Let’s make accessible travel a reality

Svend Leirvaag

VP Industry Affairs, Amadeus IT Group

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More than two billion people around the world have accessibility needs due to disability, temporary or permanent, or accessibility challenges because of old age. It is a well-known fact that people with disabilities struggle when they want to travel, both before and during their trips, and that many of their needs are not being met by the service providers of the travel industry or by the public sector in the case of public transport.


Our new report Voyage of discovery: Working towards inclusive and accessible travel for all, finds that inaccurate or incomplete information is the biggest barrier to accessible travel, followed by the lack of skilled customer service.

Other takeaways from Voyage of discovery


  • The overall travel experience of people with accessibility needs is rated at 6.2 out of 10
  • Travelling by air is the preferred transportation method (35.9%)
  • Railway stations have the lowest satisfaction score, rated at 4.9 out of 10
  • The hospitality industry is ahead on accessibility, rated at 6.2 out of 10

The study was conducted by ILUNION, a consulting firm owned by the Spanish National Organisation for the Blind (ONCE). Research and interviews took place in the U.S, Europe and India - in total more than 800 interviews with travellers, industry experts, and representatives of governments and international institutions.

The report shows that travellers with accessibility needs increasingly expect their needs and requirements to be met as part of the mainstream service of the travel industry, and at no extra cost. The report also shows that 86% of them would travel more if travel information and services were made more accessible, indicating there is a significant commercial opportunity in the market for accessible travel, not least as a consequence of an ageing population in many countries.

It is obvious that technology will have to play a key role in enabling an accessible travel future. Available and emerging technology such as voice recognition and artificial intelligence are already being deployed in the industry, and in Amadeus we are actively exploring the potential for use cases across the travel ecosystem.

A sustainable travel and tourism industry is also inclusive and accessible. Amadeus’ commitment to shaping a more sustainable future for travel includes raising important topics for debate, and stimulating efforts to find new solutions that work for everyone. Accessibility is one such topic, where all parts of the travel and tourism value chain need to work together to establish new standards and approaches to accessibility, making travel and tourism accessible to all.

I invite you to download a copy of the Voyage of discovery: Working towards inclusive and accessible travel for allreport and I promise you an interesting voyage of discovery.