On Saturday the 26th of November the new accessible beach matting was laid out at the Mt Martha lifesaving club and the beach officially opened. Mt Martha is situated on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, which is the summer aquatic playground for the city. This is the first beach on the Mornington Peninsula and only the third in the City, to offer accessible beach facilities for people with a disability including full accessible change facilities and now beach matting to the waters edge.
In addition to the matting and change room there are three types of beach wheelchair available from the lifesaving club, including a self propelled chair and a a fully floating one.
Mt Martha is a relatively sheltered beach and safe for people with a disability to get back into the water including young children. In front of the club house is a large concrete hard stand with shade.
The matting will be rolled out from now until April 26 next year.
Hours: Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.
The matting has been made possible by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Mt Martha Lifesaving Club and the Mornington Peninsula Disabled Surfers Association.
Mt Martha is an hour from the CBD of Melbourne so get down there and take advantage of this new facility. Th more support it gets, the more likely it will be that other beaches on the Peninsula will be made available.
The other two accessible beaches in Melbourne are located at Williamstown and Altona.
Cutting the ribbon
Matting to the water's edge
A cake fit for the occasion
Testing the matting
At the water's edge
Enjoying the day
Councilor Antonella Celi cutting the cake
Images for use in editorials or blogs are availably from Photoability's news feed.
Image: Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Disabled visitors to Scotland should not be seen as “risk management” but as valued customers, according to the national tourism organisation.
Chris McCoy, Equality and Diversity Manager at VisitScotland, addressed delegates at the Rehabilitation International (RI) World Congress in Edinburgh on October 27, to highlight the importance of Scotland’s £1.3 billion accessible tourism market.
VisitScotland’s Accessible Tourism Programme aims to harness the growing, high-value accessible tourism market, and for Scotland to become internationally recognised as a leading destination for people with access needs.
Chris McCoy said:
“Legislation in the UK has empowered disabled people, making it illegal for service providers to discriminate on the grounds of disability, but it has not enabled them. VisitScotland believes access is enshrined only as a compliance issue, not a market issue. Disabled people still have difficulty finding businesses to cater for their access requirements, and provide adequate information to help make informed choices.
“Disabled people are seen as “risk management”, requiring expensive adjustments, but not as valued customers, requiring new and innovative customer service.”
Chris says that disabled people still have difficulty finding tourism businesses to cater for their access requirements, and to provide adequate information to help them to make informed choices.
“Disabled people don’t want special products, they want to be part of the mainstream. They are seen by some as ‘risk management’, requiring expensive adjustments, but not as valued customers, requiring new and innovative customer service.
“Changes have to be transformational and our aim is to move the mindset of the industry and the driver for accessible tourism from compliance into the competitive marketplace.”
Hosted by disability employment charity Shaw Trust Scotland, the RI Congress at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is seeking to influence disability and inclusion policy at a global level and is being attended by more 1,000 people from over 60 countries.
For more information about VisitScotland’s Accessible Tourism Programme, go to www.visitscotland.org
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:
For more information on how you can make your business more attractive to the traveler with a disability contact Bill.
UNWTO - 28 Sep 2016
About 500 delegates from 60 countries have convened in Bangkok, Thailand, to take part in the Official Celebrations of the World Tourism Day this year dedicated to the theme ‘Tourism for all: Promoting Universal Accessibility.’ Policy frameworks, capacity building, business strategies and awareness raising have been some of the areas tackled during the week of events that commenced on the 26th September with a ‘Tourism and the Media’ Session.
During two days participants from 60 countries exchanged best practices and experiences on accessible tourism and have committed to advance universal accessibility in all components of the tourism value chain to ensure all citizens enjoy the benefits of travel, whatever their abilities may be.
“As one billion people across the globe have some kind of disability, accessibility becomes and will continue to be a major concern for us all” said Gen. Prayut Chan-o-Cha, Prime Minister of Thailand who presided over the Official Celebrations on 27 September. “We need to create more accessibility, for all including the ageing groups. We need to provide better services for all. This is also part of our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals” he added.
