4.3 Sustainability & Effective Communication: Planet Abled

Through this case study, you'll be able to understand how destinations can work toward involving disabled individuals in the planning and development of these to make them accessible for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

Making Destinations Accessible For All

Neha Arora, the founder of Planet Abled, reflects on her first-hand experience of inaccessible tourism ecosystems, allowing us to understand how we can work towards tackling sustainability through SDG 10 in order to reduce inequalities.

Making Destinations Accessible For All

Neha Arora, the founder of Planet Abled, reflects on her first-hand experience of inaccessible tourism ecosystems, allowing us to understand how we can work towards tackling sustainability through SDG 10 in order to reduce inequalities.

Main Takeaways:

  • Tourism strategies should place accessibility at the centre in order to facilitate travel for all, considering the needs of all kinds of disabilities.
  • There is a need for destinations to communicate more boldly that they are accessible and can accommodate people with disabilities.
  • An inclusive mindset is required to work with accessibility. Involving disabled people in decision-making processes allows organisations to reflect on and solve first-hand problems in the industry.

Summary

During her talk, Neha defined accessible tourism as experiences that meet the needs of all travellers and accommodate everyone. However, as she explained,  around 25% of the population worldwide is either directly or indirectly affected by inaccessible tourism. Thus, there is a necessity to make changes, make travel accessible and allow disabled people to enjoy destination offerings, and explore cities and cultures.

Nonetheless, as Neha mentioned, accessibility and making tourism accessible should be looked at from a broader scope than the current practices. The solutions in place simply do not meet the needs of disabled travellers comprehensively. Thus, travel is not yet fully accessible to all. Destinations need to understand the needs of individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. The accessibility solutions introduced at destinations need to move beyond traditional solutions such as installing a ramp. Neha explained that making travel accessible should no longer be focused on single disabilities and reflect on tourism and travel experiences of individuals with diverse abilities. Digital accessibility tools and digital content are great initiatives to make travel accessible to all.

Neha explained that accessibility should be part of the destination infrastructures and result in tech integrations that facilitate travel for everyone. She emphasised the importance of product design and skill training at destinations with full consideration to accessibility. She emphasised that accessibility must be a ‘built-in’ feature in product and experiences designs. Retrofitting for accessibility at later stages could be expensive and financially interfere with the process of making travel and tourism fully accessible.

According to Neha, market research has demonstrated travellers' assumption that particular destinations are inaccessible and thus opt not to visit. Therefore, destinations need to communicate that they are accessible and can accommodate people with disabilities more boldly.

Neha encouraged an inclusive mindset to understand the needs of travellers with disabilities better. People with disabilities will travel more simpler. The industry needs to respond to travellers' needs with sustainable frameworks considering health & well-being, reducing inequalities. To make effective changes, organisations need to include people with disabilities in decision-making processes and elaborate on their personal experiences.

Making Destinations Accessible For All

Neha Arora, the founder of Planet Abled, reflects on her first-hand experience of inaccessible tourism ecosystems, allowing us to understand how we can work towards tackling sustainability through SDG 10 in order to reduce inequalities.

Making Destinations Accessible For All

Neha Arora, the founder of Planet Abled, reflects on her first-hand experience of inaccessible tourism ecosystems, allowing us to understand how we can work towards tackling sustainability through SDG 10 in order to reduce inequalities.

Main Takeaways:

  • Tourism strategies should place accessibility at the centre in order to facilitate travel for all, considering the needs of all kinds of disabilities.
  • There is a need for destinations to communicate more boldly that they are accessible and can accommodate people with disabilities.
  • An inclusive mindset is required to work with accessibility. Involving disabled people in decision-making processes allows organisations to reflect on and solve first-hand problems in the industry.

Summary

During her talk, Neha defined accessible tourism as experiences that meet the needs of all travellers and accommodate everyone. However, as she explained,  around 25% of the population worldwide is either directly or indirectly affected by inaccessible tourism. Thus, there is a necessity to make changes, make travel accessible and allow disabled people to enjoy destination offerings, and explore cities and cultures.

Nonetheless, as Neha mentioned, accessibility and making tourism accessible should be looked at from a broader scope than the current practices. The solutions in place simply do not meet the needs of disabled travellers comprehensively. Thus, travel is not yet fully accessible to all. Destinations need to understand the needs of individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. The accessibility solutions introduced at destinations need to move beyond traditional solutions such as installing a ramp. Neha explained that making travel accessible should no longer be focused on single disabilities and reflect on tourism and travel experiences of individuals with diverse abilities. Digital accessibility tools and digital content are great initiatives to make travel accessible to all.

Neha explained that accessibility should be part of the destination infrastructures and result in tech integrations that facilitate travel for everyone. She emphasised the importance of product design and skill training at destinations with full consideration to accessibility. She emphasised that accessibility must be a ‘built-in’ feature in product and experiences designs. Retrofitting for accessibility at later stages could be expensive and financially interfere with the process of making travel and tourism fully accessible.

According to Neha, market research has demonstrated travellers' assumption that particular destinations are inaccessible and thus opt not to visit. Therefore, destinations need to communicate that they are accessible and can accommodate people with disabilities more boldly.

Neha encouraged an inclusive mindset to understand the needs of travellers with disabilities better. People with disabilities will travel more simpler. The industry needs to respond to travellers' needs with sustainable frameworks considering health & well-being, reducing inequalities. To make effective changes, organisations need to include people with disabilities in decision-making processes and elaborate on their personal experiences.