In 1963, the Esso Motor Hotell opened its doors in Laxå and welcomed its first guests. Fast-forward 50 years and the hotel chain has enjoyed strong growth, making its mark on both the Swedish and the international hotel industry along the way. In 1984, Esso Motor Hotell changed its name to Scandic Hotels, a chain that now has 155 hotels and around 30,000 rooms across Europe. All 155 Scandic hotels across the continent will be celebrating the anniversary of this sprightly 50 year-old at the weekend.
Over the years, Scandic has increased accessibility in its hotels. It was the first hotel chain to appoint a Director of Accessibility to work on improving accessibility for disabled guests. Now all the hotels have rooms adapted to guests with special needs. Scandic has also improved online information about access at its hotel For further information, see here, here, and here.
Following on from many recent developments in accessible tourism in Spain (for example, see here, here, and here), that country is working to make sure its National Parks offer nature for all. Installations are being adapted for people with disabilities, including adapting information panels and leaflets for the blind, having handrails and double-height windows, and having guides who use sign language. More spacious facilities have been developed, paths have non-slip compact materials that are non-reflective, and trails are suitable for all.
Spain has fourteen national parks with a total of over 325,000 hectares. The Spanish office of Europarc (the European Federation of Nature Reserves and National Parks) has published a catalogue of good practices carried out in Spain’s parks. These initiatives have removed barriers and continue to operate to make Spain’s National Parks a natural resource for everyone to enjoy.
The Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, one of the seven Canary Islands, is an excellent example of an accessible park. Improvements carried out have made the park into a volcanic paradise which is accessible to anyone with a disability. Educational material includes information in Braille in several languages, and audiovisual productions incorporate sign language. In Tenerife, also in the Canary Islands, the Teide National Park, which has UNESCO World Heritage designation, has a guide service for disabled people. By booking in advance, disabled people can discover the park’s huge biodiversity and enjoy spectacular views of the Teide from its viewing point. The Tablas de Daimiel park in Castile–La Mancha offers a similar service. Its La Laguna observatory adapts each group visit according to members’ disabilities. The Picos de Europa National Park in the Region of Asturias has a room called ‘the cave’, where visitors can experience the different sounds and textures to be found in the ecosystems of the park. At the Sierra Nevada National Park in the province of Granada, Andalusia, you can recreate the realities of nature at a range of workshops on astronomy, ecology, textile production… all adapted for the disabled.
Some of Spain’s National Parks offer direct vehicular access, such as Doñana (Andalusia), which also has UNESCO World Heritage designation, and Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici Park, in Catalonia.
Turismabile, in collaboration with Piedmont Region, is running an international Accessible Tourism conference in Tourin on June the 14th. The conference is “Accessible Tourism and Piedmont for All”, which will be addressed by national and international experts. One aim of the conference is to discuss guidelines and common and shared strategies at the national and the Europe-wide level. The results of a survey conducted by Turismabile on the perception of accessible tourism by national and international tour operators will be discussed. For info and reservations:
Per tutti coloro che operano nel turismo accessibile e per coloro che vorrebbero avvicinarsi…appuntamento importante a Torino il 14 giugno. Turismabile, in collaborazione con la Regione Piemonte, è lieto di invitarvi al convegno internazionale “Turismo Accessibile e Piemonte for All”. Esperti nazionali ed internazionali affronteranno la tematica da più prospettive. Il primo Libro Bianco sul Turismo Accessibile, le best practice nazionali ed internazionali, i fondi europei 2014-2020, saranno gli spunti da cui prenderanno avvio i lavori, al fine di tracciare linee guida e strategie comuni e condivise sul futuro del turismo accessibile. L’obiettivo dei lavori è quello di tracciare linee guida e strategie comuni e condivise, anche a livello europeo, sul futuro del turismo, con specifico riferimento al turismo accessibile. Si partirà dal percorso che ha portato il Piemonte a caratterizzarsi come eccellenza nel “turismo per tutti”, considerando anche le Best Practice Nazionali ed Europee. A partire dai risultati dell’indagine realizzata da Turismabile “Turismo accessibile e Piemonte for All. Indagine sulla percezione dei Tour Operator Nazionali ed Internazionali”, si focalizzerà l’attenzione su quanto il “turismo per tutti” è conosciuto, considerato e messo in atto dagli operatori del comparto turistico, fornendo una lettura sulle potenzialità del mercato tra punti di forza e criticità.
