The momentum for businesses to become inclusive and accessible is building and for good reason. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly 20% of Australians are living with a disability, and this figure is set to rise, particularly as the population ages.
Facilitating travel for people with disabilities presents an exceptional business opportunity. It opens your business to new and valuable markets and will encourage return customers.
In May 2023, Ryan Smith from the Access Agency presented 3 workshops to tourism operators in Victoria’s High Country.
Key takeaways were:
BE PART OF THE CHANGE
- Progress over perfection. Your business does not have to be perfect – just decide if you’re willing to be flexible and accommodating.
- Understand that if one person in a travelling party has an access need, the whole group, no matter how big, will go to an accessible destination.
- Making tourism activities and experiences accessible doesn’t have to be a huge infrastructure project – even small adjustments can make a big difference.
- People with access needs are researching more than most travellers. Providing clear and comprehensive information is essential for people to make informed decisions about their holiday.
- Create a standalone page on your website titled ‘Accessibility’, with photos, measurements, floor plans and other details on your business. Ask us for some good examples.
- Review your signage to ensure it is welcoming for all. Use the word ‘ accessible’ instead of ‘disabled’, for example ‘Accessible bathroom’ or ‘Accessible path’.
- Remember that around 90% of disabilities are invisible. Being flexible and adaptable is key.
- Make it easy for people to communicate with you through the booking process so you can ensure you are catering for everyone.
- Always speak directly to the person with the disability and ask ‘how’ they want to participate.
- Get feedback and stay in touch. Satisfied customers can be incredibly loyal.
Tourism North East wants to know of your efforts to be more inclusive to people with disabilities.
Business Victoria – Accessible tourism
To watch a recording of Ryan Smith’s presentation (June 2023), please email [email protected] for the details.