VisitEngland Launches New Online "Access Statement" Tool for Tourism Businesses
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VisitEngland, the national tourist board of England, has launched a new online tool aimed to help businesses cater better for visitors with access needs. VisitEngland requires any business that is part of the quality assessment schemes for accommodation and attractions to have an Access Statement.
VisitEngland, the national tourist board of England, has launched a new online tool aimed to help businesses cater better for visitors with access needs.
VisitEngland requires any business that is part of the quality assessment schemes for accommodation and attractions to have an Access Statement.
VisitEngland spearheaded the creation of the Access Statement, a description of a venue’s services and facilities to inform people with access needs, some time ago. This new online tool makes it easier for businesses to create an Access Statement.
Access Statements allow for a written, descriptive approach to providing a wide range of information on accessibility. All areas of a business are described from car parking & arrival to toilet.
James Berresford Chief Executive of VisitEngland, describing the new online tool, said:
“People with access needs require specific information about a venue in advance in order to be able to make an informed decision about whether an establishment can cater sufficiently for their needs. This online tool now offers bespoke guidance according to the business type and in doing so provides operators with the information they need in order to create a robust Access Statement.”
Mr Berresford goes onto say:
“We must ensure that our hotels, B&Bs, attractions and eateries consider the need of every visitor. For businesses to improve their accessibility they need to look at the information they include in their marketing materials and websites, as well as their facilities and the customer service and care they offer during the visitor’s stay.”
VisitEngland conducted discussion groups with people with access needs to determine the specific information they require when looking for places to stay or visit. In addition, the tool has undergone usability testing within the industry to ensure businesses find the process more user friendly. Once a business has created their Access Statement they can then make this information readily available to visitors.
VisitEngland is also working with partners like the Premier League, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds and the Keep Britain Tidy Quality Coast Award to provide tailored guidance for the many varied experiences visitors can have when on holiday in England.
Five good reasons to have an Access Statement…
1. Minimum requirement for VisitEngland accommodation and visitor attraction quality scheme members
2. Can help you to meet your obligations under the UK Equality Act 2010
3. Marketing opportunity, informs your visitors about access in one concise document
4. England's population is ageing and almost 1 in 5 people are disabled
5. Figures for 2009 from the UK Tourism Survey show that overnight trips made by people who either have or are accompanied by someone with a health condition or impairment contributed almost £2bn to the English domestic visitor economy in 2009. This highlights the economic importance of this travelling sector to the tourism industry.
The online access statement tool is available free of charge to accommodation and attractions managers or owners.
To help managers create their own statements, "Best Practice" examples of access statements for different types of businesses are also available for downloading, including:
- Small serviced accommodation
- Large serviced accommodation
- Self-catering accommodation properties
- Self-catering accommodation apartments
- Camping and caravan parks
For more information see www.visitengland.com/accessstatements.
VisitEngland is an ENAT Member
- VisitEngland is the strategic leadership body representing the public and private sector stakeholders of English Tourism. It works in partnership creating national tourism strategy, optimising marketing investment, and developing the visitor experience across England
- VisitEngland continues to use its Enjoy England consumer brand in the domestic market and markets England under the VisitEngland brand in international markets
- More information can be found on www.enjoyengland.com and www.visitengland.org