Non perdete l’occasione!
Understanding the Needs and Consequences of the Ageing Consumer is a new publication by AT Kearney and The Consumer Goods Forum based on a survey of more than 3,000 shoppers and consumers 65 years old or older. The report highlights the urgency with which the consumer goods industry needs to address changing consumer demographics, and also provides key insights from a recent international roundtable of industry and academic experts. Some highlights from the report important to the tourism, travel, and hospitality industry are:
- Within 35 years, there will be more people alive older than 60 than there are people younger than 15.
- By the 2050s, well over one-third of the adult populations of Spain, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Russia will be older than 60.
- For the rest of the 21st century, the fastest-growing consumer group in the world will be people over the age of 60.
- By 2047, there will be 2 billion mature consumers worldwide
- Thus older people currently represent and will in future represent a significant percentage of consumers
- People are living longer and staying healthy longer
- Older people are wealthier than in the past. In developed societies, mature citizens control much of the wealth, even though their nominal incomes may decline after retirement. For example, people over 50 own 80% per cent of U.S. financial assets and are responsible for half of discretionary income. Last year, they spent $87 billion on new cars, compared to $70 billion spent by those under the age of 50.
- In the United Kingdom, a study by Abbey, the housing finance and financial services group, shows that 34% of the population is older than 50 and owns nearly 75 per cent of the country’s total wealth.
- Worldwide, those aged 60+ spent more than $8 trillion in 2010; by the end of this decade, they will spend $15 trillion. An analysis of the share of income for people over 60 in various economic regions shows that it will continue to rise through 2020
- Older consumers do not think they are adequately served
- Many express a negative view of advertising, finding it too loud and too focused on young people and rock music. These findings are supported by a U.K. Age Concern (now called Age UK) survey, in which two-thirds of mature consumers say advertising portrays them negatively and three-quarters say they do not relate to it at all.
Spain’s State Society for Innovation Management and Tourism Technologies (SEGITTUR) of the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism, and Fundacion ONCE (Spain’s largest disabilities NGO) have signed an agreement under which the two will collaborate on the implementation of initiatives aimed at the internationalization of accessible tourism. Their goal is to bring tourism to the 200 million people in Europe who currently miss out, i.e., people with disabilities and those who would travel with them. SEGITTUR President Antonio Lopez de Avila, and the CEO of ONCE Foundation, José Luis Martínez Donoso stressed that investing in accessible tourism creates a point of difference that will bring competitive advantage.
“Accessibility is good for everyone said the president of SEGITTUR after signing the agreement. “You have to turn it into a competitive advantage.” For his part, Martinez Donoso referred to the need to build accessible tourism. He said that accessible tourism will to not only appeal to the 4 million people with disabilities in Spain but also to the 40 million in Europe. In his opinion, “Spain could attract 20 million tourists by ensuring accessibility.”
ONCE and SEGITTUR are to cooperate in designing plans for Accessible Tourism development, advising governments in drafting legislation and standards specific to accessibility, and will provide technical assistance in the development of infrastructure projects and tourism facilities. They will also work on designing training plans for operators involved in accessible tourism, guides conducting accessible tours, accessibility validation of tourism products, and the design and development of accessible web pages. In addition, another development included in the agreement relates to the implementation of technologies for accessible tourism, development of accessible applications for smartphones, and the conducting of audits of accessibility.
For SEGITTUR’s president, this agreement will help tourist destinations achieve an optimal level of accessibility and thus visitation, and is an essential element in the development of Intelligent Tourist Destinations. Lopez de Avila stressed that accessible tourism brings advantages and benefits as it is a factor of social inclusion; it is important legally since tourism is a right; and it is important economically since this is a market segment of 200 million people in Europe alone.
