With one of the world’s biggest sporting events just twelve months away, VisitScotland (Scotland’s national tourism organization) has announced details of a £45,000 online Accessible Tourism programme to ensure the industry is ready to take advantage of one of the greatest opportunities for Scottish tourism in a generation. The initiative – launched in Glasgow by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing – will help VisitScotland and its partners, Glasgow Service with Style, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise realise the huge potential economic benefits of the Accessible Tourism market, which is estimated to be worth £325 million to the Scottish economy. The programme will see the industry sign up to go through a series of online training modules promoting good practice and appreciation of the accessible tourim market. VisitScotland are also encouraging businesses to sign up to an ‘Access Statement’ –a clear description from each establishment on what features or facilities visitors with access requirements can expect during their stay. The work has already begun in Glasgow and will have particular significance in the city, as VisitScotland leads the Accessible Glasgow Tourism Project with the aim of making Glasgow 2014 accessible for all visitors.
Scotland is set to welcome the world in 2014 with three momentous events; Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the year-long Homecoming 2014 celebrations, and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. Minister Ewing said “Improving accessibility has real potential to help achieve tourism industry growth ambitions and boost the wider economy as well as enhancing social equalities. There’s never been a better time to promote accessible tourism as we progress towards 2014, when Scotland celebrates the second Year of Homecoming and also takes centre stage in world terms as host of the world’s biggest sporting events– the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.“
Chris McCoy, Accessible Tourism Project Manager at VisitScotland, said the launch of the project “ will see us talk about the tangible economic benefits that the industry can harness by making themselves accessible to all.” David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive said “We have embedded accessibility and inclusion into critical aspects of delivering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.”
The Accessible Tourism Project is one of the official legacy projects for the Commonwealth Games being led by the national tourism agency for city partners, in this case Glasgow 2014, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Glasgow Life, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.