Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

A ‘buddy’ programme for travelers with and without disabilities

Planet Abled is a social business based in Delhi, India, that provides accessible travel solutions and leisure excursions for people with various disabilities, tailored to their individual needs. It also mixes and matches people of different disabilities and offers a travel buddy programme, whereby a fellow traveler with no disability assists the traveler with a disability. Since its start in 2016, 200 travelers with disabilities have used the Planet Abled services.

“I am partially blind and my wife is totally blind. The buddies were quite sensible and knew how to handle a blind person, explaining the surroundings very well in a pictorial manner. It was an awesome tour because of the excellent service and because we were able to explore tough places, which would not have been possible without Planet Abled services.”

Ushir Shah and Sonal of AhemadabadGujarat, on their travels to Ooty, a hill station in south India
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:A ‘buddy’ programme for travelers with and without disabilities
Organisation:Planet Abled
Country
of Implementation
India

FACTS & FIGURES

  • As of mid-2017, 300 travellers have utilized the service.
  • 70 per cent of all clients are recurring customers.
  • Planned Abled’s Customer Satisfaction Index is almost 100 per cent.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

People with a particular disability often remain in their group and rarely interact with those with other disabilities. Furthermore, few people without a disability have ever interacted with a person with a disability.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Planet Abled provides customized tours and travel opportunities focussed on the client’s individual abilities and based on Universal Design principles. It connects people with different disabilities to each other, as well as to people without disabilities, by unifying them through travel and recreation. The individualized tours range from river rafting and romantic getaways for couples to excursions with children, including those with multiple disabilities.
People with different disabilities on a rafting trip. As an additional service, Planet Abled has created a travel buddy programme, whereby they train non-disabled travelers on how to assist a person with a disability. The company offers a dignified and empathetic service in which persons with disabilities and their travel buddies are paying customers. Planet Abled recruits their travelers through their website, where anyone can register to become a buddy, and through word-of-mouth.
As of mid-2017, 200 travelers with disabilities and 100 without disabilities have enjoyed Planet Abled’s inclusive tours, and their travel buddies have become their brand ambassadors of inclusion and accessibility within their own communities.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

Planet Abled has expanded its portfolio of offerings, and now includes local heritage tours, food tours, pottery workshops, poetry and karaoke sessions, solo travel tours, and customized group tours, among others.
The company has approached various tourism institutions in India with the goal of making tourist areas more accessible, and local governments are supporting this effort. Planet Two men on wheelchairs and a woman dancing.Abled has not yet scaled-up to other countries, but other travel companies have since begun to offer accessibility travel in India, realizing the great potential of this business segment.
The social business is self-sustaining, as the tourists pay for their respective tours. If they are unable to pay, the company offers an option for third parties to gift the tours. Planet Abled also receives funding from civil society and draws on funds of the company founders, as needed.
FACTSHEET

Download factsheet as accessible Word
download

VIDEO

Watch Video of the Zero Project Award Ceremony
download