Source: In Spanish here. (Please forgive any translation mistakes, above!)
Growing demand for accessible hotel services for individuals with disabilities and the elderly means that offering equal services to all guests is a focal point for hotel managers who want to maximize their overall service portfolio. A number of hotels around the world offer accessible services, but there is no global “standard” being used to provide a uniform and objective measure of how accessible each hotel is and to whom. As a result, the information available to people with accessibility needs is incomplete and not reliable enough to ensure that they can enjoy their accommodation and stay. ACCESSIBILITY PASS classifies hotels’ accessibility level based on their infrastructure, services offered and personnel skills, providing a universal scheme that takes into account currently existing national standards (ENAT).
ACCESSIBILITY PASS includes information for clients with motor, visual, hearing or cognitive disabilities and is a global hotel certification scheme that classifies hotels’ accessibility level based on their infrastructure, services offered and personnel skills. As such it ensures that a hotel is offering the same service quality to individuals with a disability as to any other client. It is applicable to any Hotel class/type and to Conference Centers. Hotels & Conference Centers fulfilling the ACCESSIBILITY PASS requirements get a certificate featuring their accessibility level appropriate to each disability group. The access labels gained can be listed in the ACCESSIBILITY PASS Public Registry, which features detailed information on a venue’s accessibility features.
ACCESSIBILITY PASS is operated by PEOPLECERT, which offers globally recognized certifications, such as ITIL®, ISO 20000, ISO 27000 and IASSC Lean Six Sigma in over 20 languages. It has been endorsed by a number of international organizations.
English Heritage recently updated its 2005 free guide: Easy access to historic landscapes. English Heritage is comprised of a Commission which establishes overall strategic direction, and an Executive Board. Most of its funding comes from the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport. The aim of this guide is to help property owners and managers provide easier access for all their visitors, whatever their age or level of ability. It will also be of value to designers, planners, and others working to open up historic sites to a wider audience. This revised edition of the guidance promotes an inclusive approach to ensure that every visitor to a historic park, garden or landscape has a meaningful experience, particularly people wirh disabilities. Contents include a look at why access matters, planning for better access, barriers to access, practical advice and examples on making access a reality.
Last year, English Heritage updated its 2004 free guide: Easy access to historic buildings. The updated guidelines focus on physical access issues because these often pose the greatest challenges as well as opportunities for historic buildings. Other issues such as lighting, tone, colour contrast and signing are touched upon, while acknowledging the excellent guidance on these aspects of good access design which exists elsewhere. The guidance also focuses on the challenges and constraints posed by buildings whose function is not directly related to their historic status – shops, offices and civic buildings – rather than those preserved and opened to the public purely as historic attractions. Although the guidelines are relevant to both categories of building the latter raise significant issues in relation to interpretation (sometimes referred to as intellectual access), which are largely beyond the scope of the document. Contents are similar to those in Easy access to historic landscapes.
Source: English Heritage website
Australian trend forecaster Bernard Salt says Baby Boomers will wield significant economic power in the next decade and small businesses can prosper from their retirement (Travel Blog). Mr Salt, a partner at KPMG, says an ”important transition” is taking place in which the baby boomer generation – born between 1946 and about 1966 – is reaching the official retirement age of 65. This opens up new opportunities to service what Mr Salt calls ”the new narrative of life that will be lived between 55 and 72”. In Australia alone, there are 4.5 million people passing through that phase over the next decade, whereas “previously there were barely 2.5 million people,” he says. Baby boomers are ”intrinsically high consumers” compared with their ”frugal and modest” predecessors.
It’s an opportunity for businesses to determine what this group will want. ”It’s got to pitch to their needs; they’re not going to be hiking for five days to get to Machu Picchu, are they?” Opportunities might be in areas such as over-60s travel, health and fitness, medical technology, succession planning (legal services, financial planning and conveyancing), or money-making volunteering enterprises. “Boomers have big expectations in retirement, which I think is going to be a challenge for government and for big business” says Salt.
