible and inclusive tourism as a post-Covid tourism recovery strategy
Innovations in attitude, technology and infrastructure
Inclusion as an emerging value in mainstream tourism
The representation of people with accessibility needs in tourism marketing
Inclusive tourism is the future of the tourism industry and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to open your operations to it. In this keynote, Jezza Williams shares his insights on how to do so and what it is like to enjoy a truly inclusive tourism experience, venue or destination.
Jezza Williams is the director and founder of Makingtrax, with over two decades in the adventure tourism industry. Not letting a hiccup of becoming a tetraplegic dictate his life, he used it to his advantage and since 2010 has been a game-changer in the inclusive adventure tourism industry, pushing possibilities and opening opportunities for all abilities.
On a personal level, he has paved the way for others becoming the first tetraplegic/quadriplegic in New Zealand to gain a paragliding license and undertaken wild adventures including testing his limits in the Mongol rally 26,000 km from London to Mongolia via Eurasia and back through Russia.
COVID-19 has changed the world of travel forever. Longer, more located stays are predicted rather than round, short-stays travel. Accessible tourism has always had these characteristics and sustainable tourism will be crucial to the recovery of developing and emerging countries. Indonesia will serve as an example of what could be the end result and positive impacts of combining these approaches for all destinations.
Tobias and Verena founded Wheelchairtraveller as a web based platform where wheelchair travellers can exchange information on about accessible activities they discovered in their travel. The NGO focuses on showcasing the accessible offer in developing and emerging countries and promoting travel to those regions. They advocate that undertaking minor adaptations to make tourism businesses offer accessible for wheelchair travellers is a real growth-opportunity for them and for developing and emerging countries.
Sensory inclusion is revolutionizing the tourism industry and promoting it can improve both your business and your community. Julian Maha will present why but also how to incorporate it in your tourism product, service or destination.
Get ahead of the rest of the industry with this presentation of the new ISO Standard on Accessible Tourism Standard (21902) that is in the final stage of completion, for expected publication later this year. Ivor Ambrose will discuss how this Standard can support the tourism sector in “mainstreaming” Universal Design approaches, making tourism accesible for everyone, everywhere.
The National Museum of Australia has been implementing an accessible & inclusive strategy for years and will be sharing the results, proving once more what value resides in taking care of this market segment. But Tina Brandt considers that this is certainly not the end of the journey and shares her views on what the future holds for the museum and for the industry in general.
Launched in January 2017, BindiMaps is an award-winning smart cities technology startup, bringing accessibility to people and places currently out of bounds for people who are vision-impaired. By providing a navigation tool that works where traditional GPS does not – inside major public precincts such as university campuses, airports, shopping malls and office buildings – BindiMaps offers increased convenience for most, while fundamentally changing the lives of people with a vision impairment, allowing them to navigate public spaces independently and safely.
Ben Aldridge covers lessons learnt and barriers overcomed while undertaking the project of getting an entire tourism region, in South Australia, to adopt accessible tourism best practice. Speaking as an inovator, he advocates that to make this kind of project a success, you need to switch motivation, moving away from moral obligation and towards economic interest.
To many people, Ben is a person with a disability, a quadriplegic, but that is just the wrapping of someone who is a fierce business owner, a business that is growing and making a lasting impact in the West Australian community. A person who’s skills, experience and knowledge is valuable, showing that disability is not a charity case and can command the money that they are worth. This makes him and 30 Foot Drop stand out in the business community.
Being accessible and inclusive is a game-changer for the air travel industry. The latest research results and tests on the topic will be presented by Michele Erwin, the founder of All Wheels up, a non-for-profit that funded and conducted research with the Federal Aviation Association in the United States.
Accessible bathrooms and features in a hotel or a tourism venue do not have to look clinical and unaesthetic. Brett Passmore, Dane Cross and Julie Jones discuss how codesign can actually transform them in beautiful places that are welcoming to all guests. They also share their experiences on what can make a stay into a regulatory-conform hotel become an extraordinary accessible & inclusive experience.
Igor Stefanovic is a Technical Coordinator at the Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility Department at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a specialized UN agency for tourism, with its headquarters in Madrid (Spain). Igor’s work focuses specifically on accessible tourism for all and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups in tourism development and its current recovery, alongside other spheres such as responsible tourism and tourism involving culture, indigenous peoples and ethical business practices.
To end this inaugural session of AITCAP we have prepared a wrap-up session full of key takeaways & ideas for the future of AITCAP
AITCAP 2021 comes to an end and it is time to think about the future!
“It’s the awareness you have just given me. As an able person within the tourism sector, you presentation has brought so many un-thought of areas to my attention from accommodation to attractions, to my own tours!“
“I 100% agree and always follow the mantra of the most important thing to pack when you travel is your positive attitude!”
“Compliant (in whatever context that means in your country) should be tick a box. It is a minimum standard. And will be accessible to most. Inclusive however is beyond compliance. True accessibility is a misnomer as its an individual judgement.”
“Wonderful! I have happy tears, brilliant video.”
“I’m glad to know about your company. It’s content that I can share in my country as a good example in hiring disabled people.”
“Another eye-opening session for the tourism industry.”
The inaugural Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Conference in the Asia-Pacific (AITCAP) will connect the huge under-served accessible tourism market with the travel & leisure sector to improve understanding that accessible tourism is a huge and growing market.
Now is the time to increase the momentum, and for the Asia-Pacific region to catch up with the US and Europe on accessible tourism.
In 2019, we had a crowd-funding campaign to launch AITCAP first edition. Due to COVID-19 it was delayed. Thankfully, we didn’t lose any of our budget on cancellations and we will be going virtual which means more resources for incredible content!
Have a look at our introductory video for the 2019 crowd-funding campaign:
On the right is a recap of the campaign and we thank again all of our amazing donors.
We had been planning to host #APATCE in late 2020 in Canberra, Australia, but due to Covid-19, the first edition will be delivered as an engaging and information-rich virtual event that will take place in 2021 and embraces the new opportunities available to us by going online.
You can register your interest in the form above.
Imagine if you didn’t know where to get ideas for places to go, things to see or things to do. Imagine if you couldn’t find accurate venue information online or by phone. Imagine that you or one of your travelling companions couldn’t use the shower at a hotel, or the toilet at a restaurant.
Unfortunately, these are the sorts of problems faced by people with a disability almost every time they want to go somewhere they don’t already know. People with disability want to get out and about with their families and friends, but often, it’s all just too hard and they end up staying at home to avoid the frustration.
The conference will include both guest speakers and a tradeshow/expo. The conference and expo’s main purposes are to:
If successful, we anticipate that the conference would become an annual event, circulating to different host cities around Australia/Asia-Pacific each year.