Boosting accessible travel for Aussies living with disability


One in six (18%) people in Australia – or about 4.4 million – live with a disability. These consumers are underserviced in the tourism industry, and it is time for this to change.

Living with a disability adds challenges to a person’s life that those who don’t have a disability take for granted. In fact, new research from Spinal Life Australia reveals over three-quarters (76%) of Australians agree the majority of places in Australia remain inaccessible to people living with disabilities.

This comes as over half of Australians believe accessibility in public places (59%) and businesses (49%) needs improvement for people living with disability (49%). We need to work towards a more accessible, inclusive, and just society for all Australians.

This Disability Action Week (25 November – 2 December), a leading voice in the disability sector, Spinal Life Australia, and the national representative body of Australia’s tourism industry councils, Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), have announced a National Partnership to assist tourism businesses of all sizes in their journey towards a more inclusive and accessible Australia.

Chairman of the Australian Tourism Industry Council Evan Hall welcomes the partnership, describing it as a “natural fit.”

“We understand the value of accessible tourism and how vital it is to strive towards improved inclusion for all Australians. We’re proud to be working with Spinal Life Australia to continue our shared advocacy for better outcomes for all.”

The partnership will see the development and promotion of accessible tourism for Australian and international visitors, as well as assisting tourism businesses to identify improvements they can make to the accessibility of their offerings.

“Through our Accessible Tourism program businesses will undertake a comprehensive accessibility assessment to provide detailed information to visitors with a range of accessibility needs.”

“In partnership with Spinal Life Australia, we will provide ongoing advice and advocacy to the Australian Government for new policies to improve the accessibility of Australia’s tourism industry,” Mr Hall says.

Spinal Life Australia CEO Mark Townend says the partnership is a great example of improvement in accessibility when it comes to the travel and tourism sector.

“People living with disabilities love to travel and explore like every Australian does. Tourism and travel businesses are critical parts of the Australian economy and have a key role to play in making Australia more accessible and inclusive, not only for our domestic market, but also our international visitors.

“Through our work with tourism businesses in various tourist hotspots across Australia, we’ll be highlighting the importance of access and inclusion to encourage meaningful change and look forward to working with ATIC to build on the great work that has already commenced,” he says.

The national partnership highlights both organisations’ commitment to the future development of accessible tourism for domestic and international visitors and to encourage businesses to improve their accessibility and inclusion.

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