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Accessible Tourism

According to recent research as many as 20 percent of the population experiences some form of disability. Recognising the need to provide access for disabled and ageing visitors is a growing challenge for the tourism industry. However, the provision of ‘accessible’ tourism facilities and services is not only becoming increasingly regulated, it also provides an opportunity to expand services into this segment of the market for operators and destinations. Read more
According to recent research as many as 20 percent of the population experiences some form of disability. Recognising the need to provide access for disabled and ageing visitors is a growing challenge for the tourism industry. However, the provision of ‘accessible’ tourism facilities and services is not only becoming increasingly regulated, it also provides an opportunity to expand services into this segment of the market for operators and destinations. The development of accessible tourism to better accommodate visitor needs involves extensive planning for:

  • Development of appropriate infrastructure for visitor accessibility including the design of transport facilities and access to accommodation, attractions and other tourism-related venues and facilities;
  • Development of access precincts that incorporate destination experiences as well as accessible touring routes. Understanding the way that visitors move through a destination is important for the appropriate planning and design of infrastructure and facilities;
  • Destination Management Tip

    Many State Tourism Organisations provide advice and assistance on developing accessible tourism options and facilities within a destination.

  • Accreditation of tourism facilities in order to provide visitors reassurance that facilities meet appropriate standards for accessibility;
  • Marketing and the provision of tourism access information in order to influence destination choice of visitors with a disability, as demonstrated by the ‘Sydney for all’ website. Without appropriate information on a destination’s accessibility, visitors with a disability are unlikely to travel;
  • Provision of destination and attraction information in a usable format during a visitor’s trip. Consideration of the different types of disability/impairment and access requirements is important when developing promotional material and information sources;
  • Engagement of tourism industry stakeholders, community and the public sector in recognising the need to provide accessible tourism infrastructure, amenity and services in a destination;
  • Specific training on disability awareness and education for stakeholders on providing accessible tourism experiences.
  • Raising industry awareness of the benefits of accessible tourism, which has been recognised as an impediment for the uptake of accessible tourism product development within destinations and businesses.

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre has undertaken a large body of research into the development of accessible tourism. This research, summarised in the Accessible Tourism Snapshot: Challenges and Opportunities, has recognised the opportunities for destinations in accessible tourism and the need for the tourism industry to develop universal design principles for the development of infrastructure and products that are accessible for all.

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