“We should not leave anyone behind. We believe we have to do more, understand better the needs of these groups. The World Tourism Day celebrations in Thailand have acted as a platform to sensitize us all about the importance of adapting the sector to the needs of all citizens and we should work in closer cooperation now to meet the demands of travelers worldwide” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.
“People with disabilities, aged citizens, families with children and many more find obstacles when they travel. As tourism is a human right, the sector should advance to ensure that all citizens enjoy seamless travel in an equal manner,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in his message.
“Products and services aiming to increase the accessibility of travel add value to destinations and constitute an immense opportunity for the business sector” emphasized David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
“All of us have somebody who finds difficulties when travelling: family members, friends and colleagues, so we all are affected and can benefit from accessible travel measures” emphasized Mario Hardy, CEO at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
A human right and a business opportunity
The first event of the week, the ‘Tourism and the Media’ workshop, held in cooperation with the Chulalongkorn University, served as a platform to discuss the role of the media in supporting Accessible Tourism.
“Journalists, editors, photographers, documentary producers…can do a lot in sensitizing the general public about Accessibility and by pushing their respective governments towards the necessary regulatory frameworks towards Universal Design in the tourism sector,” explained Xu Jing, Regional Director of Asia and the Pacific at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Together with the commitment of governments and the need to develop regulatory frameworks linked to accessibility-related measures, the World Tourism Day celebrations have served to emphasize the immense business opportunities that Universal Design can bring to the tourism sector.: “Sooner or later all of us will suffer circumstances that impede us moving freely and independently, so adapting Universal Accessibility principles will benefit us all” underlined Ivor Ambrose, Director of ENAT, the European Network of Accessible Tourism. He added that by 2050, as much as 22% of the world population will be over 60 years old and thus have specific access needs.
The first round table included the participation of the Secretary General of Thai Disabled Development Foundation, and former Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Weerasak Kowsurat, Monthien Boontan, Member of the Thai Senate and of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Dissabilites, Benito C. Bengzon, Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism in the Philippines, Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of the Cambodia, Mr. Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mr. Guy Didier Hypollite, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries of Haiti and Mr. Dato Sri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia. Moderated by Andrew Steven, CNN anchor, the Session discussed the application of policy and regulatory frameworks aimed at achieving ‘Tourism for All.’
The second debate, moderated by Anita Mendiratta, CNN Task Group, Lead Consultant, addressed the relevance of innovative strategies to foster accessible tourism infrastructure, products and services to enhance destination competitiveness. A number of best practices were featured by speakers such as Martin Heng, Accessible Travel Manager at Lonely Planet, Natthadej Suyadej, from Wheelchair Holidays Thailand, Hideto Kijima, President at the Japan Accessible Tourism Center, Svend Leirvaag, VP Industry Affairs at Amadeus IT Group and Sergio Guerreiro, Knowledge Management and Corporate Affairs at Turismo de Portugal.
Bangkok Declaration on Tourism for All
On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2016 participants adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Tourism For All, a document resulting from a consultation process involving governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and accessibility experts.
The Declaration calls upon all stakeholders to advance policies and business actions that promote universal accessibility, including training, awareness raising as well as considering Universal Design in all new tourism infrastructure and services and while adapting existing ones.
The celebrations of World Tourism Day 2016 were held in collaboration with CNN, UNWTO media partner.