According to Mr Salt, businesses should reconsider their marketing strategies. Over-55s policies for example, which group baby boomers with 80-year-olds – people their parents’ age – are ”actually offensive”.
There are businesses starting up to cater to baby boomers. For example, Fran Sirio, 54, launched Entice Travel Services in 2011, a boutique business focusing on over-55s. The former national sales manager at Australian Pacific Touring travels overseas with her clients, acting as mobile concierge for people who don’t want to organise their travel. It’s more time-consuming and demanding than a normal travel-guide gig, but Sirio prefers her cautious – though dependent – pleasure-seekers. ”They’ve got the time, the money, the patience – they’re just lovely,” Ms Sirio says. Ms Sirio says marketing to an age range that has vastly different skills and experiences is the most difficult aspect of her business.
Source: Travel Blog
A report from Australian Hearing, ”Is Australia Listening?”, predicts that one-in-four people will have hearing loss by 2050 and up to one quarter of those will have problems caused by listening to MP3 players at “excessive and damaging” levels. This represents a 50% increase as today, one-in-six adults have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is most prevalent in older people and the incidence of hearing loss increases with age. Currently, over 60% of Australians 60 years old or older have hearing loss. However, the next most likely group to hearing loss are teenagers: researchers have found that hearing damage is common among young adults and that 70% of young people have experienced tinnitus — ringing, buzzing or crackling noises in their ears.
Spanish interactive website about accessible tourism & travel a collaborative project with Government of Spain
Guest Blog: Manuel Calvillo is a psychologist who lives in Andalucia (Spain) He first became interested in Accessible Tourism when started working for FEJIDIF, designing Puedo Viajar and studying the tourism and travel habits and needs of people with disabilities. Currently he is working as teacher-trainer in courses about accessible tourism. His personal blog is la tiranía de la normalidad Here he discusses the development of aspects of accessible tourism in Spain.
FEJIDIF (Federacion Provincial de Asociaciones des Personas con Discapacidad Fisica y Organica de Jaen, Spain) has been working on accessible tourism since 1999 and Puedo Viajar (I can Travel), created in 2010, is its main project. Puedo Viajar is a social network site about accessible tourism in Spanish, where entrepreneurs can promote their facilities and tourist services, and where travellers can find travel deals, travel guides, create and share experiences and opinions of their own breaks, and holidays with all the community. Puedo Viajar is created by the opinion, experiences and advice that people leave on it. People not only can look for information about places, monuments, hotels, cities, routes and their accessibility, they too can create new experiences or add new comments, images or videos to previous one created by other people.
Training for tourism professionals (both face to face and online) is another of the highlights FEFIDIF is offering. We try to offer the theoretical framework and the skills necessary to create and adapt enjoyable and safe facilities and services for all. Furthermore, FEJIDIF has edited several studies and papers to give support and advice on accessible tourism, for example, META (Specialized Manual on Accessible Tourism) and “Puedo Viajar Study: habits and needs of people with disabilities”.
Finally, it should be noted, as part of Puedo Viajar, the project #OpenSpain, was design by FEJIDIF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Government of Spain. #OpenSpain aims to spread information about the tourism and culture of Spain, providing detailed information about accessibility and other characteristics of each location. Specifically, the main activities that will take place into #OpenSpain campaing will be promote touristic sites and routes, disseminate cultural tourist sites and events, and add value to these places thanks to the their accessibility. It was also intended that #OpenSpain be a multicultural campaign so all information will be provided in English, French and German. It also aims to promote even more the value and possibilities that community and new technologies offer, so we are creating a mobile app “PuedoViajar” for smartphones and tablets. The new app will be available soon in four different languages: Spanish, English, French and German. It will to owners and tourists from different countries the possibility of using it to promote theirs business and share their personal experiences when travelling.
Wheelmap (germany), Inclusivelondon (England) et Esaccesibleapp (Spain), and Jaccede (France) are collaborative sites which welcome consumer input.
