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Accessible tourism unlocks missed markets

Providing good access information helps people make informed choices when booking and improves everyone’s experience meaning visitors are more likely to return.

Visit Scotland suggests “there’s a largely untapped market out there of 11 million people with a disposable income of £80 billion per year, plus another 124 million people in Europe with a potential spending power of 66 billion Euros.

  • 84% of Europeans felt there was an improved opportunity for business
  • 56% said they would pay more for products if they were better designed and accessible

Disabled people have incredible communication networks, that could potentially increase your occupancy rate and revenue and would return year after year bringing on average four other people with them and that:

  • Out of the 11 million disabled people in the UK, only 2 million take a holiday, the rest say it is “just too difficult”
  • 83% of disabled people have ‘walked away’ in 2006, unable or unwilling to make a purchase
  • You may also be surprised to learn that out of all the people with a disability that came to Scotland in 2009/10 only 4% were in a wheelchair, the other 96% had other types of disabilities.
  • 12% of all visitors to Scotland were made by people with access needs or accompanying a person with a special need.

Benefiting from accessible tourism does not necessarily mean making major adjustments, the key themes are to boost information provision and excellence in customer service.

Visit Scotland, accessing the disability marketMaking things accessible for disabled people increases access for everyone: families, older people, and anyone looking for that extra bit of information.
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Who doesn’t need useful information?

  • 83 per cent of people look for access information to plan a trip use destination websites – but only 1 in 3 (39 per cent) find it easy to locate information required.
  • three-quarters (74 per cent) of people with access needs say they are more likely to choose a destination that offered the best guidance.

Useful information helping visitors make informed choices when planning trips include:

  • Travel Planning, details of a local public transport and information on accessible parking in the area.
  • Visible access statements and information on the local geography; accessibility of key tourist areas, location of accessible public toilets and attractions
  • Assistance during the stay – details of local hospitals and pharmacies, and any greeter schemes and tours running in the area that can cater for people with access needs.
  • Making sure websites comply with international web accessibility guidelines.

Ross Calladine, VisitEngland’s Skills, Welcome & Accessibility Manager said:

“Visitors who have a health condition or impairment – and their travelling companions – spend over £2bn each Visit England accessible destinations programmeyear in England, and our research shows that many of those visitors will choose where to spend that money based on the access information available on destination websites. We have produced Winning More Visitors to help destinations improve their welcome and attract even more of these loyal and valuable visitors.”

Boosting access information for your business

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