World Tourism Day 2017 will be held in Qatar as decides by the 21st UNWTO General Assembly held in 2015 and will address the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development’, in line with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, authorities of the Member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), representatives of the tourism sector, disabled people’s organizations and related civil society bodies, international organizations, and media outlets met in Bangkok, Thailand, on 26/27 September 2016 on the occasion of the World Tourism Day to celebrate the theme “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility”;
Recalling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which disability is referenced in Goals 4, 8, 10, 11 and 17 and in which tourism is included specifically in Goals 8, 12 and 14;
Considering the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006 as the global action framework in the sphere of universal accessibility, whose Article 30 recognizes the legitimate right of access to sports, cultural, leisure and tourism activities by persons with disabilities;
Whereas the mandate of the UNWTO is “the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”;
Inspired by the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999, and acknowledged by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001, whose Article 7 underlines that “...a direct and personal access to the discovery and enjoyment of the planet’s resources constitutes a right equally open to all the world’s inhabitants” and explicitly recommends that “tourism for persons with disabilities should be encouraged and facilitated”;
Referring to the Recommendations on Accessible Tourism for All and the Recommendations on Accessible Information in Tourism, adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly at its 20th and 21st sessions as reference documents for tourism stakeholders for making their infrastructure, products and services accessible to all people;
Considering the UNWTO Manuals on Accessible Tourism for All co-produced with civil society and private sector organizations – the ONCE Foundation, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and the ACS Foundation, as a source of technical knowhow for destinations;
Recognizing the wide scope of the multi-stakeholder recommendations emanating from the Declaration from the World Summit Destinations for All, held in Montreal, Canada, in October 2014;
Taking into account the Bangkok Recommendations on Accessible Tourism of 2007 and Takayama Declaration on the Development of Communities-for-All in Asia and the Pacific, adopted in 2009;
Commending the efforts of the Government of Thailand, the tourism sector and civil society stakeholders in making tourism destinations across the country ever more accessible;
1. Convinced that measures implemented to bring about Tourism for All benefit not only persons with disabilities and specific access requirements but all people, while entailing major socio- economic opportunities for tourism destinations and businesses;
2. Conscious of the gradual improvements regarding universal accessibility in tourism, but also of many serious and enduring challenges that people with disabilities across the globe are still facing;
3. Mindful of the importance of solid policy frameworks and strategic actions in making full access to and enjoyment of tourism destinations and activities by all truly possible;
4. Aware of the challenges in providing adequate information on the accessibility of tourism facilities, services and products, and the opportunities for promoting those that actually meet the needs of a greater diversity of customers;
5. Committed to multi-stakeholder partnerships between the policy makers, local authorities, the private sector, disabled people’s organizations and local communities in making tourism destinations accessible for all;
UNANIMOUSLY CALL UPON ALL STAKEHOLDERS:1. To ensure that the right to enjoy tourism by all becomes a reality and that the commitment of
governments and companies to improve access for all is sustained by concrete actions;
2. To engage in awareness-raising and training so as to reduce both physical and attitudinal barriers within the sector and to be able to embrace the undoubted competitive advantages of investing in Tourism for All;
3. To implement the principles of Universal Design/Design for All when developing new tourism infrastructure, products and services and improving the existing ones;
4. To promote the provision of objective and accurate information on the accessibility of all products and services, and in accessible formats, with the aim to enable travelers to accurately assess whether their own needs will be met during the whole travel process;
5. To mainstream accessibility in tourism policy and throughout the tourism supply chain with the aim to ensure that there are no broken links and that everyone can fully enjoy a seamless tourism experience; and
6. To encourage multi-stakeholder cooperation at all levels that enables development of consistent and up-to-date policies and business practices in the sphere of accessible tourism.
Montréal/Namur, September 27, 2016
Quebec-based organization Kéroul and Belgium’s Collectif Accessibilité Wallonie-Bruxelles (CAWaB) are pleased to announce that the second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will be taking place in Brussels in fall 2018. The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.
For more information:http://www.accessibletourism.org/resources/accesibilityen_2013_unwto.pdf
These two organizations are making this announcement now in the spirit of World Tourism Day, September 27, 2016, the theme of which is “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.”
The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014, under the auspices of Kéroul and with the involvement of the UNWTO, UN, European Network for Accessible Tourism and ICAO, among others. With more than 360 participants from 31 countries having come out to share their knowledge and experience, the event wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.
Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.
With the Western population aging and the benefits of including disabled people in all facets of society, the tourism, culture and transportation sectors have no choice but to fully welcome and adequately serve all citizens, and to be particularly attentive to the needs of elderly and physically disabled people. Moreover, in September 2015, the UN adopted new Sustainable Development Goals recognizing accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities as principles of sustainable development.
The second edition of the Destinations for All World Summit will provide the opportunity to assess progress made since 2014 and move closer to an international standard of accessibility, information sharing, practices and services for persons with disabilities. In conjunction with this event for trade professionals, there will also be an accessible vacations show for the general public, wherein visitors will learn more about the world’s accessible tourist destinations.
