Getaboutable’s Founder, Dr Yasmine Gray, has always been passionate about travel and adventure but has found it challenging as she has become less mobile over the years due to multiple sclerosis. The idea for the website started in 2008, as Yasmine and a friend were discussing their frustrations in trying to find information about accessible leisure activities and travel destinations. This led her to create GetAboutAble Pty Ltd in July 2015 and launch getaboutable.com in February 2016. Andrew Vassili and Steven Diep joined getaboutable as Co-Owners and Directors in August 2018.
GetAboutAble Pty Ltd is a social enterprise that aims to give people with disabilities the confidence to get out and about. We empower the 20% of the population with mobility, vision, hearing and other assistance needs, as well as their families, friends and supporters to find and share information about accessible travel and leisure activities. Getaboutable’s website, getaboutable.com relies on crowd-sourced information. For getaboutable.com to grow as a resource, we rely on users to nominate and/or review inclusive activities and venues that they have experienced.
Getaboutable.com is also a unique platform to promote inclusive businesses while encouraging and supporting them to tap into the spending power of people who value venues that cater to their needs. Accessible and inclusive businesses will have improved public perception and increased revenue.
Hard work, picking the right partners and lots of tenacity has seen getaboutable grow to over 2000 listings across 50 countries making travel for people with a disability so much easier. Getaboutable continues to grow and along the way has been recognised with a number of awards and grants such as grants from Hands Across Canberra, the Snow Foundation, the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund, the ACT City Renewal Authority, and YWCA Canberra Great Ydeas, as well as awards such as winning the 2017 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Innovation in Design, the 2019 Microsoft AI for Accessibility Challenge, the 2019 Canberra Region Tourism Award for Specialised Tourism Services.
Although global in scope, getaboutable is based in Canberra, Australia. As such, getaboutable is proud to be the driving force behind the Accessible Canberra project, funded since 2018 by grants from the ACT Government, Hands Across Canberra, and the Snow Foundation. The Accessible Canberra project encourages businesses and other travel and leisure destinations in the ACT to be more accessible and give people with a disability the confidence to get out and about in the community. The successful initiatives developed under this project are used as templates to expand these initiatives nationally and internationally.
- ongoing in 2019
- Advisory Panel meetings every 2-4 months – This panel is a brains trust, comprised of experienced, innovative, energetic and well-connected Canberrans who are passionate about social inclusion for people with disability. The Panel is chaired by Rebecca Vassarotti.
- Accessible Travel Network teleconferences monthly – This is a network of like-minded individuals and organisations that originally came together at the Destinations for All World Congress in Brussels in October 2018. The monthly teleconferences provide a forum discuss issues and brainstorm solutions.
- Social Enterprise Peer Network meeting bi-monthly – a joint initiative of ACTCOSS and the Mill House Social Enterprise Accelerator for social enterprises in and around the ACT to meet and exchange ideas.
- Pty Ltd Directors Meeting weekly – Yasmine, Andrew and Steve generally met by teleconference on a weekly basis to discuss and progress initiatives to improve and grow the company.
- GetAboutAble staff and volunteers meetings monthly – as the getaboutable team has grown, we have implemented informal monthly meetings to discuss issues and share ideas to make sure that everyone understood theirs and others roles.
- Media appearances including:
- 5 April – several articles about Microsoft AI for Accessibility Challenge win
- 8 April – Yasmine interviewed by ABC Canberra radio
- 3 September – Yasmine, Carl and Adrienne featured in media surrounding the Beyond Bank Civic Branch opening
- 14 October – channel 9 coverage of Cotter Bend accessible barbecue facilities by Suzanne Orr, ACT Minister for Disability
- February 2019 – formalised employment of first staff member on getaboutable payroll
- March 2019 – established virtual tour capability using 360° camera
- April 2019 – won the Microsoft AI for Accessibility Challenge
- May 2019 – getaboutable stall at Connect and Participate (CAP) Expo
- June 2019 –
- interview with Microsoft Australia Managing Director Steve Worrall in Sydney
- met with Molonglo Group management team to discuss their development of the Dairy Flat Precinct and opportunities to advertise accessibility on getaboutable.com
- Tourism Australia/Visit Canberra industry briefing
- July 2019 – Yasmine invited to present to National Capital Attractions Association lunch
- August 2019 – Yasmine met with accessible travel specialists from All Go Easy and Want2Travel during her (private) trip to Singapore
- September 2019 – first contract for a paid listing on getaboutable.com
- October 2019 –
- launch crowdfunding campaign to host the inaugural Asia-Pacific Accessible Tourism Conference & Expo
- Yasmine, Andrew and Steve invited to give a lecture on accessible travel & leisure considerations to University of Canberra OT student, which led to UC OT student assignment to audit accessibility at venues listed by getaboutable.com
- Yasmine, Andrew and Steve met Qantas executives in Sydney following a conversation between Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director Steve Worrall and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce
- November 2019 –
- Yasmine was an invited speaker at the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Symposium and attended IATA Accessibility Symposium (contemporarily held in Dubai) as well as the subsequent TravAbility conference in San Francisco.
- Won the Canberra Region Tourism Award for Specialised Tourism Services
- December 2019 – featured start-up at Start-up Grind investors showcase
Grants – getaboutable received grants from the Snow Foundation ($25,000) and the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund ($17,000)
Revenue – getaboutable earned $1,170 after starting to market Enhanced Listing subscriptions in the second half of the year.
Crowdfunding – getaboutable raised $17,219.43 after fees and GST from its crowdfunding campaign to raise seed funding for the inaugural Asia-Pacific Accessible Tourism Conference & Expo to be held in Canberra in late 2020.