Accesible and Inclusive Travel Course

The first GSTC Accessible and Inclusive Travel Online Course was conducted from July 3rd to July 9th, 2023, and successfully concluded after three live sessions of talks, lessons, discussions, ideas, examples, and tips on accessibility and inclusion. The trainer was Martin Heng, former Lonely Planet’s Accessible Travel Manager and Editorial Adviser. Chris Veitch, an independent consultant with wide experience in accessible tourism, Carolyn Childs, CEO of, and Jane Cooper Managing Director of Access & Inclusion UK, were the course guest speakers.

The GSTC Accessible and Inclusive Travel Online Course was designed to empower participants with essential knowledge and skills to tap into the thriving accessible and inclusive travel market segment.

The Importance of Accessible and Inclusive Travel

 Ensuring that travel experiences are accessible to individuals with disabilities and access needs is a fundamental aspect of promoting inclusivity and equality. Accessible and Inclusive Travel opens up opportunities for people of all abilities to explore and enjoy the wonders of the world, breaking down barriers and creating memorable experiences for everyone.

By embracing accessibility and inclusivity, tourism businesses and destinations can tap into a significant market segment, expand their customer base, and increase their revenue. Moreover, it contributes to building a more diverse and tolerant society, where everyone has the freedom to explore and participate in travel experiences without limitations. Accessible and Inclusive Travel not only enriches the lives of individuals with disabilities but also enriches the entire travel industry, fostering innovation, collaboration, and a sense of community.

Highlights from the Course

By completing this course, participants developed a deeper understanding of how to deliver accessible and inclusive experiences for individuals with disabilities and others with access needs, allowing them to gain a competitive advantage and enlarge their market share.

Throughout the course, participants gained a further understanding of the size and potential of the accessible and inclusive travel market. The course successfully dispelled myths regarding the abilities of people with disabilities and others with access needs, promoting a more inclusive mindset among the attendees. It provided further insight into the composition of this market segment, allowing participants to better understand the diverse needs and preferences of these travelers.

One of the primary goals of the course was to enhance confidence in serving individuals with disabilities and access needs. The comprehensive understanding of the requirements of travelers with various functional and cognitive impairments, including seniors, empowers the creation of more accessible and inclusive experiences. Practical tips and guidance were provided on how to better attract, serve, and retain customers with access needs. The course also offered actionable strategies for the participants to implement in their businesses and real-life examples from its trainer, Martin Heng.

Broad Representation of Tourism Stakeholders

Professionals attended the course from 8 countries (Greece, Australia, United States, Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Japan) Participants came from various sectors and provided diverse perspectives: Tour Operator and Travel Agency, Government Organization, Conventions Bureau Destination/Tourism Board, Accommodation, Education, Research and Academia.

 What Participants Say

 Mami Futagami, Professor, Meijo University, from Japan said “The course provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn about the latest trends and critical issues regarding accessibility and inclusive tourism with much latest information and resources. With significant expertise in the field, the instructor, Mr. Martin Heng, well facilitated the course, encouraging us to think critically and reevaluate the course contents in our national and social contexts. The guest speakers were also very informative and helpful in showing some business cases of accessibility and inclusive tourism worldwide, which we could apply to our daily practices. After the course, I initiated to disseminate what I learned from the training course in my teaching circles. I hope to promote higher levels of accessibility and inclusive tourism in the destinations I work for as a sustainable tourism consultant.”

 Claire Dunlap, Director of Marketing & Sales, Cayuga County Visitor & Conventions Bureau, from the United States said “I very much appreciated the lived experience examples, and the actionable items that I or my partners could implement nearly straight away.” And Giovanna Tosetto, Professional Freelance, from Italy stated “The practical tools and links to more material that I can use for my profession”

Upcoming courses

 Our next GSTC Accessible and Inclusive Online Course will start November 6th, 2023.  More information on this one-week online course is here.