Absolutely Everyone sets new goals for the Victorian Tourism Industry

Photo: - An example of attitude changing imagery of a woman enjoying a day out with her dog at the Queenscliff Marina. (Photo available from PhotoAbility. Photographer Bill Forrester, Model Sharyn Craven)


Last Friday saw the release of the Victorian Government's new State Disability Plan 2017 -2020 - "Absolutely Everyone"

In underpinning a commitment to Inclusion the plan is strong on making Victoria the destination of choice for travellers with a disability. Not only is this socially the right thing to do but, it has the potential to create an enormous economic competitive advantage for the state's tourism businesses and destinations that want to embrace inclusive tourism as a point of difference.

This plan is the way the government is taking a lead on promoting the inclusion of Victorians with a disability.

It is an opportunity to change the way we think about disability as we go about the major activities of government. We also know that working in partnership with business and communities is critical in changing attitudes and outcomes. 

The economic drivers are strong and this plan shows a commitment to help the industry develop an understanding of the market and the types of products and services that they should be developing to attract new tourism business. It sets a strong challenge to VisitVictoria, and the Regional Tourism Authorities to lead their industry. Tourism industry bodies, like VTIC, need to embrace the initiative and develop the required understanding and skill set to promote this initiative and ensure regional and state conferences have inclusive tourism included as key agenda items on an ongoing basis.

It is also clearly time that the Victorian Tourism Awards included Inclusive Tourism as a new category, not only to reward excellence but also to put it in the spotlight and a new emerging tourism trend.

The key to the success of this plan in relation to tourism will be how well we can change perceptions away from "compliance access" to the recognition that Inclusive Tourism is a product and service set. Universal design is far more than built infrastructure, it has to embraced at the very beginning of the product development lifecycle. The father of Inclusive Tourism, the late Dr Scott Rains put it very eloquently we he asked:

What if the first question we asked was, “What is so unique about this situation that it justifies exclusion?” instead of, “How much does it cost to make it accessible?"


Further Reading

Extract from the State Disability Plan


In addition to the personal bene ts for people with a disability, tourism and travel makes a signi cant contribution to the economy. Australians with a disability spend about $8 billion every year on tourism and travel.

Action 27: Inclusive tourism

Building on recent efforts to engage tourism businesses through the development of an Accessible Tourism Toolkit, we will roll out a staged approach to making Victoria the destination of choice for travellers with a disability by:

  • continuing to work with Regional Tourism Boards and Destination Melbourne to promote accessible tourism to businesses across Victoria

  • undertaking research into the needs and preferences of travellers with a disability

  • supporting accessible businesses to promote their services to travellers with

    a disability through visitvictoria.com

  • continuing to promote, review and enhance the Accessible Tourism Toolkit in 2017

  • targeting 500 businesses across the state to become more aware of accessibility

    and more than 100 to be compliant with universal design principles

  • hosting workshops in each of Victoria’s 12 tourism regions by 2020. 



Download the State Disability Plan

About TravAbility

TravAbility was founded in 2007 by Bill Forrester.

Our mission is to be agents of change; to inspire people who have never traveled before to do so, and to inspire others to do more. To encourage all cultures of the world to see disability as an integral part of life, and to provide the motivation and tools to the tourism industry to allow them to create accessible environments that enable inclusion in an economically sustainable way.

We offer a range of services to tourism operators and Destination Marketing Boards to enable them to take advantage of the growing Accessible Tourism market. Our core approach is program oriented focusing on the product and service needs of people with a disability an developing a culture of innovation to attract this highly profitable and rapidly growing market:

  • Development of Access Statements
  • Product, service and program development
  • Development of 'Soft Infrastructure' policies and procedures
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Marketing Services and Toolkits
  • Access information kits
  • Industry Presentations and Conference Keynotes and Capacity Building Workshops
  • Property Audits and Universal Design planning
  • Self Audit Tools
  • National/State/Regional Park Guides and Trail Maps
  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy development
  • Disability Action Plans
  • New Project planning and Development
  • Stock Imagery through PhotoAbility
  • Accommodation listings through TravAbility Properties

For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.


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