Disabledgo (England), Accessibleirland (Ireland), Predif (Spain), and Bruxellespourtous (Belgium) are more static user guides.
Vodafone has also developed mobile applications in Spain and Italy (Famma), and Italy (Easyway).
Wheelmap (Allemagne), Inclusivelondon (Angleterre), Esaccesibleapp (Espagne) et Jaccede (France) proposent des solutions collaboratives.
Disabledgo (Angleterre), Accessibleirland (Irlande), Predif (Espagne) et Bruxellespourtous (Belgique) ont opté pour des guides web plus statiques.
Vodafone a également développé des applications mobiles en Espagne et Italie : Famma (Espagne) et Easyway (Italie)
Source: Jaccede newsletter
England’s Accessible Tourism Action Plan and VisitEngland: working to improve visitor access in £97 billion industry
England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84% of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £97 billion, and supports in excess of 2 million jobs. VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. They work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and visitors. Their work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. Their latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics can be found at www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics
VisitEngland is the guardian of England’s Accessible Tourism Action Plan, part of England’s Strategic Framework for Tourism, which provides direction for the tourism industry. It provides tourism information for people with physical and sensory needs at www.visitengland.com/accessforall. It also provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs at www.visitengland.org/access. These include information about the business case for offering accessible tourism, how to produce an Access Statement and accurate and detailed information on facilities and services, improving access, improving customer service and staff awareness, tips and advice on particular access customer needs, and developing accessible destinations.
VisitEngland also includes and access category in its annual excellence awards. This year, finalists in the Access for All Tourism Awards include The Calvert Trust Exmoor, Devon; Eureka! The National Children’s Museum; Hoe Grange Holidays, Derbyshire: One Great George Street, Institute of Civil Engineers, Sandcastle Waterpark, Lancashire; and Science Museum, London.
The provision of reliable and accurate information about access to tourism, travel, and hospitality services is essential for any person with a disability planning a trip. The key words here are reliable and accurate. Often, tourism business owners or operators think their business is accessible when it is not (for example, see research here). Because owners/operators do not often know what true access is, they mistakenly tell potential customers with disabilities that they are accessible. The potential customer is therefore given incorrect information on which to plan a trip. An example of the dissemination of inaccurate information is that given by the NZ Tourism Guide. The solution is of course for tourism businesses to be independently assessed by a qualified access assessor (for example, in New Zealand, by Be. Accessible).
Visit Scotland suggests “there’s a largely untapped market out there of 11 million people with a disposable income of £80 billion per year, plus another 124 million people in Europe with a potential spending power of 66 billion Euros. Out of the 11 million disabled people in the UK, only 2 million take a holiday, the rest say it is “just too difficult”. Some of this difficulty is due to the dearth of reliable information about access. Visit England reports that 83% of people who look for access information to plan a trip use destination websites – but only 1 in 3 (39%) find it easy to locate information required. Three-quarters (74%) of people with access needs say they are more likely to choose a destination that offered the best guidance.
Therefore, a huge (and growing) group of people are prevented from enjoying tourism, travel, and hospitality experiences due to lack of information about accessible services, or the lack of reliability of such information.
Baby Boomers are increasingly technologically savvy, according to a survey commissioned by leading 50+ community website, GrownUps New Zealand. More than a thousand Kiwi baby boomers revealed their technological habits in GrownUps annual online survey with results showing the only factor holding people back from using the internet more was a lack of free time. Nearly 50% said more free time would enable them to increase use of the internet. Ninetye-seven percent are regular users of social media sites, and 62% are active users of Facebook. YouTube and Twitter are also popular. Fifty-six percent use the internet to research travel destinations and book overseas holidays. Ninety-three percent use broadband, and use the internet between 5 and 20 hours per week.
Richard Poole, co-founder of GrownUps says the survey results indicate that Kiwis over fifty are one of the most technologically advanced groups, right up there with those in Generation Y. This is contrary to the popular opinion that Kiwis over fifty are not very technologically conscious.
