TravAbility is dedicated to Inclusive Tourism through education, advocacy, and by providing accessibility information for the world’s best travel destinations.
Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.
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.
Travability is now a 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.
Travability is a member of SATH, ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism) and Tourwatch (An international incubator for the development of Inclusive Tourism)
Meet the Founder
Bill was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. As a child he was fortunate to travel to many parts of the world and to learn and appreciate cultures other than his own. That passion for learning and understanding has never left him. Bill spent most of his working life in the corporate field in both financial and operation roles. He specialised in corporate and cultural change. He has extensive experience in facility management, major project delivery, stakeholder relations and corporate training programs. He has worked in the private, mutual, and government sectors.
In 2007 Bill established Travability as a specialist travel agency catering for travellers with a disability and as an industry consultancy to help tourism providers and destination managers to develop accessible experiences. Bill is an acknowledged world thought leader on the economics of Accessible Tourism