Airbnb announced its commitment to improve the experience of travelers with disabilities in their destinations in Costa Rica. To achieve this, a cooperation agreement has been signed with the National Council of People with Disabilities (Conapdis) and with the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network in order to promote accessible tourism among its hosts.
The areas of cooperation include: promoting development on the Airbnb platform and exploring the promotion of Costa Rica as a market for accessible travel, trainings for hosts in order to increase the use of accessibility criteria and awareness in respect of the rights of these people.
As part of these efforts, two educational workshops for Airbnb Hosts have already been taught in conjunction with Conapdis and the Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism where accessibility in general was discussed and participants were taught to activate accessibility filters within of the platform to make its spaces inclusive for more travelers. The workshops were attended by around 200 hosts on Airbnb.
“A sustainable destination like Costa Rica must have accessible tourism options. For this reason, there must be different accommodation options that adjust to people’s needs so that they can enjoy all the beauties that Costa Rica offers, regardless of any condition. And this is the commitment that Airbnb has signed with both Conapdis and the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network. ”Said Carlos Muñoz, Airbnb’s director of Public Affairs.
“Promoting and working on universal accessibility in tourist destinations benefits Costa Ricans, the economy, and national and international tourists. Tourist accessibility allows all people with or without disabilities to enjoy the wide range of services, attractions and destinations that our beautiful country offers on equal terms,”said Stephanie Sheehy, Director of the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network.
“Positioning Costa Rica as an accessible destination is a strategic priority to contribute to the economic reactivation so necessary for the tourism sector, but above all it is a commitment of a country that respects Human Rights towards people with disabilities, who like the the rest of the population have the right to leisure and recreation.
In addition, since according to the 2018 National Survey on Disability, 670,640 people over 18 years of age with a disability live in Costa Rica, this group together with foreign tourists who visit us represents a large market share to improve the economy, generate employment and project the country worldwide, ”added Francisco Azofeifa Murillo, executive director of Conapdis Costa Rica.
Muñoz added that the hosts in Costa Rica have the availability to learn and improve the experiences of every traveler to the maximum. As part of the support, Airbnb will prepare materials on how to make a space more accessible for people with disabilities, accompanied by experts in the field. This includes promoting among the hosts to include a more detailed description to have the greatest amount of information regarding the accessibility of their properties as well as clear photographs of the spaces they offer.
This will also be complemented by the filters that Airbnb has on its platform to make it easier for people with disabilities to find accommodations that suit their needs. The accessibility filters that Airbnb has added to their search options allow these people to find houses and apartments without steps, with entrances wide enough for a wheelchair, elevator, showers with a chair and many more possibilities.
According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people around the world are disabled. Of these, nearly 200 million experience difficulty participating in daily activities. This figure represents about 15% of the world’s population. In Costa Rica, the most recent National Survey on Disability (2018) determined that there are 18.2% of people over 18 with disabilities, this is equivalent to 670,640 people, of which 60.9% are women and 39.1% are men.