Image: Melbourne Cable Park Accessible Wakeboarding. Photograher Bill Forrester.
The Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) is Australia’s national platform for digital tourism information on Australia. Incorporated in 2001, it is jointly owned and managed by all Australian state/territory government tourism bodies.
The ATDW collects information via its partners then stores and distributes this information. Data includes product and destination information from all Australian States and Territories, with more than 40,000 listings. This content is compiled in a nationally agreed format and is electronically accessible by tourism business owners (operators), wholesalers, retailers and distributors for use in their websites and booking systems.
.ATDW is collaborating with Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and DNSW to enable Australian tourist destinations, products and services to accurately highlight their accessible facilities to the Inclusive Tourism market.
It will soon become a mandatory component for all operators registered with the ATDW to respond to the additional accessibility questions in the revised data set .
Becoming a feature of the ATDW database in the near future, the new accessibility data will encourage operators to become more aware of the inclusive tourism market and will provide additional info for online distributors to share across their consumer facing websites.
The system will also have the provision to link a detailed Accessibility Guide to the ATDW listing.
The new criteria should be available by the middle of this year now now is the time to start thinking about your accessibility and creating your Accessibility Guide to take full advantage of your ATDW listing.
What is an Accessibility Guide?
An Accessibility Guide is produced by tourism operators to provide potential visitors with important accessibility information about a venue, property or service. The guide enables individuals with accessibility requirements, their family and friends to make informed decisions as to where to stay and visit in view of their requirements. This includes not just wheelchair users but people with hearing loss, visual or mental impairment, older people, families with young children and more.
Why should you produce one?
- It can help you to appraise your venue’s accessibility
- It provides essential information for people with accessibility requirements.
- It’s a marketing opportunity to broaden the appeal of your business.
- Unless accessibility information is clearly available, visitors may choose to go elsewhere.
How to write an Accessibility Guide
It is important, in wring an accessibility guide to avoid statements such as “we are fully accessible” or “meet accessibility standards”
Every disability is different so it is important to give as much information as possible to allow potential clients to decide for themselves whether your establishment is suitable for their needs. Details should address where the parking is, whether the entry is level, details on door widths, method of opening and paths to reception, rooms, cafes, gardens and other facilities. The information should be accompanied by good quality images shot without people to show the full details. If your camera or phone is equipped with a high dynamic range facility (HDR) switch it on as it will help to bring out the detail in the shadows.
We have detailed measurement and photographic guides that will help you put together the detailed information that should appear in an Accessibility Guide.
Finally the most important thing to remember is that an Accessibility Guide is your marketing tool to the large and growing Accessible Tourism market. It should have the same look and feel and writing style as the rest of your website.
It is not an audit checklist!!!
New Accessibility Questions
Offer multiple options for booking – web, email, phone
Offer a range of contact methods for receiving complaints
Accept the Companion Card
Employ people with disability
Train your staff in disability awareness
Have accessibility information and photos, including of a bathroom, room and/or floor plan on your website (can be emailed on request)
Ask all visitors if there are any specific needs to be met
Website meets WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards
Advise tour guides of the access needs of guests at the time of booking (includes pick up and drop off requirements)
Provide assistance with booking arrangements (includes providing clear itineraries with written instructions on what to do at various destinations)
Train your staff in communicating with people with learning or behavioural challenges
Use Plain English / easy read signage and information (includes menus and emergency information)
A quiet space is available at the venue/ facility
Have Braille and tactile signage on all information and paths of travel
Provide information in large print
Provide information in audio format (includes an audio described map of your venue, audio descriptions of performances and/ or displays)
Provide digital communication materials (hard copy information is also available on line)
Use easy read fonts in your signage and communication materials (Helvetica and Arial)
Train your staff in customer service for people with vision loss (training would incorporate way finding and communicating with people with vision loss)
Have an appropriate area for toileting an assistance dog
Have audio enabled lifts
Have raised tactile buttons in your lifts
Have handrails on all your stairways
Have Exit signs which are visible at a ground level (high level signs are difficult to see in a fire)
Have a hearing loop
Train your staff in communicating with people who are deaf or have hearing loss
Staff are trained in Auslan
Have telephones which are compatible with hearing aids
Caption all entertainment (TVs, live shows, performances)
Have TVs with captioning option
Have volume controlled phones
Have visual alerts for emergencies (Include flashing light)
Have transmitter receivers for hearing aids on tours
Have a low noise reception areas with hearing loss friendly acoustics and adequate lighting for viewing facial expressions (includes common areas which are free of background noise, background music)
Physical - Mobility
Use floors/ coverings which are slip resistant, firm and smooth
Use non-slip tiles in the bathroom or slip resistant matting
Have grab rails in the bathroom
Provide seating in common areas including reception area
Physical - Wheelchair
Have step free outdoor pathways (includes picnic areas, barbecues and shelters)
Have a doorbell or intercom at an accessible height and display a contact number (accessible height is 900mm-1100 mm)
Have a step free main entrance to the building and/or reception area (includes ramps or slopes with a maximum gradient of 1:14, otherwise are too steep for wheelchairs)
Have step free access to restaurant, lounge and bar
Have step free access to the conference or function room
Have accessible seating areas in theatrette
Have lifts with enough space for people using a mobility aid to enter and turn around to use the lift buttons. Buttons are at accessible height.
