How to be an advocate for accessibility and inclusion in travel

Author: Bianca Caruana

Sustainable travel is not just about taking your reusable water bottle with you wherever you go or organising a beach clean-up within your community. Sustainable travel is also about being an advocate for accessibility and inclusion in the industry.

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What do I mean by these two words, accessibility and inclusion? Why have they come up so often in discussions around travel and freedom of movement? Accessibility and inclusion are two pillars in our society that advance equality. They are the ingredients for a diverse, equitable world where hierarchy and inequality are matters of the past.

For a long time, we have failed to acknowledge how much travel and the freedom to roam is a huge privilege, not accessible to billions of people in our world today. If we examine the facets in which our ability to move freely across borders becomes more accessible, we unveil privileges like access to education, income inequality brought upon by currency appreciation and depreciation, the languages we speak, the passports we hold – essentially, the places and social structures we are born into.

It is for these reasons the discussion about accessibility and inclusion in travel, whether that’s short-term holidaying or long-term remote work, is so important. The inclusive travel industry does not discriminate. Let’s discuss how you can be an advocate for a more inclusive future of global mobility.

The ability to cross borders is a privilege and recognising the existence of this privilege is a profoundly important step in becoming actively involved in uplifting those who don’t yet bear those same privileges. If a problem in society is not openly recognised how can we, as a collective, discover the motivation and inspiration to find a solution? 

There is a great divide between those who have freedom of movement and those who don’t. Factors such as the passports we hold, the languages we speak and the currency we earn all play a role in this divide. There are several wonderful initiatives making travel inclusive and accessible, and an increasing number of entrepreneurs enter this space every year. By finding out about these initiatives, and supporting them, you are contributing to not only the cause but the solution as well.

One of them is Wheel The World, an initiative supporting people with disabilities through its online database of accessible travel experiences. In Nepal, Girls Empowered By Travel is an organisation that provides safe opportunities for women in Nepal to travel and get involved in community work. Quite often, women in developing nations lack the authority needed to gain access to freedom of movement.

In the Philippines, Equity Global Trek is a mission-based tourism project that offers transformational journeys, with the ultimate goal of achieving workforce equity in the trekking tourism industry by uplifting women and indigenous communities. In Bali, Nomads Giving Back! is working to make remote work more accessible by providing skillshare programs for local Indonesians.

Bianca Caruana is an Australian-Maltese freelance journalist and blogger.

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