When you talk about Accessible Tourism, the first reaction is often how challenging it is to meet the needs of this sector. That’s not the case for MyTravelResearch.com’s Carolyn Childs.

At MyTravelResearch.com, we started looking at this market about two years ago when we heard Bill Forrester of Travability talk on the subject.

The more we looked, the more we got excited. In fact, we estimate it could be one of the largest and most exciting opportunities for the tourism industry because it is a market that…

 

1. IS AS VALUABLE AS CHINA

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Work we did with Tourism Research Australia, Tourism Events & Visitor Economy (Victoria) and Tourism & Events Queensland (TEQ), estimated the value of the domestic Accessible Tourism Market to be more than $8billion[1].

Travability estimates the value of the inbound market at $2.8 billion[2]. Combined, the contribution of Accessible Tourism to the Australian Visitor Economy could be $10.8 billion. i.e. greater than the $9.1 billion spend by Chinese tourists in Australia in a comparable period. Internationally the value is at least $17.5bn in the US (Open Doors Foundation) and GBP12.4bn

 

2. IS BIG AND ONLY GOING TO GET BIGGER 

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Globally the world’s population is aging and incidence of disability or of extra needs is only going to grow. In the next 15 years, the UN[3] projects the proportion of the population aged over 60 is expected to grow by 58% reaching 1.4 billion.

By 2050 that will be 2.1 billion. Already a billion people face some sort of disability.

 

3. IS UNDER SERVED BY THE MARKET

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This is the truly exciting piece. Most of the evidence suggests that the majority of the industry (perhaps as much as two-thirds) has no active strategy to attract this market. As such, this is a true blue-ocean opportunity. Those pioneers like Jervis Bay Wild who have targeted this market have prospered.

 

4. IS HUNGRY FOR WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER

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People with a disability are hungry for meaningful or even just enjoyable experiences. They have families and carers and they want to spend quality time with them.  Marketing campaigns run by Visit England had amazing ROI. There’s also evidence that travellers with a disability can be very loyal to experiences that meet their needs.

 

5. IS NOT AS HARD TO SERVE AS WE THINK

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Many of the activities and experiences this market wants are no different to the broader travelling population. And while a transition to a fully inclusive tourism experience may take a bit longer, there are usually a few simple steps any business or destination can take to grow this market.

Gold Coast Tourism and Destination Melbourne have both been pioneers in this space, encouraging businesses to assess their potential, identify some ‘quick wins’ and start promoting them.  A beach mat that opens access to beaches to anyone in a wheelchair can cost as little as $1,500. And there are increasingly resources to help you identify the opportunities for you.

To me, it’s not a question of why would you serve this market but why on earth you WOULDN’T want to.

To find out more, download our infographic here.

You can also download the TRA Executive Summary here and request the full report from TRA at the same site.  We’ve prepared a full report on the topic for our Members, which KARRYON readers can Access by contacting me directly on [email protected]

[1] https://www.tra.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/258/Executive%20Summary_Accessible_tourism_Vic_Qld_FINAL_Jan%202018.pdf.aspx
[2] http://travability.travel/blog-node/understanding-opportunity-australia-accessible-tourism
[3] http://www.accessibletourism.org/resources/toolip/doc/2014/06/09/guisette-and-li_eu-accessible-tourism_economic-demand-study.pdf

 

What are your thoughts around Accessible Tourism?