TravelManagers PTM champions accessible travel at AITCAP

TravelManagers PTM champions accessible travel at AITCAP
Edited by Travel Weekly


    TravelManagers’ Michelle Aitken was among 190 delegates to attend the recent Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference in the Asia Pacific (AITCAP).

    Aitken quotes a recent report authored by the event’s MC, Giovanna Lever, that outlined the scale, opportunities and challenges associated with travel for people with disabilities.

    “The report found that people with disabilities contributed almost $11 billion to the Australian tourism market (domestic and international) in 2018, while newer data indicates that this figure reached around $13.5 billion in 2021,” Lever said.

    “Yet despite this vast spending power, there are still widespread issues with accessible accommodation, air travel and transportation.”

    Aitken believes the accessible and inclusive travel sector is currently under-represented and overlooked by many in the travel industry, but she says her attendance at AITCAP provided introductions to a number of operators who are already doing great things in the accessible and inclusive tourism space.

    PTM Michelle Aitken believes events such as AITCAP are key to fostering more widespread support for Accessible and Inclusive Travel

    Aitken’s own interest in accessible and inclusive travel stems from her own personal and professional experiences. As well as managing her own requirements and those of family members, through her business based in Benalla, VIC, she has organised numerous large overseas groups on behalf of Melbourne-based Disability Support Organisation, Interchange Outer East.

    “Regardless of the nature of the disabilities people are living with, I feel passionate about making it easier for families to holiday together,” she explained.

    “Knowing how to ask the right questions is paramount to understanding their needs and providing them with the best possible experience.”

    For personal travel managers like Aitken, that means developing the necessary skills to recognise and accommodate various clients’ needs – especially for those with ‘hidden disabilities’, who currently account for around 95 percent of all disabilities in Australia.

    “Planning a holiday is something everyone should be able to enjoy,” she pointed out.

    “As Australia’s ageing population increases, the demand for travel professionals that truly understand how to manage their clients’ needs is only going to become more important. I’d like our industry to move beyond thinking of this as a niche market so that we all become better at meeting the needs of every traveller.”


    Featured Image: TravelManagers’ Michelle Aitken has drawn on her own experiences to understand how best she can understand and fulfill the individual needs of her clients. (Supplied)

    Latest News

    • Food & Beverage
    • Hotels

    Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral announces partnership with Lotus Dining Group

    Renowned Lotus Dining Group will offer a new dining experience at Southern Highlands property, Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral, Seibu Prince Hotels & Resorts has announced.  Scheduled to open on 1 September, Lotus will bring its acclaimed Asian cuisine to the Southern Highlands with a hyper-local twist. Diners can expect a blend of favourite Lotus dishes […]

    • Hotels

    Nozo Hotel Furano announce winter season exclusive package

    Nozo Hotel Furano in Hokkaido has announced a special invitation to Aussie and Kiwi travellers with an exclusive winter package, in anticipation of its first anniversary. The hotel are offering a 30 per cent discount on all rooms and breakfasts for seven-night stays or more. The offer marks the hotel’s milestone celebration and ushers in […]

    • Conferences

    Melbourne and Geelong convention centres pave the way for accessibility and inclusion

    The operators of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the future Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre have taken a significant step towards inclusivity with the launch of their latest Accessibility Action Plan. Welcoming visitors from diverse backgrounds, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET) is committed to providing safe spaces to connect and engage. […]

    • Cruise
    • News

    AmaWaterways celebrates 22nd anniversary with offers on 2025 trips

    As AmaWaterways embarks on its 22nd year, the luxury river cruise line has announced a range of savings offers to make river cruising even more accessible to both new and experienced cruisers. Travellers planning ahead can enjoy savings of up to 20 per cent on a range of European itineraries in 2025. Solo travellers also […]