5 Ways Your Tourism Business Can Prioritise Accessibility

Travel is an incredible way to experience the world and everything it has to offer. However, for people with disabilities, travelling can often be a daunting and challenging experience. It is important for the tourism industry to prioritise accessibility so that everyone can enjoy the wonders of travel.

Accessible tourism is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Tourism Australia valued accessible tourism in 2021 at AUD$13.5 billion, and $1 invested brings a $13 average ROI. 1 in 5 people have a disability, and the “disability dollar” represents more than $200bn per year. This is a significant market that should not be ignored.

What can the tourism industry do to make travel more accessible? Here are a few tips to start where you are on your accessible & inclusive journey:

Staff Training
It is important for tourism businesses to train their staff to ensure they are aware of the needs of people with disabilities. This includes providing education on different types of disabilities, how to communicate with people, and how to provide assistance when needed.

Not Just Physical Accessibility!
While businesses should ensure that their facilities are physically accessible to people with disabilities, including providing wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, elevators and tactile paving, there are also many smaller inclusive changes you can make to become more ‘accessible’. Having a quiet hour to cater to those with sensory impairments, amenities for assistance dogs, large print menus, hearing loops, quiet rooms and more.

It’s All In The Communication
Information (or lack of!) is the number one barrier in accessible communication, making your website and social media accessible is a good place to start as that is where most customers have first contact with your business. Additionally, providing accessible communication is crucial for people with disability (PWD), this can include providing choices of contact (ie. email, phone number), options of braille or large print materials, audio descriptions, and closed captioning when showcasing video content. Watch a snippet of Chris Veitch from the 2021 Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference as he chats about the importance of a first impression when it comes to accessible tourism using the ‘Moment of Truth’ theory.

Events For Everybody
Tourism businesses should offer activities that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. This includes offering accessible tours, providing assistive devices, and making sure that all activities are designed with accessibility in mind. To learn more about this, you can watch our webinar Events For Everybody.

Network & Collaborate
The tourism industry can work together with disability organisations to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are being met. This includes collaborating on accessibility initiatives and seeking feedback from people with disabilities on how to improve accessibility. GetAboutAble can consult with you, and put you in touch with our extensive network of disability advocates and experts.

Alternatively, you can join us at the annual Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Conference to learn from experts, network with peers in the tourism and travel industry, and seize opportunities to collaborate! Additionally, you can purchase the recordings for 2023, 2022 and 2021 to view on demand.

Accessible tourism benefits everyone. By prioritising access and inclusion with additional staff training, improved key communication on websites and collaborating with industry experts, the tourism sector can tap into a significant market while also making travel more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone.

Let’s work together to make travel accessible for all.

Image of an employee serving food to patrons at a Cafe, one patron is a wheelchair user showing the Cafe's accessibility.
Showcase of accessibility at QT Hotel. Captured for the Discover Canberra... more than inclusive, more than accessible campaign