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Tourism Industry Missing Out on Lucrative Market Segment

December 4, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Despite the global attention created by International Day of People with a Disability (Sunday, 3 December 2017), the Australian tourism industry is still missing out on this lucrative segment of the market.

  • 4.2 million Australians live with a disability – almost 20% of the population
  • During Q1 2017, 3.8 million overnight trips were taken by people with a disability generating $3.3 billion
  • 46% of travellers with a disability say their greatest challenge is a lack of essential destination information

Disability travel expert Julie Jones has first-hand experience of the challenges of travelling with a disability. Her son, a wheelchair user, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at five months of age. She created the blog Have Wheelchair Will Travel to provide guidance to others in a similar position.Jones urges the local travel and tourism industry to improve accessible offerings, a move that will not only benefit travellers with special needs, but also deliver business growth.

With a larger than average travel group size (2.8), higher average nightly spend ($615) and a greater propensity to travel during off-season, the local travel industry would see sizeable returns if they were to cater more for travellers with disabilities.

“Access to accurate information is the biggest barrier to travel for a lot of people with disabilities,” said Julie Jones. “It would be a great first step if the local industry proactively and perhaps more importantly realistically communicated the opportunities that exist for people with disabilities. It would give people with disabilities and their carers more confidence while travelling and the end result would be greater patronage – a win-win for everyone.”

By making their offerings more accessible for people with disabilities, tourism businesses would also improve their service for two more key market segments – the older generation, who often have mobility restrictions, and the family market, who travel with prams, strollers and children who are more sensitive to sensory experiences.

“Given travel expenditure in Australia for the first quarter of 2017 totalled $3.3 billion for people with disabilities, $2.9 billion for people over 50 and $2.7 billion for families, these markets deserve greater consideration and opportunity,” says Jones.

Julie is available for interview and can be contacted on 0421778693

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