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More than 2 billion people around the world have accessibility needs. They want to be able to travel more, to be better connected and to be offered a greater variety of personalized services and destinations to choose from.
16 out of 100 people in the world’s population have some sort of accessibility need due to disability. In addition, 12 per cent of global population are over 65, representing 900 million people who may also have accessibility challenges, and who are increasingly more demanding of customized travel, as their spending power grows with the consolidation of the silver economy worldwide. These travelers expect nothing special - just to be able to plan, search, book and purchase their travels in an independent manner, like everybody else. Here’s where the needs of the industry and those of the traveler meet.
Accessible travel is a basic human right, but also a business opportunity for the industry. Amadeus opened the debate in 2017 with our in-depth white paper “Voyage of Discovery.” Since then, travelers’ requirements have become increasingly diverse and demanding.
We have been proactive in promoting and improving accessibility: we worked jointly with American Airlines on accessible websites and presented with them at California State University, Northridge (2018); we launched “Voyage of Discovery” identifying the needs of seniors and travelers with disabilities throughout the entire travel experience (2017); we have worked on making Check-in kiosks accessible for travelers with disabilities at U.S. airports (2016) and we redesigned Amadeus e-Retail in line with the US Department of Transportation’s guidelines to make airline websites accessible in the U.S. (2015). But our work doesn’t stop there.
Through our global research, we identified very interesting figures, such as the fact that 84% of travelers with accessibility needs travel with an average of 3 companions, and that travelers would increase their travel budget if accessibility was enhanced. Our white paper further signaled aspects to be improved, such as the need for more accurate and accessible information, a more professionalized customer service, and standardized content and service provision, in order to empower travelers to have a complete and successful door-to-door experience.
Achieving an inclusive landscape with accessible travel for all is an assignment for the whole industry. Amadeus is committed to helping our customers meet their customers’ needs. This can be best achieved through public and private sector partnerships, together with a forward-looking approach to what travelers need and how we can maximize their travel experience. Amadeus has recently created a new team that will explore travel technology solutions to empower reduced mobility travelers and make travel more inclusive for all.
We consider accessible travel a key element in our pledge to work towards a sustainable travel and tourism industry, in line with our ongoing support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goals 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 11 (sustainable cities and communities) are impacted here.
I encourage travel industry partners and the public sector to work together with us in making accessible travel our joint next step towards a more responsible and sustainable travel ecosystem!