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New guide helps NSW businesses to increase accessible tourism

A woman in a wheelchair walks with her sister on a wooden pier by the sea

Destination NSW has created a new resource through its NSW First Program to help visitor economy businesses deliver better experiences for all travellers. 

Quick Tips for Creating Accessible and Inclusive Experiences offers guidance on ensuring visitor experiences and marketing materials target the diverse physical, sensory and cognitive needs of travellers.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than a billion people globally are living with a disability, including more than 4.2 million in Australia. A study by Wheelchair Travel found 90 per cent of travellers with disability take at least one leisure trip per year and 39 per cent travel three or more times per year, with their spend on accommodation, tours and activities being more than the average trip when compared to someone not living with disability.

Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said accessible tourism had been identified as an emerging strength in the NSW Government’s NSW Visitor Economy Strategy 2030.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring our state builds on its global reputation as an accessible destination for travellers,” Mr Franklin said.

“Initiatives such as the NSW First ‘Quick Tips for Creating Accessible and Inclusive Experiences’ guide help destinations throughout NSW enhance their tourism offering.”

A recent survey by business collective Valuable 500 named Sydney as one of the 10 most accessible cities in the world for travellers with disability.

“This result is a fantastic reflection on the NSW Government’s efforts to create accessible infrastructure for the benefit of both residents and visitors,” Mr Franklin said.

Federation of Community, Sporting and Worker’s Clubs (FCSWC),  which operates Riverside Holiday Park Urunga, recently won Gold at the NSW Tourism Awards 2022 for Excellence in Accessible Tourism.

Chief Executive Officer Ken Conway said the organisation’s focus on accessible and inclusive tourism had significantly increased its occupancy rates and made the experiences it offered more welcoming for all guests.

“By upgrading our accessible offering and improving our digital marketing our occupancy rates increased more than 21 per cent at Riverside Holiday Resort Uranga and 30 per cent at Seaside Resort Fingal Bay,” Mr Conway said.

“We would certainly encourage other businesses to think about how they could make their experiences more accessible and inclusive.”

Cocky Guides won Silver for Excellence in Accessible Tourism at the NSW Tourism Awards 2022.

Founder James (Buck) McFarlane said: “As a specialist tour operator for blind and low-vision travellers, we work closely with businesses to help deliver exceptional service for our guests at restaurants, hotels, and attractions.

“We usually provide simple hints and tips such as allocating our rooms close to the elevator or turning the lights on before we arrive. With the right attitude, we can usually come up with simple solutions to make our travellers’ holiday amazing.

“With around one in five Australians having some form of disability, I am excited that Destination NSW has this fantastic resource to help businesses provide exceptional service and be more inclusive.”

Art Gallery of NSW has also made improved universal access a key priority of the revitalisation of the art gallery’s precinct.

Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Michael Brand said: “Accessibility is integral to the design of the new building, with entry to the building being directly from the road level with no step, lift or separate ramp necessary.

“Significant upgrades to the existing building, including renovated pathways, lighting and permanent access ramps, support enhanced access. This is in addition to extensive visitor experience facilities available throughout the Art Gallery, ranging from wheelchairs and mobility scooters to hearing augmentation systems, audio loops and magnifying lenses – all available free of charge.”

‘Quick Tips for Creating Accessible and Inclusive Experiences’ is part of Destination NSW’s NSW First Program, whose purpose is to help visitor economy businesses develop, promote and sell great visitor experiences.

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