The Osgoode Township Museum in Vernon will be closed for a month as it undergoes renovations this spring. The renovations are part of a one-time capital grant from the city of Ottawa to make the building more accessible. “We are reconfiguring our washrooms to make them more wheelchair accessible,” said museum curator Robin Cushnie. “Currently they are not accessible, not to the current standards anyway. “ External access and entrances will also be upgraded. The renovations will cost about $50,000, most of which will be covered by the city, which owns the building. The museum will cover anything over that amount.
Thanks to a new partnership with the New Vision Group, the OpenBritain.net website was relaunched on 19 March 2013, and is set to become the premier accessible tourism website for the UK. It is linked to VisitEngland, with search facilities for properties with a National Accessible Scheme rating, as well as a wide range of visitor information across the UK provided by partners including DisabledGo. The OpenBritain concept was launched on 6th July 2010 at The Deck, The National Theatre, London by three ministers who represented the Government Olympic Executive, the Dept of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS, which covers tourism), and the Dept for Work and Pensions (DWP) which covers disability. The initiative was then welcomed by the coalition government, with support from Prime Minister David Cameron, John Penrose MP (who was minister for tourism), and Maria Miller MP, then minister for the disabled and now Secretary of State for DCMS. At the time, Miller said:
“The OpenBritain initiative will not only create a national and comprehensive information system which will be extremely valuable to anyone visiting the UK, but will also provide businesses with an additional means of promoting their accessble services and provide an incentive to improve their own accessibility. It is clear that gathering all available information about accessibility relevant to the visitor, under one roof, will make a real difference to the lives of disabled and older people and visitors alike.”
Also giving their support are a host of disability groups, including the National Federation of Shopmobility; tourism and hospitality trade associations like the British Hospitality Association, the Caravan Club, the Camping and Caravanning Club, the Historic Houses Association, the National Trust; and the public sector, including VisitBritain, VisitEngland, VisitScotland and VisitWales.
Information from Tourism for All
New Zealand’s Inaugural Universal Design Conference will take place in Auckland on 24 May. The conference is supported by Auckland Council, Lifemark, and the Ministry of Social Development. Universal Design (UD) is a design concept that aims to create environments, products, learning programmes and systems that can be used by as many people as possible. “Universal Design makes things more accessible, safer, and convenient for everyone….[It] is a philosophy that can be applied to policy, design and other practices to make products, environments and systems function better for a wider range of people. It developed in response to the diversity of human populations, their abilities and their needs” (IDeA Center, University at Buffalo, State University of New York). In the tourism, travel, and hospitality environment, using UD concepts leads to activities and attractions, restaurants, and cafes, and all forms of transport that are usable by all people, able bodied and those with a disability, seniors who are not as agile as they once were, travellers with heavy bags, parents with pushchairs and so on.
There are several good reasons to think about Universal Design in New Zealand. Firstly there is much talk in central and local government circles about inclusiveness and liveable communities but a lack of understanding of what this really means. Secondly, the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Christchurch is a great opportunity to build a city for all people. Thirdly, New Zealand has a high rate of accident and injury. A growing population means that medium and high density housing is the way of the future. Finally, as with most countries, New Zealand’s population is ageing. In addition, tourism is a major industry in New Zealand, and already about 43% of our international visitors are 45 years old or older. Using universal design in developing our tourism industry is a must if we are to retain and grow this visitor sector.
The aims of the conference are to raise awareness of universal design and how it can benefit society and businesses, and to inspire individuals and organisations within the built environment industries to take the initiative and lead New Zealand towards creating places that are enjoyable and safe. The conference is aimed at people involved in the built environment industries (design, development and construction), business, planning, infrastructure, economic development, human resources, environmental design, residential facilities, community service, policy, strategy and anyone interested in creating liveable and inclusive communities.
Discussion topics will include UD theory, demographics and the ageing community, human rights, social and economic benefits, future proofing, local government policies, strategies and plans, housing, and commercial development, building codes.
