Valuable 500, a global business collective of 500 CEOs and their companies, ranked the 10 most accessible cities in the world based on a survey of 3,500 tourists with disabilities in five territories: the UK, Japan, China, the US and Australia.
Respondents to the survey rated each city’s accessibility as follows:
- transport connection
- the proximity of the accommodation to cultural attractions, shops and restaurants
- the availability of accessibility information
Caroline Casey, the founder of the Valuable 500, explained in a press release provided to CNBC Make It that while research shows that the listed cities have consistently performed well in terms of accessibility, globally there is still work to be done.
“Tourism boards are still not making the necessary progress to remove the physical and ethical barriers to ensure cities are truly accessible to all. Accessibility regulations for people with disabilities remain an afterthought for the travel and tourism industry,” said Casey.
The included cities were not placed in any particular order.
The 10 most accessible cities for people with disabilities
- Singapore, Singapore
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- New York, United States
- Orlando, United States
- Paris, France
- Shanghai, China
- London, United Kingdom
- Sydney, Australia
- Tokyo, Japan
3 of the 10 most accessible cities are in the USA
Three US cities made the list – Las Vegas, New York and Orlando.
According to the survey, most of the city’s hotels and venues have been almost fully ADA-compliant since the Las Vegas Strip was built and largely renovated after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
New York City was also highlighted because there is so much information available for people with disabilities planning to travel to the Big Apple.
The Official New York City Travel Guide has an accessibility page with a searchable database with the option to filter by different categories. It includes tourist attractions, museums, galleries, hotels and more.
Where New York City doesn’t fare well is how accessible, or not, the city’s subway system is. According to the Valuable 500, only about 29% of the city’s 472 subway stations are currently accessible to some degree.
Orlando, Florida was the last US city to make the list. It’s often ranked as one of the most accessible cities in the US, and part of that is thanks to the 12 theme parks that call Orlando home.
Six are operated by Walt Disney World, three by Universal Orlando Resort, and three by SeaWorld, and all offer accommodations not only for those with limited mobility, but also for visitors with visual, hearing, cognitive, and sensory disabilities.
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