At the start of World Travel Market this week, VisitEngland (http://www.visitengland.com/) announced plans for a national drive to promote England as a leading destination for accessible tourism, following a successful bid for funding from the European Commission. The announcement came as new research by VisitEngland shows the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3billion to the England economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.4billion. The ‘Access for All’ project will be funded by a grant of €125,000 from the European Commission. VisitEngland will partner with seven destinations – including Bath, Leicestershire, Newcastle Gateshead, and Brighton – to develop and promote their destination for visitors with access needs. As part of this, 56 businesses will be involved in a process to improve their accessibility. Informative visitor guides will be created for each destination to put on show the wide breadth of tourism experiences available, and to promote local tourism businesses that are providing a warm welcome to all visitors, including those with access needs. VisitEngland will also deliver a national marketing campaign which will go live in late summer/early autumn 2015 to showcase the experiences on offer for visitors with access needs, and encourage more people to take a short break in England.
James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland noted that as the national tourist board, VisitEngland is committed to ensuring England is a destination that offers a warm welcome for all visitors. “The Access for All project is a fantastic opportunity to continue to build England’s reputation as a leader in accessible tourism, and help grow this important and valuable market, now worth £3billion to England’s economy” said Berresford. Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said that the “ Access for All project will help disabled people enjoy England’s world beating tourist destinations. The tourism sector is making a significant contribution to economic growth in this country and we want to keep up that momentum by ensuring our destinations are welcoming to all.”
VisitEngland has taken a leading role in supporting and encouraging tourism businesses to make the most of this valuable market. The project, which will run from October 2014 until March 2016, will expand on VisitEngland’s pilot Access for All project which supported four destinations to create accessible experiences, accompanied by a national marketing campaign launched in March this year with the support of top Paralympians.
Today (4/11/2012), VisitEngland’s lead on Access, Ross Calladine and a host of other speakers will present a WTM Seminar: “Preparing your Destinations for the Accessible Tourism Market: Lessons from Research Practice” in London.
For more information and to view the full infographic on the Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England see http://www.visitengland.org/busdev/bussupport/access/buscase/index.aspx
VisitEngland provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs, available at www.visitengland.org/access – including:
• Access Statements – A free online tool allowing businesses to create a description of their premises, to inform people with access needs.
• Online Disability Awareness Training – this online course was developed in partnership with DisabledGO, and is designed to help tourism businesses deliver a warm welcome and excellent service to disabled customers.
• VisitEngland also provides tourism information for people with physical and sensory needs at www.visitengland.com/accessforall
About the European Commission Grant:
• In July 2014, VisitEngland’s application to the grant programme in the framework of the Preparatory Action, “Tourism and Accessibility for All” was approved by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry. €125,000 was awarded to the “Access for All” project over an 18-month period up to 31 March 2016 aimed at the design, implementation, promotion and marketing of accessible tourism guides.
• VisitEngland is one of seven successful project applicants, including other organisations from Germany, Italy and Spain.
• Link to the accessible tourism webpage on the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry website.
Source: VisitEnglandhttp://www.visitengland.org/media/pressreleases/2014/european-commission-grant-to-fund-visitengland-access-for-all-project.aspx . Follow on Twitter: @VisitEngland @WTMLondon @RossCalladine @HelenGrantMP @JBerresfordVE