New research shows that disabled tourists are paying AUD $560 (approx. USD 375.79) more than non-disabled customers for travel insurance cover to go on holiday, a significant premium compared to those without disabilities.
The survey findings come at a time when inflation is placing undue pressure on those with disabilities, who already face significant additional costs in their day-to-day lives. Three in five (60%) listed at least one challenge they faced while travelling due to the agent or provider they were using not being accessible to disabled people. One-fifth of disabled people reported feeling unsafe and scared when travelling.
Because of this, feelings of embarrassment, isolation and being disregarded were also felt by a quarter of the respondents that were surveyed.
The Valuable 500 is the largest global collective of CEOs committed to disability inclusion. High profile members include Expedia, Airbnb, Heathrow Airport, and British Airways.
The business collective has released a 7-point manifesto that each travel industry provider should abide by to ensure best practice. Caroline Casey, founder, Valuable 500 commented: This research adds to a burgeoning list of discrimination that people with disabilities face daily. When a hotel, restaurant or transport provider is inaccessible you’re leaving a proportion of business on the table.
The global spending power of people with disabilities is estimated to be $13 trillion annually, so the business case for the travel industry to put accessibility first, and not as an afterthought is absolutely imperative. This can be rectified by putting disabled staff and consumers at the heart of the travel business. If you put inclusive and accessible design at the heart of the business, its not only gives access to the disability market but it’s better for everyone.
Kathy Martinez, VP for Global Disability Inclusion at Expedia: “Travel strengthens connections and broadens horizons, yet historic, physical and societal barriers often limit equitable access to travel. Disability is a natural part of the human condition. Everyone should have the right to travel, no matter their ability. Expedia Group is committed to creating a more open world and lessening equity gaps. By collaborating with our vast network of partners on resources like our Lodging Accessibility Guide, we are able to share best practices and work together towards a collective goal to ensure travellers with disabilities are valued and included.”