inclusive tourism for operators
the best way to encourage visitor diversity is to offer a product that caters for people of all access needs.
Inclusive Tourism is about encouraging visitor diversity and welcoming visitors with a wide range of ages and physical abilities - from families with a pram and older travellers, to visitors with a temporary injury, chronic illness or disability.
The following information aims to help make your tourism offering as inclusive as possible by providing the best possible experience and the information people need to plan their visit.
Why it is important for operators
It is estimated that by 2020 25% of the tourism market will be made up by people with a mobility limitation. This actually has a multiplying effect times by three, as these people usually travel in groups and if one cannot access a service their companions won’t either.
Australia’s population has about 20% with a mobility limitation, including the ageing population. A recent survey of tourism operators in the Fleurieu Peninsula showed that 43% of customers were 55 years and over. The Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism profile shows that 42% of domestic visitors are 55+ years and 38% of international visitors.
Of the local population in the Fleurieu Peninsula, 51% are over 50 years of age (Victor Harbor median age is 57).
But it’s wider than just catering for people with access needs – a wide range of travellers including families and older people will benefit from detailed visitor information, flexible and helpful customer service, and thoughtful design of the infrastructure.
Operators who can offer a product that is inclusive and welcoming will attract loyal customers - they will come back to the places that meet their needs, providing many years of return visitation.
- Update website with accessibility statement and include visual images, floor plans and maps of your site(s) to assist potential customers to make an informed choice about their stay or activity. Include location of stairs/ramps, condition of pathways, adaptive bathrooms, distances from car parking to entrance, drop off points etc.
- Use directional signage on site for accessible paths, drop off points and car parking.
- Make sure all signage is in large clear fonts with contrasting backgrounds (black and white is best).
- Educate staff in mobility/disability awareness training.
- Have multiple booking and payment methods to suit visually and hearing impaired i.e. on-line booking form, telephone booking, email etc.
- Ensure you have an online enquiry form and include a response time.
- Employ staff who like and understand people of different needs and background. Employ some staff from a diverse background, this will assist especially if you have customers of various backgrounds.
- Have a way for customers to provide feedback and listen to it.
- Always speak directly with the person with a disability and not just their carer. Ask how they want to be involved. They know best their abilities and can make the choices that are appropriate for them i.e. don’t make assumptions.
- Accept companion/carer cards.
- Welcome guide and assistance animals - they are legally able to go anywhere except a quarantine zone.
- Language – ‘inclusive’ and ‘accessible’ are the general terminology commonly used today. Avoid labelling with terms such as disabled, impaired or wheelchair bound but instead use 'a person with a disability’ or ‘a person who uses a wheelchair’, ‘a person who is visually impaired’. Avoid the use of ‘handicapped’ as it is now considered outdated.
- Reposition furniture to allow better access for those with mobility issues i.e. enough space to navigate with a cane, walker, pram or wheelchair; remove any trip hazards like mats and cords.
- Provide family friendly features - change tables, high chairs, children’s menu etc.
- If you do have steps ensure they are well contrasted for easy visibility and hand rails provided.
- Ensure pathways are clear of debris, bushes and over hanging branches and well maintained.
The above information has been compiled by Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism and Regional Development Australia, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and KI based on resources and presentations by Push Adventures and other sources.
tips for operators
We have compiled a checklist for operators to assist them in providing the most inclusive experience for their customers.
Other Information Sources
Further research and resources including information on the policies and legislation that encourage or make it a legal requirement for services and buildings to be accessible.
Dedicated Accessible Tourism website aimed at providing users with tourism experiences and products that cater for all access needs.