Accessible Tourism Consultant Chris Veitch wants the tourism industry to stop thinking of people with disabilities as special or unusual. “People with disabilities do not form some sort of niche market: they are just part of the mainstream market that all successful businesses and destinations need to be, and in many cases already are, reaching out to,” he says on NewMind.com.
“A recent report for VisitScotland (https://www.visitscotland.org) highlighted that, for some people the time, energy, stress and planning required for people with disabilities to have a successful holiday in Scotland was so great as to put them off.”
Yet the VisitScotland research found people with disabilities only want the same things that every visitor wants: good customer service, that makes them feel welcome; marketing and information that is reliable, accurate and relevant, to help them in their decision making, and appropriate facilities to enable them to enjoy their experience to the fullest.
“We in the tourism industry tend to think of accessible tourism as being something 'different,' that needs to be managed separately from, and in addition to, the management of the rest of the business or destination. We need to get away from this way of thinking. It’s time to move away from seeing accessibility as being simply about compliance, where you are required to make changes to your business because there is a legal obligation not to discriminate against disabled people, and think instead about the genuine positive business case for accessibility.”
VisitBritain and VisitEngland (https://www.visitbritain.org) have produced some excellent guides, available for free to download, to help tourist destinations develop their accessibility.
· Destinations for All provides guidance for destination managers on creating a destination for all
· Winning More Visitors provides useful guidance on providing accessibility information on destination websites
· Listen Up! is a guide to welcoming visitors who are deaf
·Take the Lead is a guide to welcoming visitors with guide dogs