Valuable 500, a global business collective of 500 CEOs and their companies, listed the 10 most accessible cities in the world based on a survey of 3,500 tourists with disabilities across five territories: the UK, Japan, China, the U.S., and Australia.
Respondents to the survey rated the accessibility of each city according to the following:
- transport links
- the proximity of accommodation to cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants
- the availability of information about accessibility
Caroline Casey, the founder of the Valuable 500, stated in a press release shared with CNBC Make It that although the research shows that the cities listed have consistently scored well in accessibility, there is still much work to do worldwide.
“Tourist boards still aren’t making the necessary headway to remove the physical and ethical barriers to ensure cities are truly accessible for all. Accessibility arrangements for people with disabilities remain an afterthought for the travel and tourism industry,” Casey stated.
The cities included were not ranked in any particular order.
- Singapore, Singapore
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- New York, U.S.
- Orlando, U.S.
- Paris, France
- Shanghai, China
- London, UK
- Sydney, Australia
- Tokyo, Japan
Three cities in the U.S. made the list — Las Vegas, New York, and Orlando.
According to the survey, since the Las Vegas strip was built and mostly renovated after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, most of the city’s hotels and venues are almost entirely ADA compliant.
New York City was also highlighted because of how much information is available for people with disabilities who are planning to travel to The Big Apple.
The official guide to New York City has an accessibility page that features a searchable database with the option to filter for 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 subway system is in the city. Currently only about 29% of the city’s 472 subway stations are accessible to a certain extent, according to Valuable 500.
Orlando, Florida was the final U.S. city to make the list. It is often ranked as one of the most accessible cities in the U.S. and part of that is thanks to the 12 theme parks that call Orlando home.
Six are run by Walt Disney World, three by Universal Orlando Resort, and three by SeaWorld and all of them offer accommodations for not just those with mobile disabilities but visitors with vision, hearing, cognitive and sensory disabilities too.
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