As the respective chairs of Kéroul and CAWaB, Isabelle Ducharme and Vincent Snoeck will co-chair the 2nd Destinations for All World Summit on behalf of their organizations.
Kéroul is a non-profit organization dedicated to making tourism and culture accessible to persons with limited physical abilities. Founded in Montréal in 1979, Kéroul acts as the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec’s key consultant in matters of accessibility.
Since 2006, the Collectif Accessibilité Wallonie-Bruxelles has served as the umbrella organization for associations representing persons with limited physical abilities as well as for accessibility consulting firms. It advocates for universal accessibility in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Accessible Tourism is about creating experiences that everyone can enjoy together. Those experiences have to be inclusive so that they can be shared equally. Tourism is about the journey not just the destination and that journey starts with the planning and ends with the shared memories that often last a lifetime.
This great video from the Rick Hansen Foundation in Canada showcases that the key to inclusion is changing the mindset towards people with a disability and creating a set of equal experiences.
The Rick Hansen Foundation works to break down these barriers by changing attitudes, creating accessible spaces and inspiring an inclusive society.
We need to change how we think and talk about accessibility and inclusion in order to break down barriers for the one billion people in the world who have a disability.Why?Accessibility isn't just for people who use wheelchairs -- it's also for those with mobility challenges, temporary injuries and parents using strollers. Accessibility is for everyone.Inclusion isn't just about tolerating differences -- it's about making sure our attitudes don't limit the potential of other people. Everyone deserves an equal chance to be included.
Venice, March 2016 the opening of the first accessible wharf for gondolas in Venice, in front of Piazzale Roma, Fondamenta Cossetti.
This project created by the non- profit organization Gondolas4ALL, represents the first landing place able to allow people with different kinds of disabilities to get on and off a gondola.
Enrico Greifenberg and Alessandro Dalla Pietà, the two founders of this association, have been dreaming of this project for more than 20 years. In 2012, they decided to apply themselves to the realization of a permanent structure, in order to allow anybody to enjoy an exciting gondola tour.
The Tourism Department of Veneto Region decided to support their project into the Project of Excellence in Tourism “ Development of Social and Accessible Tourism”.
After being guest at the stand of Veneto Region at the event Gitando.all in 2014 and at MOVE in 2015, Gondolas4ALL, as the only and exclusive subject of this initiative, has received funding aimed to cover in part the realization costs.
Fabio and Nicola Domeneghini of Fadiel Italiana & SMDM, Roberto DeCarli of Rein, Lucart Group, Pierluigi Moro and Silvia Dabrilli of Studio Moro Architetti, supporters of this project since the beginning, have completed the work.
Marco Maggia, owner of Ermitage Bel Air Medical Hotel and the city of Abano Terme supported the project with a contribution.
In 2015, Honorable Domenico Rossi Secretary of State to the Defense, invited Gondolas4all to Rome giving them the support of the Ministry of Defense.
In September 2015 in Madrid, invited by Fundacion Once, they presented Gondolas4ALL at the 5th International Congress “Technology and Tourism For All”.
In the same period, Gondolas4ALL filmed in Venice “Smart Aarhus in Documentary on Sustainable Cities”, a documentary about the best practices in 24 European Cities, selected by Kryzistof Baczynski Europe commission Architecture,Urban Plannig Engineering.
The new service will begin in about a month after the training of new professionals and final tests .
The project is seeking public support to raise about 80,000 ( eighty thousand ) Euros .
You can support Gondolas4all through the following link http://www.gondolas4all.com/sostienici/
Parks Victoria’s Chief Executive, Bradley Fauteux today launched a new Lasher beach wheelchair now available at Tidal River. The Lasher beach wheelchair is the first of its kind available for public use in Victoria and was funded by the People and Parks Foundation.
Parks Victoria was awarded the 2015 National Disability Award which recognises the valuable contribution organisations and people make to improve the lives of people with disability in Australia. Parks Victoria has a total of 11 all-terrain Trailrider wheelchairs and ten child and adult beach wheelchairs available to explore Victoria’s parks as well as the new Lasher beach wheelchair. The wheelchairs are located at key parks across the state including Dandenong Ranges. Grampians, Cape Conran, Point Nepean and Wilsons Promontory.
