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Scottsdale focuses on improving travel for people with disabilities

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - 3:38pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - 5:25pm

Scottsdale has its eyes on a growing travel market: people with disabilities. 

Experience Scottsdale is partnering with Wheel the World, an online marketplace for travelers with disabilities. Company co-founder Camilo Navarro said they evaluate each business, tour and experience listed.

“We are raising accessible information in detail, we are organizing that information in such a way that our system can recommend, according to each individual need, what is the right fit for them, so this way we can guarantee an accessible experience whenever they travel,” he said.

As baby boomers age, the travel industry expects the number of travelers with disabilities to nearly triple to 33 million by 2028. 

“You cannot infer that people with disabilities have the same type of need, even compared to the same type of disability,” Navarro said. “So, for example, it is incorrect to infer that a wheelchair user has the same type of need as another person in a wheelchair.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one in four American adults has a disability that can include hearing, vision, mental health, among other things  A 2022 survey by MMGY Travel Intelligence found Americans with mobility disabilities spent more than $58 billion a year on travel.

Visit Mesa began using Wheel the World in early 2023. At that time, Alison Brooks, the group's vice president said, “Partnering with Wheel the World allows Visit Mesa to continue to deliver upon our vision of becoming the nation’s most accessible city. This partnership will allow visitors to travel to Mesa with confidence, allowing a less-stressful experience."