Travel For All is the digital tourism guide for people with accessibility needs due to age, disability, accident or illness. Based in Kingston Beach, Tasmania, the startup offers accessibility toolkits for tourism operators as well as an online travel directory with filter searches for those with accessibility needs.
Founded in 2019 by Dale and Jo Reardon, the startup has quickly garnered a dedicated community of over 45,000 across social channels, as well as community generated reviews, experiences, blogs and forums including a previous base community from their first startup My Disability Matters Club.
Dale, who is legally blind and uses a seeing-eye dog named Charlie (who doubles as the mascot for Travel For All) recognised that when he and Jo travelled for either business or pleasure they had to put a lot of undue thought and research into choosing locations, specific accommodation, activities and attractions.
With approximately 1 in 5 people in Australia having a disability of some form, the founders recognised a huge pain point for a large demographic. After a trip to Paris in 2019, Dale and Jo realised how widespread the problem is and began to build a scalable solution.
Dale said, “When we were in Paris last year, a lifetime ago, we had a very bad experience with an AirBnB host who completely lied about their properties features and facilities. AirBnB admin didn’t really care and didn’t want to enforce any standards for fear of upsetting the host. We learnt that allowing property owners and operators to publish and promote wholly unverified accessibility information could not be relied upon. When we did some additional online research and conducted a survey we discovered this was a widespread problem and major pain point for travellers with accessibility needs.“
Dale and Jo also recognised that there were many accessibility features often overlooked or misunderstood by tourism vendors beyond wheelchair access, such as providing grass for service animals, walkability and accessible room controls.
“As we point out to business fewer than 5% of people with disability use a wheelchair so it is not all about spending money to create wheelchair accessible facilities. That of course is important but there is a much bigger market to attract as well, that may not involve spending money, but providing the information they require and having the right attitude.”
With that in mind, Travel For All not only promotes inclusive tourism operators and experiences, but also provide the resources needed for all operators to have the confidence and skills to actively market to this growing and loyal sector.
Since launch, Travel For All completed their first fully verified assessment of the Port Arthur Historic Site, a major national award winning tourism site. This came about after a local Tourism incubator program where they were selected for additional mentoring.
The Founders were also selected to be part of the Advance Queensland Horizon Tourism accelerator that took place at Fishburners in Brisbane.
Dale said, “We received great support from Fishburners during the program and afterwards. Meeting other startup founders and receiving financial benefits and support and guidance from Fishburners has been terrific.”