Tourism Australia: A mention of inclusion

A line pf people are boarding a coach outside a transit building.There is a cruise ship in the backgound.Tourism Australia has a web page titled Accessible Tourism. It is not a “how to” page. It gives a brief description of what accessible tourism is and Australian policies and legislation. Then it refers readers to a list of other organisations or guides listed below. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start for tourism businesses, planners and local government.

    • Tourism Research Australia, in partnership with Tourism, Events and Visitor Economy branch of the Victorian Government, and Tourism and Events Queensland, commissioned a study into accessible tourism in Victoria, Queensland and Australia. The research was conducted between April and August 2017.
    • Accessible Tourism in Victoria and Queensland – based on research the report examines the travel experiences of domestic travellers with accessibility needs
    • PhotoAbility – Stock image library featuring individuals with disabilities in travel, leisure and lifestyle settings.
    • Push Adventures – Push Adventures is a South Australian business, founded in 2014, that offers advice to make tourism businesses inclusive and accessible by a whole range of guests.
    • Sydney for All – A visitors’ guide to Sydney using universal icons to help users decide which attractions provide the appropriate level of access.
    • Accessible Victoria – The official tourist site for Melbourne and Victoria including information on accessible accommodation, activities and attractions and the best ways to get around in Melbourne and Victoria.
    • Queensland Inclusive Tourism Guide – The Queensland Government has developed a guide for making businesses more accessible and inclusive to assist tourism operators understand their legal obligations in relation to accessibility, increase their knowledge about the market for inclusive tourism, and develop strategies to improve the accessibility of their business to appeal to a wider range of visitors of all abilities and ages.
    • TravAbility – TravAbility is dedicated to Inclusive Tourism through education, advocacy, and by providing accessibility information for the world’s best travel destinations.
    • – A website created to help seniors, baby boomers, people with disabilities and anyone with special requirements, find accessible accommodation, restaurants, activities and more around Australia.
    • Travellers Aid Australia – An organisation that provides simple, practical travel-related support and aid to help visitors of all backgrounds travel independently and confidently.
    • Vision Australia – Vision Australia (an organisation which assists those with vision impairment) has a large range of fact sheets on issues relating to people who are blind and vision impaired. The fact sheets range from accessible design for homes to customer service tips.
    • Inclusive Tourism: Economic Opportunities – This report is part of a project that aims to enable regional tourism businesses and local governments to improve information about and the marketing of inclusive services and products. This project is led by Local Government NSW with the University of Technology Sydney, Institute for Public Policy and Governance providing research support.
    • The Good Scout An Australian accessible travel platform with the mission to ensure that travellers with access needs get the holiday they want.

Including people with disability also includes people with young children in prams, older people, and people with temporary disabilities. Accessible, or inclusive tourism is about ensuring tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. There are more guides in a previous post

Tourism, temples and digital design

Brightly coloured temple at the end of a long walkway in Taiwan.According to a research paper on designing information kiosks, they should be designed based on the following five principles if people are going to use them:
1. Do not make me think.
2. Do not make me wait.
3. Do not allow me to feel annoyed.
4. Do not take control away from me.
5. Do not take advantage of me (do not be evil).

These principles of human–computer interface design serve as critical concepts in kiosk design. Height setting, tactile feedback, and text colour should also be considered.

In a paper from Taiwan, the authors use the seven principles of universal design for the design of kiosks in the context of tourism and user centred design. The results of the study show different preferences for different aspects of temples. For example, participants preferred interactive representations of gods, but textual and graphic content for temple carvings.

There is lots of statistical analysis to back up their claims. This study has much to offer those who design museum-type interactive kiosks for visitors. The main aim of the study was to maintain commercial development of tourism in general and visitation of temples. The title of the paper is, Cultural tourism and temples: Content construction and interactivity design

Abstract: Cultural and creative industries have a crucial role in the post-industrial knowledge economy. However, our understanding of the importance of temples in connecting people with society is limited. To fill this gap, this study explores points of interest for tourists in Taiwan to analyse the design of cultural interest operation modes in temples’ interactive kiosk interfaces. We also examine three cultural levels related to the design of interactive kiosks in temples. Results reveal that participants’ levels of interest vary depending on temple complexity. Most participants prefer animated presentations of content related to two- and three-dimensional murals and the history and origins of temples. We illustrate how to develop a process for designing cultural and creative digital products. We construct a flowchart for guided temple tours and present an effective and suitable design method and its prototype product. Implications for the revitalisation of historic sites to create new value are discussed. 