Have doorways which are easy to open and have lever handles (doorways 850mm or wider when open and not heavy)
Have an accessible public toilet which is unlocked
Have a wheelchair accessible toilet / shower and change room
Provide wheelchair access to spa/gym
Have wheelchair accessible picnic tables (picnic tables require 720mm knee clearance and 800mm maximum height)
Have wheelchair access to amusements and activities including boats and bush trails (includes tour rides, skyways, trolley cars, flying fox, amusement rides and boating)
Have a wheelchair/scooter charging station (power point) in an accessible location
Provide beach matting and beach wheelchairs for people to access the water
Provide portable hoist
Provide portable commode chairs
Provide portable ramps
Parking and Transport
Have at least one wheelchair accessible parking space with wheelchair accessible signage clearly displayed (International standards are 3200mm wide x 2500 mm high)
Provide valet parking
Have wheelchair accessible transport options available in the general vicinity (provide information on name of the operator, phone and website link to individual providers for private vehicles, community transport train, mini vans, hire cars, buses, taxis, ferry, tram, light rail etc in your access statement)
Bedrooms (Accommodation only)
Provide a choice of wheelchair accessible accommodation rooms (Guest may wish to know if you have a choice of wheelchair accessible rooms, such as single room / studio apartment / apartment / cottage / quality / views, etc. Wheelchairs require a 1600mm x 2200mm width area to turn around and require step free access.)
Have step free access to room (Entrance to the room wheelchair accessible with step free greater than 5mm or has a doorway threshold ramp not exceeding 1:8 for 450mm length)
Have a lever handle on the door (easier to use)
Have enough space for a wheelchair to move around three sides of a double king sized bed (A pathway of 1200mm minimum width is required for wheelchair access)
Provide a bed with adjustable height
Have a kitchen area and desk which is accessible for a person at seated height or is height adjustable
Bathrooms (Accommodation only)
Have a wheelchair accessible bathroom (Entrance to bathroom must have step free greater than 5mm or a doorway threshold ramp not exceeding 1:8 for 450mm. Bathrooms dimensions must be no less than 2000mm X 2500mm. Have a hobless (step free) shower recess. Shower recess must have at least 1100 x 1100mm clear area for wheelchair access (no door). Have a slip resistant fold down seat or fixed seat in shower .Seat must be at least 900mm long.)
Have a lever handle on bathroom door
Have a shower curtain (no door)
Have grabrails in shower recess (can be removable and height adjustable)
Have a handheld shower hose (should be at least 1500mm long)
Allow space around toilet for a wheelchair (A space of at least 900mm width beside the toilet pan and 1200mm clearance in front of the toilet pan is required)
Provide grabrails provided adjacent to the toilet
Physical - High support needs
Have a bathroom which is fully accessible and equipped with ceiling hoist and adult change table
Have twin beds available on request
Have rooms which are interconnecting
Have a Changing Places or Lift & Change toilet with a hoist and adult change table
Provide room for hoist under the bed (minimum 100mm required to store a hoist)
Train staff to use a DeafBlind Communicator (a portable device consisting of a DB-Phone and DB-Braille with QWERTY or Perkins keyboard)
Have options available for easier communication for people with dual sensory loss (Includes adapted telephones, adapted mobile telephones and Telephone Typewriters (TTY’s). For some people the fax machine is useful for sending messages in large print)
Have a place to store medical equipment (eg oxygen)
Allergies and Intolerances
Modify your cooking and cleaning practices to cater for people with food allergies or chemical intolerances (could include menus with meals free from: nuts, dairy, seafood, eggs, gluten etc)
Train your staff to respond to allergic reactions
Adhere to The Food Authority requirements for allergy management in food preparation
Have equipment to respond to anaphylactic shock such as epi–pens and defibrillator
Provide toiletries which are chemical and fragrance free (if requested)
Provide linen that is chemical and fragrance free (if requested)
Use organic (chemical and fragrance free) cleaning products
Use organic (chemical and fragrance free) deodorisers in public areas and rooms
Access and Inclusion Statement
Provide the URL link to your access and inclusion statement on your website