Communicating accessibility information
Ensuring end-to-end accessibility
Creating inclusive experiences
Training accessibility-aware staff
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 (e.g. India), 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.
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.
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. His achievements include representing Australia at the 2008 Paralympic Games in wheelchair tennis. Michael is a passionate advocate of the importance of embedding accessibility in physical and social infrastructure and is a board member of Disability Employment Australia and Biala Support Services.
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.
Chantel Bongiovanni -Chantel Bongiovanni is a writer, powerchair sport athlete and woman with disability. Through her sporting and professional activities, Chantel has had to travel extensively around Australia, as well as internationally. She is keen to increase opportunities for people with disability through increased accessibility, support and knowledge.
Michael Dobbie - Former Paralympic Athlete, Michael is currently a Senior Manager at PwC and 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.
Geoff Trappett - 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.
Cory Lee - After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He has traveled across all 7 continents in his wheelchair, while managing to run his travel blog CurbFreeWithCoryLee.com, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others.
Lisa Kelly - Lisa Kelly is the CEO of Carers ACT having worked in the organisation for the past 5 years. Carers ACT is the peak body for unpaid family and friend carers in the ACT representing the voices of more than 50,000 carers. Lisa has extensive knowledge on carers and understands the triumphs and challenges of the role. She is passionate about wellbeing, equity, social impact, and the value of family carers. She is also committed to ensuring that carers receive high quality supports and services and receive recognition of their role within the community.
Ryan Smith - Ryan is a marketing professional with 20+ years in design and communications. He lives with a disability and has created a marketing agency specifically around inclusive leisure and tourism.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
The 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 and 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.
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.
Seoyoon Jane Hong is a founder of Tourism for all Korea and an accessible tourism consultant for KTO (Korea Tourism Organization), as well as a former executive director of Seoul Tourism Foundation. She presented about accessible tourism in 2017 at SIFT (Seoul International Fair and Sustainable Tourism Forum) and has taken part in a number of research projects in the accessible tourism field in Korea.
– 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.
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.
Kuniyasu Nomura - Kuniyasu Nomura is the Representative Director of the Ohayo Travel Corporation, a Tokyo-based travel agency catering to visitors to Japan, especially for those who feel such traveling might be difficult due to factors such as age, health conditions etc. As a member of Japan Universal Tourism Network and as the leader of Universal Tourism Center Musashino, he is engaged in improving the social infrastructure for accessibility in collaboration with other universal tourism centers throughout Japan. He is also the organizer of a number of accessibility program and the National Coordinator for Japan of ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism).
Josh Grisdale - Originally from Toronto, Josh Grisdale moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2007. He now works as a manager in a company focused on childhood education and elderly care and his the founder of TabiFolk - a social network for accessible travel. In his spare time he travels around and reports on accessibility of popular tourist attractions for his website, Accessible Japan, to encourage people with disabilities to come and visit the country he loves. He will be a torch bearer for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Yasmine Gray - Founder of getaboutable.com, Yasmine has been traveling for over 50 years and, like many people with disabilities, she I was frustrated by the lack of accessibility information. That's how she came up with the idea of a centralised platform focusing on helping each other by sharing accessible travel information.
A wheelchair user and a rare disease patient, Ji holds two master’s degrees from the University of California in Los Angeles and SciencesPo Paris. She has traveled to nearly 30 countries and was selected by Booking Cares Fund as Changemaker in sustainable tourism in 2018. In 2018, Ji founded Rare & Roll, a social enterprise to promote accessible tourism in China.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Dr. Julian Maha is an experienced emergency doctor. He founded KultureCity, an impact driven nonprofit that has applied a startup model to the nonprofit world, driven by his desire to help his oldest son who was diagnosed with autism. Since its creation 20 months ago, KultureCity has become not only the best reviewed special needs nonprofit in the United States but also the fastest growing. Recent achievements include being named one of the Top 10 nonprofits in the US by Microsoft in 2015.
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. He is an advocate for Universal Design and Sustainable Development principles and looks forward to the day when tourism and travel is accessible for everyone, everywhere.
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.
Dane Cross - 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.
Brett Passmore - Father of a child with disability, Brett Passmore supports the evolution of the Shady Lane Lodge and is involved Cosability, codesigning beautiful experiences and features for people with disabilities in all areas of leisure and tourism.
Julie Jones - Julie Jones is the owner of Have Wheelchair Will Travel and executive editor & co-founder of the Travel Without Limits magazine.
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.
As a parent of a child who uses a wheelchair, Michele became very aware how difficult and, in some cases, dangerous it is for wheelchair users to travel by airplane. That’s why she founded the not-for-profit All Wheels Up that is funding the necessary research needed to advance the conversation and prove the feasibility for a wheelchair spot on planes. Taking on this platform, Michele is known as a “disrupter of the aviation industry”. She has initiated a new area of study at Universities and advanced congressional and industry conversation regarding the future of accessible air travel and plane design.
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.
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.