VisitScotland has announced details of a £45,000 online Accessible Tourism programme aiming to ensure the industry is ready to take advantage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the opportunities it will bring for Scottish tourism.
Launched this morning by tourism minister Fergus Ewing, the initiative will help VisitScotland and its partners, Glasgow Service with Style, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, unlock the potential economic benefits of the Accessible Tourism market, which is worth an estimated £325m to the Scottish economy.
Ewing commented: “This initiative will provide guidance to tourism businesses on how they help tourists with accessibility issues such as physical disabilities, parents with small children or senior travelers…Improving accessibility has real potential to help achieve tourism industry growth ambitions and boost the wider economy as well as enhancing social equalities. There’s never been a better time to promote accessible tourism as we progress towards 2014.”
A series of online training modules promoting good practice, as well as insights, will be available to those in the industry later in the year. VisitScotland is also encouraging businesses to sign up to an ‘Access Statement’ – giving potential visitors a clear description of what to expect from each establishment, and what features and facilities are available to those with access requirements during their stay.
Chris McCoy, accessible tourism project manager at VisitScotland, added: “As we prepare to welcome the world in 2014, it’s even more vital that we ensure that the industry is ready for all accessible needs and today’s event and new online training scheme will help us do just that.”
Glasgow has already begun work on the Accessible Glasgow Tourism Project, with the aim of making the city accessible for all visitors for the Games.
Of the importance of this market ahead of the Commonwealth Games, David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 chief executive, said: “We welcome the fact that everyone can have the chance to enjoy the Games experience. It is right that accessibility within tourism and the hospitality industry, as well as at our events and venues, is being placed at the heart of Scotland’s preparations to welcome the world in 2014.”