ATEC launches new accessible & inclusive travel training

asian indian beautiful woman with disability using wheelchair exploring downtown district in kuala lumpur

In a world where people have differing travel needs – from wheelchair users to vision-impaired, less mobile seniors or parents with toddlers – embracing inclusive travel is a must.

And with research showing that more than 20 per cent of the travel market requires accessible travel measures, inclusive travel advocate Martin Heng has warned that the travel industry can’t afford to ignore this segment any longer.

Heng has worked with the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and Tourism Australia to develop and deliver the new Accessible and Inclusive Host training program, which aims to help tourism businesses understand key considerations for successfully servicing and attracting travellers with specific access needs.

The program focuses on addressing service expectations and offering tips for successful promotion to reach this target segment.

“Inclusive travel is more than ensuring you have accessibility; it’s about considering the needs of all of your visitors and is really no more than good customer service,” Heng said.

“Just by asking how can I help or what can I do for you, you are showing a willingness to offer service and that attitude can go a long way towards mitigating any other physical challenges. And it signals you are not making assumptions about someone’s ability.”

The Accessible and Inclusive Host program is designed for tourism operators large or small, with or without experience in the accessible and inclusive market.

Featuring three modules, the program aims to help operators understand the needs of travellers with different functional and cognitive impairments, including senior travellers and provide information on what influences their travel decisions and how best to attract and retain members of this large and growing travel segment.

Heng said inclusive travel is not only equitable but valuable as people with disability tend to spend more and travel in bigger parties.

“In the disability communities, the value of word-of-mouth recommendations is huge – and potentially hugely valuable to a tourism operator,” he said.

“People with disability have the same travel aspirations as every other tourist. They want access and to be able to do what everyone else wants to do; they just have specific requirements that need to be met.

“Small changes can make a huge difference and embracing inclusiveness is the first step in attracting anyone with different access needs.”

Many operators see financial barriers as an issue in providing more accessible product, but Heng said this is a myth.

“Becoming an accessible tourism business need not be expensive,” Heng said.

“My primary advice for a tourism business is: don’t be scared. Don’t worry about not being fully accessible because an inclusive mindset can help to overcome a lot of barriers.

“There are many low- or no-cost solutions so start small and do low-cost alterations that will really benefit a wide range of people in a lot of different ways.

“Ask yourself, how can I welcome people more effectively and remember inclusion is less about physical and more about attitudinal change?”

Image: iStock/Edwin Tan

Latest News

  • Cruise

Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

  • Cruise

MSC World America to become the ultimate family destination at sea

MSC Cruises’ latest world-class ship is set to redefine family cruising with unprecedented spaces and activities, including ones developed in partnership with the LEGO® group. The cruise line announced that its new flagship will feature seven distinct districts, each bringing together a range of tailored experiences. The ship’s blend of American comfort and European design […]

  • Cruise

Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]

  • News

Liz Anderson steps down from CATO Board after eight years of leadership

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has today announced that Liz Anderson (at right) will be stepping down from the Board on Wednesday June 19, concluding her eight years as a director. “The eight years that Liz served on the CATO board were the most transformative time in the Association’s history,” CATO Chair Dennis […]

  • Attractions

Comedian Josh Thomas road tests swapping day job for Tassie odd jobs

Australians are invited to tap into a 200-million-day annual leave bank* and swap day jobs for one of 10 ‘Odd Jobs’ in Tasmania this off-season including Wombat Walker, Paranormal Investigator, Wine Whisperer and Truffler Snuffler. Tourism Tasmania has today launched Odd Jobs, a tongue-in-cheek campaign designed to encourage Australians to swap their day jobs for […]

  • Aviation
  • News

Christine O’Reilly to replace Peter Hay as chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation

Christine O’Reilly has been named as the new chair of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) – the owner of Melbourne and Launceston Airports. According to a release, O’Reilly will replace Peter Hay on 1 October, who retires after five years as Chair of APAC. APAC CEO Lorie Argus said O’Reilly’s appointment comes at an exciting […]

  • Tourism

The number one thing you can’t forget if you’re going to Europe & The Olympics

As the Summer Olympics in Paris draws near, travel insurance comparison site Compare the Market is urging travellers to safeguard their European summer sports dreams by getting travel insurance for when the unexpected happens. While France seems like a decently safe country to visit, it’s crucial not to overlook the potential risks that could disrupt a holiday. From bed […]

  • Destinations
  • Partner Content

The Solomon Islands’ is ‘Kulture-plus’

Be grateful that your experience of 'headhunting' is limited to some random dude reaching out to you on LinkedIn.

Partner Content

by Travel Weekly

Travel Weekly
  • Cruise

Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

  • Cruise

Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

  • Destinations
  • Tour Operators

Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

  • Hotels

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]