(Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory. Source: TravAbility)
Accessible tourism is the ongoing endeavour to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. It encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations.
People with access requirements include:
- those with young children in prams
- seniors with mobility requirements
- people with permanent or temporary disabilities.
Their access requirements may include:
Why is it important for your tourism business?
Accessible tourism benefits everyone. More people enjoy the opportunity to travel and the Australian tourism industry gets more visitors, longer seasons and new incomes.
Worldwide there are over one billion people with a disability including over 11 million people with a disability in the United Kingdom and 54 million people with a disability in the USA.
Tourism Tasmania provides a comprehensive accessibility toolkit (a product of the Alpine Accessible Tourism Project) with factsheets, tips, tools, techniques and reference websites designed to help you assess, develop and market your products and services more effectively.
Visit Victoria, with the support of the Office for Disability, Department of Human Services, developed the ‘Accessible tourism: it's your business’ resource kit to raise awareness and support the Victorian tourism industry to become more accessible and inclusive. The kit incorporates best practices drawn from similar resources internationally.
Meeting legal requirements – policies and legislation
A number of policies and legislation encourage or make it a legal requirement for services and buildings to be accessible. These are outlined below.
National Disability Strategy
The focus of the National Disability Strategy is improving access to mainstream services. A range of actions within the Strategy will help ensure more people with disability can enjoy holiday travel.
Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992
The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 protects people with a disability from discrimination and legislates that reasonable adjustments are made to reduce barriers for people with a disability.
Visit Victoria’s Accessible Tourism Plan 2010-2013
Visit Victoria’s Accessible Tourism Plan aims to encourage the Victorian tourism industry to see the social and economic benefits of offering tourism products and services for people with access requirements. The Plan outlines strategies and actions to help industry meet these obligations.
Research and resources
The following lists provide research and resources related to accessible tourism, as well as some general resources about disability access and inclusion.
Accessible tourism research reports and outcomes
- Accessible Tourism Research – A blog site which presents and reviews key accessible tourism key documents and new research as it is published.
- PhotoAbility – Inclusive stock imagery services and gallery.
- Sydney for All – A Web portal of accessible destination experiences.
- TravAbility – Website dedicated to providing accessibility information for the world's best travel destinations.
- Travellers Aid Australia – An organisation that provides simple, practical travel-related support and aid to help visitors of all backgrounds travel independently and confidently.
- Vision Australia – Vision Australia (an organisation which assists those with vision impairment) has a large range of fact sheets on issues relating to people who are blind and vision impaired. The fact sheets range from accessible design for homes to customer service tips.
- Visit Victoria, Accessible Victoria – The official tourist site for Melbourne and Victoria including information on accessible accommodation, activities and attractions and the best ways to get around in Melbourne and Victoria.