Austrade commissioned a report into accessible tourism in Victoria and Queensland. Once again we are given the economics and the size of the tourism market. It shows Australia is missing out on both international and national tourism opportunities. Clearly economics and legal obligations aren’t sufficient to change the attitudes of tourism operators, otherwise change would have happened by now. There is much information in this document for anyone who wants to include this sector of the market in their operations. Many forget inclusive travel includes companions and family members. Nevertheless, one hotel, or one attraction alone is not enough. It needs a community-wide approach where operators of venues, accommodation, attractions and destinations work together. Having an accessible room is of no use unless there are accessible places to go to. An article in the West Australian provides an overviewof the situation using the content of the report.
While many places in the U.K. offer accessible features for guests with disability, 63 percent don’t promote the fact according to Bill Forrester in his TravAbility newsletter. VisitEngland and VisitScotland have launched a website for tourism businesses to produce accessibility guides to help overcome this problem. Chris Veitch, who helped devise the guides will be talking about these at the upcoming Universal Design Conference along with Bill Forrester. People with disability and older people rarely travel alone – at least no more than the general population. So it is not just one person avoiding inaccessible places – it can be a whole family or travel group.
Tourism operators can use the new, free website, www.accessibilityguides.org, to produce and publish their accessibility guides. These guides should also be useful for Australian tourism operators as well.
Inclusive tourism has received a lot of attention recently. One area that hasn’t had a lot of attention in Australia is accessible AgriTourism. A well designed conference poster published by Ohio State University encapsulates the key points. The poster poses this question: “Ohio has almost 700 farms with an agritourism feature, which brings visitors to vineyards, orchards, and corn mazes, but are these farms welcoming to everyone?” Using photos it explains how to make farms and vineyards more accessible to everyone. Tasmania also has a 2017 draft Agritourism Strategy, but it doesn’t say anything about inclusion and accessibility.