A recent issue of Discover magazine discussed various aspects of our ageing world, including that today, the globe is home to 2 billion people 65 or older (65+). This group is growing five times as quickly as the population as a whole. Five nations have more than 50 million who are 65+: Chine (440 million), India (316m), USA (111m), Indonesia (72m), and Brazil (64m). The percentage of those 65+ in countries will rise. For example, in Germany, the 65+ are currently 20.4% of the population; by 2062, that percent will rise to 30.1. For other countries, the picture is the same (USA: 13% now c.f. 21.9% in 2062; Japan, 23% c.f. 35%, Italy, 20.4% c.f. 31.4% etc). The median age of populations is also going up. For example, the top 5 leading the world in change in median age will be Iran, median age currently 27, by 2062 it will be 50, Vietnam, 28 now c.f. 48 in 2062, Mexico, 27 c.f. 45, India, 25 c.f. 40, Korea, 38 c.f. 51.
The Italian government has released its fist White paper on accessible tourism: “Access is Better” (Accesibile e meglio). The paper is an initiative promoted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Public Bid for the Mission of Image of Italy in collaboration with the Committee for the Promotion and Support of Accessible Tourism. The paper opens with an analysis of the tourism market. More than a billion people worldwide (15%) live with disabilities (World Health Organization 2011). The paper analyses 360 Italian examples of accessible tourism “projects” throughout Italy (especially Emilia, Romagna, Tuscany, and Lombardy). In Italian.
England National Tourism Board and Action on Hearing Loss launch access guide for tourism businesses
National tourist board VisitEngland has joined forces with UK charity Action on Hearing Loss to launch Listen Up! – a new guide for tourism businesses. Designed to help businesses become more accessible for customers with hearing loss, the free resource is available online at www.visitengland.org/access. More than 10 million people in the UK (6% of the population) have some form of hearing loss, and Listen Up! is packed with information, advice and examples of best practice for providing these customers with a warm welcome and an excellent visitor experience. It also highlights key issues for business owners when accommodating deaf or hard of hearing visitors, including:
• Safety – How to put adequate evacuation procedures in place to alert guests with hearing loss in case of an emergency.
• Communication – Advice for staff when speaking to someone with hearing loss, and information on disability awareness and sign language training courses.
• Facilities – Information on equipment that can assist guests with hearing loss (available at www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/visitengland), such as hearing loops and text phones, as well as advice on completing an Access Statement – a written description of a venue’s facilities and services, to inform people with access needs.
The new guide adds to a wealth of free tools and resources VisitEngland has developed with a range of partners to help attractions, accommodation operators and other tourism business across England offer the best possible experience to disabled visitors. The national tourist board has also released a series of short videos highlighting the experiences of deaf guests when staying in hotels in England. The videos are designed to alert business owners to a range of issues affecting deaf guests, from wake up calls to ordering room service. They can be found on the VisitEnglandBiz YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/VisitEnglandBiz .
As well as partnering with VisitEngland to produce Listen Up!, Action on Hearing Loss also recently assisted the national tourist board in offering hearing loop testing to quality assured attractions as an extra part of their annual VAQAS (Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme) assessment.
Ross Calladine, VisitEngland’s Head of Business Support, said: “Visitors who have a health condition or disability – and their companions – spend over £2billion a year in England, so it is vital that we integrate the needs of visitors with physical and sensory access requirements into our everyday service provision. Listen Up! is designed to help tourism businesses become more deaf aware, and attract even more of these loyal and valuable customers, and Action on Hearing Loss is the ideal partner for this project.”
Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell, says: “People with hearing loss are a significant force in the economy, travelling both for business and pleasure. We are delighted to be working with Visit England to publish the Listen Up! guide. It will help tourism businesses improve the accessibility of their services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, invest in hearing loss support and generate more income.”
For more information contact: Sarah Long, Head of Corporate Communications Tel: 020 7578 1452, Email email@example.com Emma White, Corporate Communications Executive Tel 020 7578 1471, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.visitengland.org
Source: VisitEngland press release.