Travability was formed in 2007 by Bill Forrester. Early in 2007 Bill’s mainstream travel agency was asked to organise a tour for a group of elite disabled sailors to attend their inaugural world championships in Toronto Canada. That regatta was a test event for the Skud 18 class as a precursor for the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. He was so frustrated with the lack of support from the general travel industry in regards to accessible travel arrangements that later that same year, together with Deborah he decided to do something about it and form Travability.
Initially Travability was set up as a vehicle to publish accessible travel information via its web site travability.travel. Today, Travability is a part of a worldwide group who’s mission is to create equality in accessibility in the hospitality and travel industries.
Our vision statement is simply “To make the world accessible to all”, and is underpinned with a philosophy that travel should be able to be enjoyed by everyone. Sometimes it represents the fulfilment of a dream held for a lifetime, other times it may be a simple day out with the family or friends. Whatever the desired experience is it should be “inclusive” so that people with a disability can enjoy it together with their family and friends.
We realized that often the issue with inclusive experiences wasn’t the availability of accessible venues, but rather the lack of information presented to enable people to make informed decisions. The information was either entirely lacking or where it did exist was lacking in the critical detail. Over the past four years Travability has been refining its information presentation to develop a model and associated templates to capture that critical detail and present information in a concise but relevant manner.
Over the last few years Travability has become part of a small group of international Inclusive Tourism experts and advocates who have realized that the Inclusive Tourism sector is a major minority group in the Tourism Market representing over 11% of the total tourism spend. The organisation has become a strong advocate for shifting the paradigm away from a disability rights issue, in favour of an economic argument, based on the value and competitive advantage to be derived from the Inclusive Tourism sector for the mainstream travel industry. The impact has been significant with Bill having been asked to speak at the SATH (Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality) world congress in 2009 in Orlando, The Inaugural Access Tourism New Zealand conference in Auckland in October 2010, the Opening Keynote address to the SATH World Congress in January 2011 in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and the recent VTIC (Victorian Tourism Industry Council) quarterly forum on the Economics or Inclusive and Accessible Tourism.
Travability is a member of SATH, ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism) and Tourwatch (An international incubator for the development of Inclusive Tourism)