Mr Fauteux said the Lasher beach wheelchair is different to our other park beach wheelchairs in that it can be operated independently by people with paraplegia and leg amputations without the need of a carer.
“For the first time in Victoria, more people who visit this beautiful part of the world at Norman Beach in Wilsons Promontory National Park, can enjoy the sand and water which so many visitors without disabilities often take for granted,” said Mr Fauteux.“Spending time in the natural environment, in places like our magnificent parks, is good for our mind, body and soul, and Parks Victoria is committed to making our parks accessible to everyone.”
“For the first time in Victoria, more people who visit this beautiful part of the world at Norman Beach in Wilsons Promontory National Park, can enjoy the sand and water which so many visitors without disabilities often take for granted,” said Mr Fauteux.
“Spending time in the natural environment, in places like our magnificent parks, is good for our mind, body and soul, and Parks Victoria is committed to making our parks accessible to everyone.”
Mr Fauteux said Tidal River is one of our most popular destinations and Norman Beach is one of the most accessible beaches for visitors with disabilities in Victoria, so it makes sense to have a Lasher beach wheelchair available at Tidal River.
“Tidal River also has accessible park accommodation allowing visitors with disabilities can extend their stay in the park. The Lasher beach wheelchair and the other all-terrain wheelchairs available at Tidal River can be booked through the Visitor Centre here at Tidal River.”
Global advocate for inclusive tourism and Co-founder of Travability, Bill Forrester said that the world, and the ability to experience it fully, should be accessible to everyone and congratulated the People and Parks Foundation and Parks Victoria for making the Lasher wheelchair available at Tidal River.
“We see National Parks as a key pillar in the developing market of Accessible Tourism and as a critical element of the health and wellbeing of the world's population regardless of an individual's ability,” Mr Forrester said.
“Parks Victoria are an acknowledged world leader in outdoor accessibility. The Lasher beach Wheelchair adds another level of mobility independence to an already great set of accessible facilities at Wilsons Promontory.”
Connect with nature through your favourite park. Healthy Parks Healthy People. For more information about Parks Victoria’s commitment to making parks accessible visit http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/visit/improving-park-access-for-all
Launch of the new self propelled beach wheelchair at Tidal River
ABC News: Beach wheelchair at Wilson's Promontory gives better experience for people with disabilities
PhotoAbility: Image Gallery
CHICAGO, October 20, 2015 - The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announces the opening of an indoor service animal/pet relief room at O'Hare International Airport.
Located past security checkpoints in the Rotunda area of Terminal 3, the room is specially designed to accommodate passengers traveling with service animals or pets. It is particularly convenient for those with layovers/connecting flights at O'Hare. It will enhance the traveling experience for individuals with disabilities because they no longer need to pass back through security to relieve their service animal.
The recently-opened indoor service animal/pet relief room at O'Hare is located just north of the Rotunda in Terminal 3.
The room has two, 2-foot by 4-foot pet relief areas complete with artificial grass covering, miniature fire hydrants and pop-up sprinkler systems to wash away liquid waste into a drain. In addition, a mounted hose bib and reel is available for manual spraying and plastic bags are provided for clean-up. The room is enclosed, has a door with a glass pane that opens and closes automatically, and is designed for wheelchair access. The room also includes two sinks for passenger use.
"We are pleased to offer this new amenity for passengers, especially those who depend on the assistance of service animals when they travel through our airport," said CDA Commissioner Ginger S. Evans. "This is another way we are making O'Hare International Airport more accessible to the traveling public and creating a more welcoming environment for visitors to Chicago."
The room features two pet relief areas with hydrants, and plastic bags, sinks and a hose for clean up.
The CDA coordinated with the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to ensure the room is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
"The new indoor animal relief area located in the secured terminal of O'Hare International Airport will enhance the traveling experience for individuals with service animals, particularly those with connecting flights," said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley. "This feature is another step towards our goal of making Chicago a world class accessible city for people with disabilities."
