Unique Partnership Sees Scotland Lead the Way in Accessible Tourism
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In a unique partnership – the first of its kind anywhere in the UK – Capability Scotland and VisitScotland have teamed up this summer to explore disabled people’s experiences of being a tourist in Scotland.
70% of disabled people are able to travel but, because of a lack of accessible tourism, accommodation and basic facilities, they do not. In the US alone there are more than 18 million disabled people who are likely to travel to the UK. The estimated purchasing power of disabled people in the UK is £80 billion a year.
Scotland has some of the most spectacular scenery, best natural produce and exciting events and attractions in the world. Millions of tourists flock here every year, yet disabled people at home and abroad could be missing out because the industry as a whole doesn’t fully understand their requirements.
As part of the first partnership of its kind within the tourism industry, Capability will be running six events over the summer to engage with disabled people and find out what needs to be enhanced or changed to make Scottish tourism more accessible. Recommendations will then be made to VisitScotland and the Scottish tourism industry.
Today sees the launch event at Crieff Hydro. Sixteen disabled people with a range of impairments and conditions will meet with representatives from Capability and VisitScotland to talk about their experiences as a tourist in Scotland and the barriers that they face.
The event will be opened by Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland. Commenting on the partnership Mr Roughead said:
“VisitScotland wants to find out what the industry needs to do to become more accessible and attractive to disabled visitors. In many respects it is an untapped market and is particularly important in the current economic climate, when more and more people are enjoying staycations in Scotland.
VisitScotland plans to work with the industry to help ensure that, in challenging economic conditions, the Scottish tourism industry becomes a leader in this emerging and increasingly competitive area of the market. We can do this by meeting and exceeding the accessibility needs of disabled, older and other customers with accessibility issues, providing them with a truly five-star visitor experience.”
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is already known across the world for the warm welcome which we extend to all our visitors. The accessible tourism initiative is yet another example of the strong partnerships which we are developing as part of a joint drive to build on our excellent reputation and to help ensure that all our visitors, including disabled and older people, are provided with a truly first-class visitor experience.“
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