BILLINGS, Mont. – Today, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), a leader in outdoor hospitality, releases its first comprehensive research report focused on the state of camping and outdoor enjoyment, viewed through the lens of accessibility. Inclusive of physical, cognitive and socio-economic factors, accessibility in the outdoors continues to be an industry-wide challenge that KOA endeavors to unravel, starting with this impactful report.
Around 1 billion individuals – approximately 15% of the global population – live with one or more disabling conditions. The report, Outdoor Accessibility: Charting Paths to Inclusion, dives into incidence, behavior and barriers those with limitations impacting their camping experience face (38% of those surveyed).
Encouraged by findings that 48% of accessibility-challenged campers assert the activity is a more accessible travel experience than other outdoor activities or leisure travel, there is still much to be done to turn this knowledge into tangible progress to bring the outdoors to everyone.
“In 2023, our focus on DEI at KOA was dedicated to understanding and envisioning accessibility in outdoor spaces and companies. Knowledge is half the battle, which is why we share the data we’ve collected to bring more awareness to what an accessible outdoors means,” said Whitney Scott, senior vice president of strategy at Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “Moving into 2024, we’re committed to building on what we have learned through programs, design and initiatives to create a more accessible outdoors and workplace environment.”
The report found the most prevalent and critical barriers revolve around essential infrastructure such as bathrooms (46%) and level or smooth pathways (37%), which underscores the importance of improving accessibility within campgrounds and outdoor spaces.
“Personally, accessibility means a lot and bringing that passion to help drive KOA’s advancements in accessibility has been frankly therapeutic and healing,” said Scott. “We see that providing accessible outdoor experiences is not just a moral imperative, but a significant opportunity to increase the diversity in outdoor enthusiasts.”
Read more about KOA’s initiatives and access the full report here.