Access topping tourism agenda

Organisations gather to improve accessibility across industry

Accessible tourism took centre stage in Edinburgh 20th September when representatives of more than 20 tourism organisations from across Europe gathered in the capital for the ‘Aiming for Inclusive Growth’ forum.

• An accessibility tourism website is currently under development.
• An accessibility tourism website is currently under development.

Items on the agenda at the two-day conference included discussion of an overall strategy for accessible tourism development and engagement with the industry and customers.
The event opened with an address from cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs Fiona Hyslop, who said the latest figures “confirm the economic importance of the accessible tourism market to Scotland, with an estimated £1.3 billion spent on trips”.
The accessibility forum coincides with an ongoing project between VisitScotland and VisitEngland to develop a new website which will help businesses create their own ‘Accessibility Guide’ as well as allow visitors to search for suitable venues using accessibility criteria.
VisitScotland equality and diversity manager Chris McCoy said the organisation aims to “harness the growing, high-value accessible tourism market” and see Scotland “become internationally recognised as a leading destination for people with access needs”.
“The  Scottish tourism industry has made great progress in terms of accessibility over the past few years, but we know there is still much work to be done,” said McCoy.
“We are delighted to be able to showcase exactly what this country has to offer but we are also keen to learn from experts from the likes of France, Denmark and Sweden.”