Customized holidays for visually impaired people


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About the project Edit

Traveleyes is a UK-based travel company whose primary function is to make independent world travel more accessible, and more interesting, for the blind and visually impaired. Traveleyes offers "multi-sensory experience" holiday packages worldwide for number-balanced groups of sighted and non-sighted holidaymakers. Every day, each visually impaired traveller is partnered with a different sighted traveller who describes the sights to illuminate the experience for their travel buddy. Established in 2005, the company is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire (United Kingdom). It was founded by blind entrepreneur, television actor, director and world traveller Amar Latif.

Each holiday group includes an equal number of blind/partially-sighted and sighted individuals. Blind travellers pair daily with different sighted ones, and the sighted traveller describes the sights to their blind partner. The role of the sighted individual is to be a fellow traveller and not to act as a carer. As well as acting as a holiday operator, Traveleyes works in conjunction with Lonely Planet travel guides to produce specially formatted travel guides for blind and visually impaired travellers.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Traveleyes is the world’s first commercial international air tour operator (as distinct from a charity) to specialise in serving blind as well as sighted travellers. Before the emergence of Traveleyes, very few customized holidays were available for visually impaired people. Those that did exist were generally restrictive in terms of destinations, and often tended to be inflexible and very expensive. With Traveleyes, the visually impaired world traveller is no longer required to "tag along" as either a welcome or tolerated appendage to the peer-group holiday.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

For visually impaired travellers this means they don't always have to organise willing travel companions in advance. Instead they can simply browse Traveleyes' (highly accessible) website or audio brochure, phone to confirm a booking, and then jet off with new-found independence. Sighted travellers benefit from a discounted price, and, the organisers believe, a more rewarding experience than they would get on a conventional package holiday.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Although based in the UK, Traveleyes now takes bookings from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and indeed all parts of the world.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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