Earlier this year, I was asked to serve on the advisory board of the TravelAbility Summit, a new conference that will connect travel providers with accessible travel experts like yours truly.

The summit will be held in San Francisco, California from November 11-13. In a press release shared last week, TravelAbility identified 10 signs that accessible travel is going mainstream, which I am delighted to share with you below. Let’s hope this is just the beginning!

Upcoming TravelAbility Summit in San Francisco to bring travel industry and innovations in travel accessibility for individuals with disabilities for the first time

Conference organizers share the “Top 10 Signs That Accessible Travel is Going Mainstream” and invite travel professionals to register for this exclusive conference to be held November 11-13

(SAUSALITO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2019)—The first-ever conference bringing together the travel industry with product and service innovators dedicated to improving travel experiences for individuals with physical, visual, auditory and cognitive disabilities will be held November 11-13, 2019, at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. The goal of the conference, according to conference organizer, Jake Steinman, president of North American Journeys, “Make destinations accessible to everyone.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of U.S. residents with a disability is estimated at a quarter of the nation’s population, with that figure doubling among those aged 65 and older. “Travelers with a disability represent an underserved but growing segment of the population that has been neglected by the mainstream tour and travel industry,” says Steinman. “The travel industry has a huge opportunity and responsibility to help make travel more accessible—and the time to act is now. In fact, a recent study by the Harris Organization in partnership with Open Doors Organization estimates the size of the disability travel market at $17 billion dollars a year. We invite travel professionals to register now for this important conference on the conference website at http://travelabilitysummit.com/register/

To help define the market opportunity, the TravelAbility Summit has issued its first in a series of Travel Accessibility Insights: “Top 10 Signs Accessibility is Going Mainstream in Travel—and in Life.”

  • According to AARP research, over the next 20 years 75 million Baby Boomers, who have amassed the largest accumulation of wealth in history–and who have the time and desire to travel–will be aging into a disability.
  • Mattel will debut a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair this Christmas.
  • A strong Travel Weekly survey found that travel agents in one European country alone experienced a 50% increase in inquiries about accessible travel experiences.
  • The Brussels Airport, which has employed six people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to work as x-ray screeners as part of a pilot project, is reporting positive results.
  • Over 20,000 travel agents in the US have taken undergone a one-hour basic Autism awareness/response training sessions through IBCCES, and another 5,000 travel have been trained by Special Needs Group on accessible wheelchair travel.
  • The TravelAbility research team has identified over 50 technologies, Apps and products that make everything from traversing mountains to navigating museums more accessible.
  • Since launching its Adaptive Clothing line in 2018, Tommy Hilfiger has expanded the collection from children’s clothing to a full adult line.
  • The Skift Global Forum, the leading trend-forecasting conference in the travel industry, included its first accessible travel presentation, “Accessibility: What’s It Worth,” making the business case for Accessible Travel.

About the TravelAbility Summit

The TravelAbility Summit will be held from November 11-13, 2019 in San Francisco at the Hotel Kabuki, and is produced and presented by North American Journeys, a 22-year old company that specializes in “boutique” conferences and media for the tour and travel industry.  It is the first conference that brings together the travel industry with product and service innovators dedicated to improving travel experiences for individuals with disabilities—and the first conference held in the United States since 2003 focused on the accessible travel market.

The objective of the TravelAbility Summit is to provide attendees with an in-depth knowledge of the latest innovations and best practices currently in use, as well as a better understanding of the challenges that face travelers with disabilities. Additionally, the conference will focus on changing the perception of accessibility from a compliance issue to an important customer experience and business opportunity.

The TravelAbility Summit will open with a special LaunchPad session from 2:00pm to 5:00pm PT on November 11 featuring products, services and apps developed to make travel easier for people with disabilities, and will be followed by two full-day sessions of insightful workshops, panels, and networking opportunities on November 12 and 13.

For more information about the conference and to view the conference agenda, please visit www.TravelAbilitySummit.com.

Source: North American Journeys/Press Release

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