Tourism marketing toolkit

Front cover of the workbook.Bill Forrester has a new marketing workbook for the tourist industry. It’s to help resorts, hotels and other accommodation collect key information and create an accessibility guide. It includes a detailed self audit tool to help with this. There’s lots of good tips at the beginning of the workbook that cost nothing and are easy to implement. 

Saying your accommodation is “accessible” is not enough information. It means different things to different people – specific information is needed. Pictures are important too. While most disabilities are invisible, it is useful to include a person with a visible disability within a group. Pictures of rooms and facilities are important too, especially if you include room dimensions and floor plans with furniture layout. 

“The workbook is not a statutory audit checklist, it is designed to be used as a “walk-through” tool to enable you to collect information on your facilities.”

“Having a tag line of “call us for accessibility information” is putting potential customers at a disadvantage over other customers searching on the internet and potentially putting your establishment at a competitive disadvantage over your competitors.”

The workbook comes in two formats: online on the Travability website or download the PDF.  

Inclusive Tourism Guidebooks

A man holds the hand of a small girl as they wade into the water on the beach.Guidebooks are a good way to approach a new project especially if you don’t know where to start. After all, why not use the experience of others – no need to re-invent the wheel. Here are a few selected posts on this topic for ready reference.

Accessible Tourism for All Manual – UN World Tourism Organization publication.

Inclusive Tourism: Making your business more accessible and inclusive – from Queensland

Make your business accessible – web resource from VisitBritain.

Destinations for All: A guide to creating accessible destinations – from VisitEngland.

Inclusive Tourism: Free online course  – by Local Government NSW.

Inclusive Tourism Marketing Toolkit: Create an Accessibility Guide – by Travability.

Visits4U Access Guide – this one was funded by the EU.

Universal Design: Guide for Inclusive Tourism – from Scott Rains, an early advocate for inclusive tourism.

The Great British Staycation: Growing attraction of the UK for domestic holidaymakers – produced by Barclays Bank.

There are more posts on travel and tourism for you to browse.


Tourism for All Manual

Front page of document showing a pathway between large trees.Accessible Tourism for All: An Opportunity Within our Reach gives an overview of the corresponding Manual on Accessible Tourism for All. There are five separate modules. Module 1 gives a definition and context for accessible tourism. Module 5 provides principles, tools and good practice examples. The other three modules were not found in a search of the UN World Tourism Organization website. There is a companion module, Public-Private Partnerships and Good Practices, which has a European focus. It covers sporting events, transportation, parks and gardens as well as heritage sites with lots of examples.

The 65 page Module 1 is easy to read. There is something for everyone involved in tourism, major events, heritage sites and attractions. Three infographics from the text, and shown below, tell the tourism story at a glance: 1. How Tourism for All is configured; 2. Beneficiaries of accessibility in tourism; and 3. The world’s most populous nations by 2050. 

Chart showing how accessible tourism is one of the three pillars of tourism for all.

Chart showing the various beneficiaries of accessible tourism

Chart showing global population growth 2017-2050. India then China top the list.

Airports and autism

People in warm clothes push their baggage at an airport.Airports and security procedures are stressful for most of us, but for people who are autistic it can be doubly so. Vancouver airport has introduced a simulated rehearsal program to help families with the whole pre-flight process so it becomes more predictable. People who are likely to be overwhelmed by the whole process like to know beforehand what is going to happen and how it all works. This could also include people who are new to air travel, especially now that most processes are automated.

