A campaign has been launched to help the travel and tourism industry better understand and cater for the 12 million-plus people in Britain who are disabled in some way.
Launched to coincide with English Tourism Week and Disabled Access Day on March 12, Tourism is for Everybody encourages individuals, businesses and policy-makers to deliver a warmer welcome for all visitors, including those with some form of impairment.
The campaign is being led by national accessible tourism charity Tourism for All.
Tim Gardiner, Tourism for All chairman, said: “It’s not just about legislation and infrastructure, it’s about awareness and respect.”
About 19% of people in Britain and approximately one billion people in the world live with an impairment.
Although they already travel quite widely, making 263 million day trips and 12.8 million overnight trips within England, research by Tourism for All suggests that disabled travellers can often be made to feel awkward or unwelcome.
Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, said: “I want disabled people to share the experiences that others enjoy freely.
“The spending power of disabled households is already £212 billion and by making a few changes, this can go further.
“Businesses have made great strides by making physical changes – introducing ramps, handrails and hearing loops.
But for some, providing a warm welcome and a positive attitude is equally as important as the facilities.”
The Tourism is for Everybody movement asks travel and tourism businesses to honour nine commitments, which include embracing equality, training their staff, appointing an ‘Access Champion’ and monitoring their performance.
Free Tourism is for Everybody toolkits are available for businesses and a dedicated website www.tourismisforeverybody.org includes a section for people looking for advice.
Source: Travel GBI