Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality Logo


Oct 25, 2004
Contact: Karen Hoffman
The Bradford Group

For Immediate Release

Annual Award Presented at World Travel Market in London by American Express Company, International Herald Tribune and
Reed Travel Exhibitions

LONDON, Nov. 8, 2004 – The Seventh Annual World Tourism Award, co-sponsored by American Express Company (AMEX), International Herald Tribune (IHT) and Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), was presented at a special ceremony on Opening Day at World Travel Market, ExCel Centre, London. The 2004 Award Honoree is the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH), a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the needs of all travelers with disabilities, remove physical and attitudinal barriers to free access, and expand travel opportunities around the world.

The Award was presented in recognition of SATH’s “ extraordinary vision and pioneering work in opening the door to ‘the world’ for travellers with disabilities, the mature and elderly, through its educational programs for all sectors of the travel industry on how to cater to the special needs of this lucrative and rapidly expanding niche market.”

The World Tourism Award 2003 presentation took place in the Central Exhibition Area at ExCel Centre. The Award itself is a specially designed Steuben Crystal bridge entitled, PARTNERSHIP, which “celebrates the bond of a supportive partnership, which like a bridge, spans both time and distance.” Presenting the Award on behalf of the sponsors were: Donna Flora, CTC, Vice President, Travel Industry Relations, American Express Company; Will Nicholson, Managing Director, Global Sales, International Herald Tribune & New York Times; Sarah MacInness, Regional Director, Africa & Middle East, International Herald Tribune; and Tom Nutley, Chairman, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Stuart Vidockler, SATH Chairman, and son of Murray Vidockler, the founder and visionary behind SATH, accepted this year’s award. Since its founding in 1976, Murray Vidockler’s original motto, “No discount for the handicapped; Charity No, Service Yes,” is now accepted. Equality succeeds through basic laws of free enterprise.

It is the economic benefit to the travel industry, that is the focus of the annual SATH World Congress held annually in January at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel. More than 300 delegates from all over the world, including destinations, cruise lines, attractions, hotels, airlines and rental cars, attend the SATH congress and Trade Show.

According to Stuart Vidockler, “Disability travel is often described as a “niche market,” but there are estimated to be 859 million people worldwide with disabilities. Within the United States alone, as of 1994-95, 20.6 percent of the population – 54 million people had a disability. In Europe, Deloitte Touche in 1991 estimated that there were 50 million people with disabilities at any given time, roughly 14 percent of the population.”

At the SATH World Congress, January 16th, 2003, the Open Doors Organization in cooperation with the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and SATH, released a landmark study conducted by Harris Interactive. The study suggested that people with disabilities could spend at least $27 billion per year if certain needs were met. These include a ”meet and greet” at airports and preferred seating as top issues for the airlines while lodging issues include the need for rooms to be close to amenities and staff members that go out of their way to accommodate guests with disabilities. People with disabilities spent $13.6 billion on 31.7 million trips in the past year (2002).

In 2001, the airline industry saw $3.3 billion, in spending by travelers with disabilities, resulting in 52,800 jobs created to provide services for people with disabilities. The lodging industry saw 4.2 billion in spending and 60,000 jobs. The Study also suggested that people with disabilities could at least double their spending generating $6.4 billion for airlines and $8.4 billion for lodging if the needs of travelers with disabilities were addressed. Currently travelers with disabilities generate a total of 194,000 travel related jobs, $4.22 billion in payroll and $2.52 billion in tax revenues in the U.S.

SATH, founded in 1976, is a non-profit educational organization that has actively represented travelers with disabilities since 1976. It promotes awareness, respect and accessibility for disabled and mature travelers and employment for people with disabilities in the tourism industry. SATH holds an annual World Congress and Trade Show for the Travel Industry in Miami, Florida. The 2005 Congress, the ninth annual, will be held January 12-16, 2005, at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel. SATH also holds an annual Awareness Week which has the support of major players in the Airline, Hotels & Lodging, Rental Cars, Cruise lines and Credit Card and Financial Services. For more information about SATH visit; email

The annual World Tourism Award, established in 1997 by American Express, International Herald Tribune and Reed Travel Exhibitions, recognizes the extraordinary initiatives by individuals, companies, organizations, destinations and attractions, for outstanding accomplishment in the travel industry.”

The 1997 Award recognized "World Peace Through Tourism" and the honorees were the member countries of MEMTTA (Middle East Mediterranean Travel & Tourism Association): Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Tunisia and Turkey;
the 1998 Award was for "Outstanding Economic Development Through Tourism" and was presented in association with American Tourism Society (ATS) to the "new emerging Europe," Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland; the 1999 Award, presented in association with the Pacific Asia Travel Association, was presented to the China National Tourism Administration and the Hong Kong Tourist Association for the "Outstanding Impact of Travel And Tourism on Generating Employment Growth.”

The WTA 2001 Honorees were the Mexico Ministry of Tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board in recognition for "The newly forged public / private sector partnership and the dramatic increase in tourism;" in 2002, the WTA theme was "Training the Next Generation in Travel & Tourism" and the Award was presented to the New York Academy of Travel & Tourism, Virtual Enterprises, International™ (career programs within the New York City Department of Education) and the Institute for Virtual Enterprise at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York. The Award was presented in recognition of "the outstanding vision and partnership between the New York City Department of Education, Kingsborough-The City University of New York and the Travel and Tourism Industry for inspiring and training high school and college students for careers in Tourism through classroom study, virtual enterprises and internships." In 2004, The World Monuments Fund was honored in “recognition of its leadership role in the rescue and preservation of imperiled works of art and architecture, and its devotion to onsite conservation of monuments and sites worldwide, crossing geographic, cultural, and national boundaries to preserve the world’s diverse and rich heritage for generations to come.”


Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), is the organizer of 11 leading travel events worldwide including World Travel Market, Arabian Travel Market, EIBTM, AIME, ICCA Exhibition, PATA Travel Mart, British Travel Trade Fair, C.I.S. Travel Market, Mediterranean Travel Fair, International Golf Travel Market and Top Resa. RTE is part of Reed Exhibition Companies.

Reed Exhibition Companies is the world’s leading organizer of trade and public shows with a current portfolio of over 440 events servicing 49 industries in 11 key sectors in 29 countries across five continents. Over 156,000 exhibiting companies take advantage of Reed’s marketing opportunities, which attract over 9 million buyers globally. Reed Exhibition Companies is part of the Reed Elsevier plc group, a leading business and information provider worldwide.

For more information on the World Tourism Award contact The Bradford Group, New York City; e-mail For more information on Reed Travel Exhibitions and World Travel Market visit:

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