Business Partnership

We support you with skills training, insight and access to the target market

Market Intelligence and Insight

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.

What is the size and value of the Purple Pound (the spending power of disabled people)?

The ONS Family Resources Survey provides data on disability in the UK.

This useful publication from the Papworth Trust Disability in the United Kingdom, Facts and Figures 2018, brings together a huge range of (referenced) material.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland conduct regular surveys to ascertain the Value of the Purple Pound in England as well as the value of the inbound market, from overseas.

Is it worth me understanding this market? Isn't it expensive to become accessible?

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 – 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 – 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.

A good statistic to remember is that 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from UK businesses because of poor service. So while it is important to understand what the law requires from you when serving disabled customers, its much more important to get the customer service and welcome right.

Tourism for All can help you with this - we provide low cost online training targetted at tourism and hospitality businesses.

How can I make my business more accessible?

VisitEngland/VisitBritain provide lots of good tips on assessing your business and looking at simple and cost effective ways to make it more accessible.


VisitEngland Purple Pound data March 2020 shows a market spend in England of £15.2 billion.

This is the total expenditure generated by those with an impairment or those travelling within a group where a member had an impairment. They tend to stay longer and spend more than those which do not.

  • Inbound visitor spending by this group was £0.4 billion in 2018
  • Domestic overnight visitor spending by this group was £3.2 billion in 2015
  • Day visitor spending by this group was £11.6 billion in 2018.

Market volume:

Trips taken by those with an impairment and their travelling companions made up:

  • 1.9% of all inbound trips in 2018
  • 15% of domestic overnight trips in 2015
  • 20% of day visits in 2018.

The inbound market is also growing quickly

Research from VisitBritain (conducted October 2019), Inbound visitors to the UK with a health condition or impairment, looks at the accessible needs and experiences of inbound visitors and travelling groups to Britain with a health condition or impairment, and their travel behaviour and visitor numbers in 2018 compared with those from 2010. Highlight findings are:

  • Inbound visits from those with a health condition or impairment have grown by +7% in volume and +25% in value over the last 8 years. Visitors with mobility impairments that require a wheelchair have seen the most significant growth across this time, up +123% since 2010.
  • Top source markets: USA is the biggest source market for this group of travellers; long haul markets Australia and Canada also feature highly. Spain is the top market for Europe.
  • Visits: 711,000 trips or 1.9% of the total inbound overnight visits to the UK in 2018 were taken by those with an impairment or those travelling within a group where a member had an impairment.
  • Spend: The total expenditure generated by those visits is estimated to be £483 million, or 2.1% of all inbound visitor spending in 2018
  • Individual impairments: health conditions or impairments most likely to be mentioned were those relating to mobility (but not requiring wheelchair use), mentioned by 29% of all visitors with an impairment. Deafness/partial hearing loss and having a long term illness were also prevalent impairments.
  • Age: There is a clear relationship between the age of a visitor to the UK and the likelihood of them reporting a health condition or impairment. 65% of those visiting with an impairment were over 55 in age compared to 21% of all inbound visitors to the UK.
  • Average spend and trip length: Those with a health condition and their travelling group are more likely to stay for longer and spend more than the UK inbound average (although spend per night is lower).


TFA conducts regular surveys within our community of disabled tourists and travellers, into different aspects of accessibility. These help us to provide our Partner businesses with genuinely informative insights into what disabled tourists and travellers need and want.

These surveys can be adapted or made bespoke for our partners at cost.

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Our partners who help to make it all possible

New Premier Inn
Visit England Logo Copy
Visit Scotland Logo
Visit Wales Logo
Omniserv Logo Glow Copy
Caravan And Motorhome Club Logo
Closomat Logo 2017
Skybreak Your Service Centre Logo 2017 171123 130225
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Logo
Dorsett Shepherds Bush Logo