“The World Health Organization estimates that 15% of the global population, roughly 1 billion people, live with some form of disability. The accessible travel market presents a golden opportunity for destinations that are ready to receive these visitors” (World Tourism Organization, 2016).

Along with the expectation of a growing demand for tourism services by persons with disabilities, seniors and their families, provincial and federal governments are moving toward policy and legislative frameworks that will establish the expectations for accessibility. Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have legislation in place that mandates expectations for inclusion and accessibility by governments and business.  Internationally, there are growing strategies to attract the business of people with disabilities to the tourism industry. Customer demand for accessible tourism will continue to grow over the next decade.

Three key areas of accessibility include:

  • Customer Service: This includes business practices and training needed to provide better service to quests with disabilities.
  • Accessible Information and Communications: This addresses accessibility for information provided in person, through print, and websites.
  • An Accessible Built Environment. This refers to indoor space as well as outdoor space including sidewalks, curbs roadways and parks.

The Room for Accessibility session at the AHLA’s 98th Annual Convention and Tradeshow on Monday April 16th will provide ideas on best practices as well as provide resources/strategies to improve accessibility in these areas. The session will also cover information on the latest legislative and policy developments in Canada, including marketing ideas specific to this group of guests.