Tourism for All - Information kit

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Creation in Australia of an information kit on tourists with disabilities, covering topics such as accommodation, legislation and marketing from a tourism perspective.

n 1997, the former Office of National Tourism produced "The Tourism Challenge – Access for All" information kit designed as a guide for tourism service providers. In the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games there was a need to increase awareness among tourism service providers on the persons with disabilities and the opportunities this market presents.

The objectives of the information kit were :
- to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in tourism, by an improved access and better services, and by promoting these new opportunities within the community of persons with disabilities;
- to provide information and guidance to tourism service operators/providers on how to better cater for tourists with disabilities and how to build on minimum levels of accessibility.

The material for the project included :
- an information kit : issues relevant to service providers, supplemented with material from other agencies, including case studies or showcase profiles of businesses and services;
- a contact kit : summary of contact details for tourists with disabilities;
- an internet page : publishing material from the information and contact kit, with links to relevant tourism and disability support sites - the Internet page also included feedback mechanisms;
- a database : a list of disability or tourism organizations, publications sorted for ready reference; for international inquiries, summary of guidelines on important issues such as airline policies, guide dogs, medical benefits reciprocity were also available.

The information kit consisted of 8 information sheets designed to be used either individually or as a complete package, and covering the following topics :
- Accommodation : accessible accommodation does not necessarily mean incurring major expense.
- Service training : service techniques can make or break a reputation. Extra awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities is no great burden. Staff can be encouraged to develop relevant skills to assist these clients. Often simply raising staff awareness, good communication and flexibility may be all that is needed.
- Marketing : a good business operator knows the importance of advertising. The challenge is to make certain that the target market is aware of what the business offers them. There are some suggestions for promoting businesses to persons with restricted physical ability, their families and friends.
- Legislation: legislation exists in Australia to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Therefore it is necessary to consider whether premises used by the public and the goods and services offered are accessible to everyone.
- Tourism stories: it is important to realize that persons with disabilities are no different from other members of the community. They are consumers of goods and services and as potential customers, they and their friends and families, will be attracted to a business that makes its services and facilities accessible.
- Contact details: there are a number of relevant organizations and agencies that can provide further information on issues raised in the Kit. These are listed on the relevant information sheet.

The project was fund by the former Office of National Tourism which undertook the project in consultation with the Office of Disability, Department of Health and Family Services.

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence indicated that there was (and still is) a scarcity of tourism information available to persons with disabilities or to industry service providers. Therefore, this kit was developed in consultation with a Steering Committee representative of government, industry and community groups. The main targets for this project were tourism services providers and persons with disabilities. The primary focus was the domestic market; a small amount of material relevant to international tourists would be compiled.

The International Day of Persons with a Disability on December 3, 1997, provided an opportunity to launch the kit. The following four-pronged distribution strategy was adopted:
- an introduction letter from the Federal Minister and bulk copies of the kit were distributed to regional offices;
- an introduction letter from the Federal Minister and one kit was sent to local governments, regional tourism centers and tourism hospitality facilities, including contact details to obtain further copies;
- an advertising flyer was sent to universities, institutes of technology and training colleges;
- advertising flyers were inserted in certain newsletters and publications.

A number of tourism service providers have made positive steps towards providing a high standard of service to persons with disabilities and are seeing the benefits. They provide examples of best practice for the tourism industry.

Key elements :
- information sheets designed to be used either individually or as a complete package and presented in a folder for ready reference;
- provision of useful introduction for operators looking to improve service to the special needs market;
- partnership between representatives of government, industry and community groups;
- effective distribution strategy.

Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
Tourism Division Level 1, 33 Allara street, GPO Box 9839, Canberra, ACT 2600 Australia
Regional and Niche Tourism Business Development Group
Phone : +612-6213-7084
Fax : +612-6213-7093
E-mail :
Website :