The emphasis on “sightseeing” as an essential component of travel is being turned on its head with the launch of the 2014 Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Unseen Travel Awards.
The Unseen Travel Awards offers five AUD$1,000 travel bursaries to people who are vision impaired, to prove that even though a person might not be able to see, travelling can still provide amazing experiences.
The 2013 award winner and paralympic hopeful Jonathan Goerlach said the awards “give people who are blind or vision impaired the opportunity to do something they otherwise might only dream of doing”.
Mr. Goerlach used his Unseen Travel Award winnings to go to the Great Barrier Reef to help him conquer a fear of swimming, ahead of hoping to secure a spot in the para-triathlon team for the 2016 Rio Paralympics:
Other 2013 winners used their prize to go on a cultural tour of Canberra, visit Sydney for the first time, travel to Germany with a school class, and cruise around the Whitsunday Islands.
“While vision loss is on the rise, we’re hoping our awards will encourage people affected to realise that it doesn’t have to stop them from enjoying a full and active life,” said Frances Tinsley, from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
“You don’t have to see to be able to experience doing things most of us take for granted, including travelling.”
The public will be able to follow each winner’s experiences through a dedicated travel blog or diary.
For information and applications visit: www.guidedogs.com.au/travelawards or call AUS (02) 9412 9300. Applications close on Friday 21 March 2014. Applicants must be a resident of NSW or ACT.