Huge Market for Accessible Travel

19 November 2009

Press Release from VisitEngland

NEW RESEARCH REVEALS HUGE MARKET FOR ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL

Thursday 19th November 2009 – New figures released today by VisitEngland from the UK Tourism Survey show that overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health condition or impairment contributed almost £1bn to the English domestic visitor economy in the first 6 months of the year, accounting for 5.7 million trips in total.

These latest figures highlight the importance of considering people with access needs, who in the year to June 2009 have accounted for 12% of all overnight domestic trips.

Ross Calladine, Accessibility Project Manager for VisitEngland, says ‘These figures are hugely significant, however, over a quarter of Britons have a long-standing health problem or disability so a huge opportunity still exists to cater for their needs – it doesn’t only make sense morally but economically too. Easily accessible facilities and services benefit not only those with a health condition or impairment, but older visitors, mothers with pushchairs and visitors with broken limbs, amongst many other groups of people,’ says Ross.

‘Tourism businesses should view accessibility in its broadest sense, as fundamentally it is about understanding and catering for the individual needs of all visitors. Many improvements are free or cost very little; for instance, can insulin be refrigerated for diabetics or non-feather bedding made available for asthmatics? These examples show that, it isn’t just about physical accessibility for wheelchair users; every business can do something to broaden their appeal,’ says Ross. ‘VisitEngland provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs including a free booklet entitled ‘Easy does it’, available to download at www.visitengland.com/access.’

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, is positive about the impact these figures will have on the wider tourism industry. ‘Many tourism businesses have made great strides in improving the accessibility of their facilities and services but further effort is now required to entice those people with access needs who are not currently enjoying England.’

– ENDS –

For media enquiries please contact Meera Shah on 020 7578 1452

For more information on VisitEngland’s Accessibility Agenda please contact Ross Calladine on 020 7578 1427 

About VisitEngland Accessibility Scheme

�� VisitEngland coordinated the inclusion of a question concerning health conditions and impairments into the 2009 United Kingdom Tourism Survey (UKTS). VisitEngland was the key sponsor with support from Visit Wales, South West Regional Development Agency, North West Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands and London Development Agency.

�� VisitEngland provides tourism information for people with physical and sensory needs at www.enjoyengland.com/access

�� VisitEngland provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs at www.visitengland.com/access.

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