The program includes the Vancouver Airport Resource Kit, which features a step-by-step storybook, interactive checklist, airport map and tips for travel. There is also a video series that helps travellers with autism prepare for the flight. Vancouver airport has an “Autism Access Sticker” that can be placed on boarding passes. The sticker ensures a smooth transition through screening and customs. It also communicates the specific needs of passengers to airport employees. The resource was devised in conjunction with Canucks Autism Network. See the video series below. Very well done – a good model that can be applied to all airports and people with autism.

Best and least accessible cities for tourists

A scene of a medieval part of Luxembourg showing a town square with old building surrounding it.While airlines and airports are making a big effort to be more accessible, the same cannot be said for their tourist destinations. An article on ThiisCo website reports on a new study that has evaluated Europe’s capital cities for accessibility.  Luxembourg takes top spot and Chisinau, Moldova is ranked bottom with four others.  London came in 11th place.  It would be interesting to have the same study done in Australia. The full list and more detail is in the article, Europe’s most and least accessible capital cities ranked for disabled travellers.  Here is the information on Luxembourg:

“The research highlights that the most accessible city in Europe is Luxembourg, with 18.56 percent accessible accommodation available, 33.33 percent accessible attractions, a fully accessible airport, an Access City award and an ongoing council campaign for accessibility.

The small European city had won third prize at the Access City Award 2018 after it actively raised awareness of various disabilities to reduce the stigma associated with them and coined the term “specific needs” to reframe the way people discuss disabilities.

In addition, the city overhauled its public transport system to improve accessibility for all residents and visitors.  

More wheelchair users are flying

Aerial view of a large airport showing seating and shops.Requests for wheelchair assistance grew 30% between 2016 and 2017 according to IATA. Airlines and airports know they need to improve their operations as well as consider assistance for passengers who are mobile but have difficulty getting around airports. The first industry event on this topic was held in November 2019 in Dubai . Here are some of the issues they are attempting to address: 

    • Global policy consistency needed for work on accessibility and inclusion in aviation including airline/ground processes and government regulation
    • Better understanding needed for the requirements of travellers with hidden disabilities
    • Improved and standardised processes needed to streamline handling of mobility aids as the damage rate is too high
    • The importance of training was recognised, especially for passenger-facing roles, to ensure inclusive, empathetic and human-centric service is delivered to travellers with disabilities
    • Inconsistencies in security policies across airports and states for passenger with disabilities need to be addressed

You can also see the IATA Resolution on Passengers with Disabilities.  


Tourism Tips for increased business

A distance view of an English coastal village showing a harbour wall.Holidays for All is a key section in a new research report by Barclays. It is a pity it ends up in the latter part of the report because it applies to all other sections. The tips and case studies in a pdf document cover all aspects of the hospitality and tourism business.  Although the report focuses on the UK domestic tourism market, the principles for improved business are applicable elsewhere. This is a very readable report and the section on holidays for all is worth a look, and it ends with strategies for success with key points from each of the chapters:

  • Know your demographic
  • Foster Loyalty
  • Capture early bookers
  • Add value through collaboration
  • Reap digital dividends
  • Provide options where possible
  • Take them behind the screen
  • Be accessible to all

It is not unusual to find references to accessibility and inclusion somewhere in a subheading of a research report. This is unfortunate because this is the one part that applies to all other sections. See also the economic argument from Simon Darcy.

Autistic people welcome here: A guide

Front cover of the guide shows a family of a boy, woman, man, girl. They look happy.Visit England has produced a guide for tourism venues on welcoming autistic people. A list of characteristics gives an overview of what it is like to be autistic. Having one or more members of the family with autism can make family outings difficult. But it need not be so. Giving people pre-visit information is essential for helping them cope when they arrive. Case studies highlight successful venues and experiences. The top five tips at the end of the 20 page guide are briefly:

    1. Be patient and give the person space during a meltdown
    2. Notify people of changes to services
    3. Help to alleviate social anxiety
    4. Give people plenty of processing time
    5. Take steps to reduce sensory overload  

The National Autistic Society has an annual award process to recognise businesses and venues committed to improving access to their sites and services. They look at customer information, staff understanding, physical environment, customer experience and promoting understanding.