A new nationwide government campaign called “Access for All” launched in September this year with the aim of promoting England as an “accessible” destination.
This followed Visit England’s successful pilot project in 2013/14 when they worked in conjunction with Visit Bath, goLeicestershire, NewcastleGateshead and VisitBrighton, and has led to them accessing funding from the European Commission to expand their “Access for All” initiative.
Winning a grant of €125,000, they are now partnering with Visit Kent, Marketing Birmingham, Visit Lincoln, Visit Northumberland, Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, Experience Nottinghamshire and VisitBrighton to develop and promote the destinations for visitors with access needs.
Over 50 tourism businesses are being directly supported as part of the project to improve their accessibility. Each business has received:
- A comprehensive accessibility audit
- Personalised feedback on their Access Statement
- Classroom disability awareness training for key employees, provided by Visits Unlimited, The Accessible Training Company and Access Solutions Online disability awareness training for all customer-facing staff, provided by DisabledGo
- Mystery shopping feedback
The second national “Access for All” marketing campaign launched on 14 September 2015 and the marketing will include three full colour mini magazine supplements (Coastal, Countryside and City) that will be published in ‘S Magazine’ along with online and print adverts, competitions and more. The campaign aims to raise awareness of accessible destinations and businesses in England, all aimed at improving perceptions of Accessible England.
So how and why did they get the grant? and is it worth the money?
Apparently so, recent research by Visit England has shown the accessible tourism market to be worth £3Billion to the country’s economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to eye watering £12.4Billion.
Visit England’s James Berresford has been quoted as saying “The accessible tourism market is worth a sizeable £12.4Billion to the English economy and many tourism businesses are realising that catering for disabled customers is not only a necessity but a wise investment that brings a host of business benefits. Many of the changes businesses make may be small, but combined contribute significantly to the visitor experience.
Well, here at Cruisers where we have five accessible vehicles in our fleet, we are convinced that this is a really important campaign that not only encourages businesses to accommodate people with disabilities but also adds real value to the economy.