Who are we?
Melissa James is the CEO and Founder of Inclusive Tourism, which is the parent to the multi award winning website cangoeverywhere.com.au She began her accessible tourism crusade after experiencing firsthand the difficulties of travelling with people with special requirements and the lack of information available to them.
Melissa is a qualified access consultant, specialising in the accessible tourism space. She can provide advice and support to operators wanting to implement change within their businesses. By helping them to identify barriers and implement simple, inexpensive improvements she enables them to maximize accessibility.
Since founding Inclusive Tourism, Melissa has developed and delivered educational programs, keynote addresses and was invited to speak at the World Summit on Accessible Tourism held in Brussels in 2018.
Melissa has worked with a variety of organisations ranging from small to large tourism operators, Destination Management organisations and Councils on a variety of projects.
Karen Collins has a 35 year career in health education and community development working in government and the community sector across Australia, including Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Karen is a qualified Access Consultant with expertise in ageing, disability and mental health. Most recently she has spent 8 years in local Government developing and implementing Tweed Shire Council’s first Access and Inclusion Plan 2014-2018 and the new Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) 2018-2021.
Karen’s qualifications also include Master of Arts in Community Development, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Sociology) and Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management.
Who do we work with?
We work with various organisations, government of all levels as well as the private sector.
Inclusive Tourism has developed accessible tourism products such as the Accessible Experiences Guides for Gold Coast Council in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games.
Destination Gold Coast employed our expertise to develop and promote tools and workshops to enable operators to better understand the market and take steps to accommodate and attract travellers of all abilities. With the help of funding from the Queensland Government, a mentoring project was run to take a select number of businesses through the process of becoming more accessible.
Melissa regularly runs workshops for local councils, often in partnership with Chambers of Commerce, to educate businesses about the accessible tourism market. The workshops provide an introduction to the market, its size and potential business opportunities. These are then followed up with Inclusive Customer Service workshops aimed at front line staff with ‘how to’ for patrons with accessibility requirements. People that undertake this training learn how to engage with confidence and understanding, helping them to provide their guests with the highest level of service.
See our Training page for more information about our training services.
Melissa is also a sought after speaker and contributes articles to a variety of publications. She speaks to many business groups, educating them on the practical elements, as well as the economic and social benefits of being accessible. This in turn is a positive for local communities as cafes, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses recognise the benefits of becoming accessible.
CanGoEverywhere was created to be the conduit between travellers and accessibility-friendly destinations and services. By providing information on accessible businesses and service providers around the country, CanGo helps people with special requirements have more confidence to travel and know their needs will be met – because let’s face it; everyone deserves a holiday without hassle!
Our vision for CanGo is for it to provide complete destination information. Not only will people be able to find somewhere to stay, but they’ll also be able to find what they can do, where they can eat and any other relevant information, such as equipment hire outlets.
This website is an ever evolving project. It has been designed by qualified access consultants and does not just provide information for wheelchair users. We want to provide information relevant to a broad range of people with many different disabilities and requirements.