In addition to the new airside animal relief room, there are three outdoor service animal/ pet relief areas located near the lower level curb front of Terminals 1, 2 and 5. The Terminal 1 and 5 outdoor locations were opened in 2009 and the Terminal 2 location was added in 2014. Midway International Airport also has an outdoor service animal and pet relief area located near the lower level curb front at the north end of the terminal that opened in 2009.
Real grass, gravel or wood chips are used inside the fenced-in areas and plastic bags and garbage cans are provided. CDA and custodial staff monitor the areas throughout the day to ensure cleanliness.
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and was founded in 1621. Gothenburg has the largest port in the Nordic Region and a wonderful archipelago, but it is also known as the city highly regarded as a venue for major sporting events, entertainment and culture. A former industrial city, Gothenburg evolved into a city of creation and innovation and now in to a city of commerce and education.
Gothenburg was the proud winner of the Access City Award 2014. The annual competition is organised by the European Commission and awards European cities that have shown exceptional good work with addressing accessibility issues. The competition is intended to recognise cities that have high goals and have a holistic approach to creating an accessible environment for everyone, with a focus on people with disabilities. The City of Gothenburg’s efforts to integrate people with all types of disabilities in the society made it 2014’s winning city.
The City of Gothenburg has a political aim to make Gothenburg accessible for everyone. The accessibility work taking place in the community goes hand in hand with the disability policy and to create a city for all.
The vision for Gothenburg is an accessible city where every citizen in Gothenburg has the same opportunity of taking part in the life of the community. Gothenburg should be the best city in which to live and everyone in the city should feel proud to be a citizen of Gothenburg.
The City of Gothenburg has launched its new brochure outlining the systemic approach it is using to create a city for all.
Download the guide
VisitEngland, the national tourist board, is today launching a new Access for All campaign, aimed to raise awareness of accessible destinations and businesses in England, informing disabled people of accommodation and visitor attractions when planning a day trip or holiday.
Following a successful pilot project in 2013/14 with four destinations; VisitEngland accessed funding from the European Commission to expand the Access for All initiative, with a grant of €125,000. For the past year VisitEngland has been working with seven local destination partners across the country to create a series of access guides covering coastal, countryside and city destinations. These are:
56 businesses are involved in the project including a mix of accommodation and attractions such as Lincoln Cathedral, Brighton & Hove Buses, Chatsworth House, Turner Contemporary, Hotel La Tour, Vindolanda Roman Fort and Nottingham Belfry amongst many others. The businesses involved have worked hard to make changes – focusing on positive action – to improve perceptions of Accessible England.
VisitEngland research highlights that the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3billion to the English economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.1 billion. Over the past few years overnight trips by disabled travellers and their companions have increased by 19 per cent with spend up by 33 per cent.
The Purple Pound presents tourism businesses and destinations with a huge opportunity for economic growth. New figures from VisitEngland confirm an approximate value of overnight accessible tourism to the destinations involved:
Some of the great initiatives include those introduced by Brighton & Hove Buses (part of the Go-Ahead group) which provides wheelchair access to 100 per cent of their fleet. They are trialling the use of hearing loop systems on a bus; have a Helping Hand yellow card scheme; offer a wheelchair taxi guarantee if someone cannot get onto the bus and have many innovations to help disabled visitors use their buses.
VisitEngland Chief Executive, James Berresford, said:
"The accessible tourism market is worth a sizable £12.1 billion to the English economy and many tourism businesses are realising that catering for disabled customers is not only a necessity but a wise investment that brings a host of business benefits. Many of the changes businesses make may be small, but combined contribute significantly to the visitor experience."
The Access for All project has consisted of two phases: product development, where businesses receive direct support to improve their accessibility with the help of access advisors, and a national consumer marketing campaign launching today. The tourism businesses are being directly supported as part of the project to improve their accessibility. Accommodation and attractions have been audited by a professional access advisor and many have received a mystery visit from guests with accessibility requirements. A training course was held in each destination for accessibility champions and customer-facing staff have completed online disability awareness training. Businesses also received personal feedback on their Access Statement, improving information detailing their accessibility.
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