Wheel the World has unveiled a new online travel marketplace to provide accessible travel to those living with disabilities.
Backed by Booking.com, the accessible travel start-up has created a one-stop-shop for travellers with disabilities offering accessible tours and experiences, including accommodations and transportation by partnering with curated local tour operators who are trained and certified Wheel the World team members.
Through an extensive research process, Wheel the World identifies necessary accessibility requirements and equipment and trains its operators to develop inclusive trips designed to accommodate those with disabilities.
From multi-day trips with outdoor activities, such as hiking, scuba diving and kayaking, to single day activities like ziplining in Costa Rica and handbiking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or through Central Park in New York, the start-up currently offers more than 30 travel destinations through its platform, including accommodations, activities and transportation.
Destinations include Patagonia, Maui, Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Santiago, Mexico, and Costa Rica, with plans to have 150 destinations and tour packages by the end of 2020.
The idea for Wheel the World came from the personal journey of two best friends, determined to see the world together. Co-founders Álvaro Silberstein and Camilo Navarro, both from Chile, embarked on the challenge of completing the W Circuit in Patagonia, with Silberstein, a quadriplegic, in a hiking wheelchair.
“We truly believe adventure is for all and that’s why we are committed to creating inclusive tourism and eliminate the barriers that keep people from travelling,” said Álvaro.
“While people might not think they have the opportunity to travel like this, we believe we can help everyone enjoy our amazing world without limits.
“We started promoting trips to isolated places like our original trip to Patagonia. However, we realised that people with disabilities still struggle to find even more traditional travel experiences that are designed to be accessible. So, we expanded to all types of travel including cultural, leisure, vacation and city explorations.”
Last year, Silberstein became the first quadriplegic to traverse an 11-kilometre section of the Inka trail. You can read more about that here.