Accessibility as part of the equality agenda
Developing accessibility policy
Accessibility is a crucial part of the equality agenda
We can advise you and your organisation in developing accessibility policies and plans based around or incorporating your business strategy, staff development and training, facilities auditing, marketing and promotion, information services and more.
The charity can provide initial advice and sources of information to get you started and then can point you in the direction for next steps. Also, we work with a range of consultants who may be appropriate for your needs.
Our role as a key source of policy advice in the sector is recognised by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and VisitWales who are partners of Tourism for All.
Our history of policy development
Tourism for All has a long and successful history of supporting public policy development and delivery.
- We were closely involved in the creation of the National Accessible Scheme, the first fully comprehensive assessment and accreditation scheme for the accessibility of tourism businesses.
- In the run up to the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, we chaired the Accessible Tourism Stakeholders’ Forum, the body set up by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to ensure that the accessibility of the infrastructure and services supporting these Games was adequate.
- We are a founding member of England's Inclusive Tourism Action Group (EITAG), set by VisitEngland following its Unlocking the Purple Pound conference and Think Tank event in 2015 and comprising 17 leading accessible tourism stakeholders. In this role we helped to develop new policy guidelines for businesses on welcoming visitors with dementia and autism. We are also advising businesses on the accessibility ramifications and opportunities from the recent government Tourism Sector Deal.
Our Trustees have extensive expertise in the area of accessibility. Many hold or have held senior positions in both the private and public sectors, including in the hospitality industry, recruitment, healthcare, national tourist boards and politics. A number of us have a disability or long-term condition.
A number of us work as consultants providing advice to government, tourist boards and businesses in the development of their accessibility policies. For example we are currently working with VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DEVELOP AN ACCESS POLICY?
An integrated accessibility policy works to your advantage across many fronts:
Being a successful business. Successful businesses recognise that meeting the needs of a increasingly diverse and ever-connected population is crucial to their business models. They also know that providing good, inclusive service for all provides, de facto, accessibility for everyone. And that turns into reputation and profit.
Being a good employer. Research shows that companies with strong principles in sustainability and accessibility inspire and motivate staff, helping retention and driving high customer service standards.
And, of course, the legal argument. You are required as a business to make reasonable adjustments in order to welcome disabled people. A simple access policy will provide the template for you to begin to do that.
THE MARKET OPPORTUNITY
- There are 11.9 million disabled people in the UK. That’s 19% of the population – which means that 1 in 5 of your customers is likely to be disabled.
- The population is ageing – 5 million of the disabled people in the UK are over State Pension age and that number is going to almost double by 2030. At some time in our lives we ALL have accessibility issues.
- Parties which include a disabled person spend over £14 billion per year on tourism and travel in the UK – and they tend to stay longer and spend more than those which do not.
MANY BUSINESSES ARE MISSING OUT ON THE OPPORTUNITY
- 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from UK businesses because of poor service.
- Many businesses – particularly larger ones – think that accessibility means legal “box-ticking” or “points scoring”. They don’t see it as being about welcoming and serving the needs of a valuable market sector.
- Many businesses – particularly smaller ones – think that accessibility means expensive (and sometimes unaffordable) modifications and formal inspections. They don’t realise that a warm welcome and a positive attitude to helping overcome issues can be just as important.
- Many businesses – of all sizes – are simply unaware of the value of the accessible tourism and travel market. They don’t realise the impact addressing the needs of this sector could have on their business – or how easy it could be.