Trailblazers in accessible travel

Trailblazers in accessible travel

Trailblazers in accessible travel – The Accessible Travel Foundation is the non profit affiliate for Accessible Travel Online. One of the foundation goals is to raise awareness, as accessible travel needs specialists and out-of-the-box thinkers making it possible. This year, true Trailblazers in the industry receive the first ATO Awards of Excellence.

5 categories

In 5 categories some outstanding entrepreneurs deserve their place in the spotlight. Accessible Travel Accommodation, Accessible Travel Product, Accessible Travel App, Accessible Travel Agency and Accessible Favorite by Public Vote.


Accessible Accommodation  Great Ocean Stays

Accessible Travel Products – Beach Trax by Acces Trax

Accessible Travel App Welcome by Neatebox

Accessible Travel AgencySano Touring

Accessible Favorite of the YearLazarillo App

To read the stories of these trailblazers scroll down to see what they do and how they truly are trailblazers in accessible travel.

Christine Smith – Australia – Accessible Travel Accommodation

In Ocean Grove, Victoria, you will find 4 fully accessible luxury holiday rentals, near the famous Ocean Road and minutes from the beach. Christine Smith, multi award winning disability advocate, mom of 4 and above all excellent travel entrepreneur is setting the tone for fully accessible properties. The 4 houses available through her company Great Ocean Stays are fully equipped with accessible kitchen, bathroom and bedroom interiors.

We did not have to think long to decide that the ATO Award of Excellence in the first special edition of Trailblazers in the category of Accessible Travel Accommodation is given to Christine Smith.

Kelly Twichel – United States – Accessible Travel Product

Kelly Twichel from San Diego is a beach person, as everyone in California is. During her studies in occupational therapy, she got involved in a product challenge. The result is the absolutely innovative Beach Trax: a lightweight, foldable pathway to be used on the beach, or any outdoor terrain, empowering people of all mobility types with on-demand access.

In the first year alone, her Beach Trax found their way around the world. From Costa Rica to Japan to Europe and of course in the United States. Kelly’s company Access Trax has been nominated several times and we know this trailblazer will be doing a lot of traveling!

It is our pleasure to give Kelly the first ATO Award of Excellence in the first special edition of Trailblazers in the category of Accessible Travel Product.

Gavin Neate – United Kingdom – Accessible Travel App

Award winning Welcome app was created by Gavin Neate, a brilliant entrepreneur from Scotland. Gavin, a former guide dog instructor, has worked with people with a disability for almost 25 years.

He developed Welcome, after identifying a real problem with staff training and disability awareness. In today’s digital world, we are more connected than ever. Gavin believes in true societal change, Welcome is a great tool for that.

By using his knowledge and experience, combined with technology, the Welcome app was born in 2017. In a very short period of time, 55 locations across the UK and Ireland subscribed to this service. (banks, governments, galleries, councils and airports).

We are delighted to share Gavin Neate receives the ATO Award of Excellence in the first special edition of Trailblazers in the category of Accessible Travel App.

Cristina Caluianu – Romania – Accessible Travel Agency

Cristina is a true entrepreneur with vision. Always choosing quality over quantity and aiming for the best. She has many skills that are crucial to reach her goal: put Romania on the accessible travel map. Her travel agency Sano Touring is a true favorite among travelers in Romania.

She has years of experience in the travel industry, in consulting projects in tourism and knows several languages too. She can easily switch between having a one on one conversation sharing tourist info with one of her clients visiting Romania and consulting management on the highest level, sharing her knowledge as a consultant in European projects related to accessible tourism or cultural heritage.

Cristina is always seeing the greater picture of contributing to society at large; she receives the ATO Award of Excellence in the first special edition of Trailblazers in the category of Accessible Travel Agency.

Rene Espinoza – Chile – Accessible Favorite by Public Vote

Lazarillo – a navigation app for the blind and visually impaired

The Lazarillo app provides orientation everywhere in the world having more than 140.000 users in 29 countries, anyone can download Lazarillo and start using right away, on top of Lazarillo we have a platform that we use to map locations that doesn’t exist on any map, like University campuses, hospitals buildings, shopping centers, tourist parks and more.

In 2019 the app won the Award of Excellence Accessible Favorite by Public Vote with 432 votes.

2020 registration is now open

Nominations for 2020 candidates can be made after December 3, 2019. Register here.