VisitEngland has launched a toolkit for tourism businesses in England to help them make their services more accessible.
Total expenditure generated in England by those with an impairment or those travelling within a group where a member has an impairment is now estimated to be £14.6 billion annually.
The new VisitEngland Accessible and Inclusive Toolkit for Tourism Businesses offers practical guidance on providing an inclusive welcome, designing accessible buildings, employing disabled people and creating quality accessibility information.
Tourism minister Sir John Whittingdale said: “It is the government’s ambition for the UK to become the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025, as set out in our Tourism Recovery Plan.
“VisitEngland is playing a crucial role in leading the industry towards achieving this. Its work in this space is respected not just domestically but internationally.
“I very much support the new toolkit and hope for it to become the go-to resource for visitor economy businesses across England.”
Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Disabled People, added: “This toolkit will promote disability inclusion across the tourism industry, so it is fitting to see it launch ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities this Sunday (December 3).
“The government is committed to making disabled people’s lives easier, including through our Disability Action Plan, and this toolkit is another step towards building a more inclusive society where every disabled person can reach their fullest potential.”
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes commented: “Our research shows that visitors in this important market value clear, concise, accessible information and tourism business want to provide it.
“We want to support businesses to remove barriers so that visitors with accessibility requirements have the opportunity to enjoy our tourism offer like everyone else.
“This best-in-class toolkit supports businesses to place accessibility at the centre of their operations, driving improved customer service and their welcome for visitors.”
The free toolkit includes case studies, top 20 tips and downloadable checklists to plan and prioritise improvements.
About 30 organisations, including some of the leading disability charities and tourism and hospitality trade associations, helped develop the toolkit, which has been launched in the run-up to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.
Picture of Bekonscot model village and railway in Buckinghamshire by Paul Maguire/Shutterstock.com