Accessible Tourism: What is it?
December 28, 2021 6:20 pm
Come one, come all!
Accessible tourism is all about ensuring that all tourist destinations, products, and services are accessible and inclusive to all people, regardless of their disabilities, physical limitations, or age.
If you work within the tourism and hospitality industry, accessibility should be something you are considering daily. Whether planning an event or launching a new location, you have to ask yourself important questions about accessibility and inclusiveness.
As the world gets closer and closer to travelling once again, the conversation around how to make your destinations COVID-safe is louder than ever before. While these conversations are incredibly important, you also need to be having conversations about accessibility.
Let’s explore a little more about accessible tourism, what it means, what you can do, and who can help your business become more accessible.
What is accessible tourism?
While there is no universally accepted definition of accessible tourism, an easy way to think about it is tourism and travel that is accessible to all people, with disabilities or not, including those with mobility, hearing, sight, cognitive, or intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, older persons and those with temporary disabilities.
Put simply, are the tourism options you have to offer viable options for everyone? Yes, everyone.
Accessible tourism isn’t solely limited to people with disabilities. Have you considered how your business can accommodate people travelling with small children or in large travel groups?
Accessibility goes as far as things like food and beverage options to accessible toilets and showers. It is easy to consider the obvious things like ramps and handrails, but make sure you’re not overlooking the more subtle things you can do to make things more accessible.
Why is accessible tourism so important?
Let’s not beat around the bush here: accessible tourism is important because people with disabilities, regardless of their disabilities, are people, and they should be afforded the same options as everyone else.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world’s population (1 billion people) lives with some form of disability. Now, while accessible tourism is essential simply because it is the right thing to do, it also makes tremendous sense from a business perspective.
As a tourist destination, why would you limit your attraction or services by excluding 15% of the world’s population?
Furthermore, accessible tourism makes up 25% of worldwide tourism? Are you ready to accommodate the needs of a quarter of the world’s travellers?
The accessible tourism market
Did you know, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, more than 50% of people over the age of 55 will have some sort of disability – whether they identify with it or not?
If a large percentage of your business’s target market is senior citizens or baby boomers, you should be seriously thinking about your place within the accessible tourism market.
What can I do to be more accessible?
It’s all too easy to assume you’re doing everything you can to make your services and products as accessible as possible. However, it’s even easier to miss small things that make a huge difference.
The first thing you should do is an audit of your venue, attraction, or products. For example, if you offer tours, why not go on the tour yourself, taking notes about any potential barriers that need to be made more accessible for tourists?
Do you offer hospitality? Spend a night in your accommodation. Is there anything in what you have to offer that isn’t accessible? This doesn’t mean that every room you offer has to be fitted out to accommodate people with different needs. However, you should have rooms available that are suitable.
We recommend seeking out the expertise of Inclusive Tourism. They offer a fantastic range of services, online resources, blog posts, and even training.
Want more information?
If you’re looking for more information on how you can make what you have to offer more accessible, Tourism Australia has a fantastic blog post filled with some handy resources.