Access for All
At least 20% of all travelers have mobility issues related to disability, injury, fitness or travel with children. These travelers are typically very challenged to obtain information on accessibility appropriate to their needs in advance of their travels. What if every traveler could easily obtain enough accessibility information online to decide for themselves, given their own limits and capacities, whether a site or accommodation is suitable for them to visit? While some types of information are made available, such as wheelchair access, this information is only useful to a small subset of travelers. Accessibility certifications have been developed to address this concern, but these programs are typically expensive for enterprises to pursue and are not available in many countries. A much simpler information set can fill this important gap.
Sustainable Travel International and Tourisk Inc. are developing an information product designed to address these challenges for travelers. iAccess is a new open source initiative which will mobilize online travel agents and other internet providers to be catalysts for sharing commonly needed information about accessibility to travelers before they book their trips. Rather than an enforceable standard, which may require a property or attraction to make major changes or pay for certification, we are creating a simple globally applicable and informed data set, along with templates for different types of travel and tourism services that describe potential barriers and the level of access available.
How Will Access For All Work?
iAccess will not require an onerous process or professional validation. A comprehensive data set for each service provider, describing access and barriers, will be outlined on a single web page. Based on our experience, a majority of the information will be easily obtained by the service provider. Accountability for accurate and honest information will be undertaken by travelers, and those who misrepresent the level of accessibility will be dropped from the system. The system can also serve as a portal to other useful information for travelers, such as certifications or information about available services to help those with challenges.
How Can I Get Involved?
Preview and comment on iAccess, a new tool designed to help make tourism more accessible for all.
Your comments and suggestions will help us to ensure that the iAccess information standard is relevant and practical for tourism destinations, enterprises, and travelers worldwide.
We have secured preliminary interest from Google Travel, Trip Advisor, and others. We are now seeking more partners to collaborate with, to bring this initiative to scale, and to ensure its success with major providers. Contact us for more information.