Accessible Tourism


Accessible Tourism or Inclusive Tourism, as it's also known as, is the term used to describe tourism that serves the needs of a full range of consumers. The Inclusive Tourism market includes anyone who has a specific access requirement such as  people with hearing loss, visual or mental impairment, wheelchair users, older people and families with young children and low-income families who cannot afford to go on holiday without support. 


VisitScotland has a role in ensuring Scotland is an inclusive, welcoming destination. We assist in the delivery of a number of inclusive tourism projects and assist tourism businesses to promote and provide both quality customer service and access for the inclusive tourism market. We also currently working with industry and the Family Holiday Association to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged families in Scotland a short break or day out - find out more about the project here.


Four good business reasons to ensure you cater for the accessible tourism market:

  1. At least 54% of people with access requirements avoid going to new places if they cannot find information about their accessibility (source Euan's Guide - the disabled access review site).
  2. We have an ageing population those accessibility requirements are likely to represent an even larger section of your customer base e.g. between 2006 and 2015 there was a massive 31% increase in the number of domestic trips taken by people over of the age of 55 and this trend is set to continue.
  3. Businesses who already cater for this market are experiencing higher occupancy rates and benefit from a loyal customer base who keep returning and recommending them to friends and family.
  4. As a service provider you have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to ensure your business or service is as accessible as it can be. For detailed information on the Act go to


Practical tools to help you provide an inclusive tourism experience:


Understanding the market

Easy does it booklet

Easy does it guide front cover

Our AdviceLink guide is packed with simple low-cost ideas that will benefit you and your visitors:


  • Attracting visitors - what to consider
  • Making the booking process easier
  • Taking the stress out of travel
  • Making access easy
  • Using feedback to learn

PDF document  Easy does it - 109mb  (updated June 2016)


Improving your customer service:

Accessible Tourism Training Programme

A free online Accessible Tourism training course designed for managers and frontline staff of tourist accommodation, attractions, eating and drinking establishments.


Don't delay start your training today:


Accessible Tourism training site homepage

The training programme features:

  1. Five modules, covering all aspects of Accessible Tourism
  2. A series of short videos and podcasts to help illustrate learning points
  3. The training takes up to a maximum of one hour to complete and can be done at your own pace, over several days or weeks

Once you complete the course successfully you will be awarded an Accessible Tourism Training Certificate, which you can print out and keep. 


Welcoming customers with assistance dogs

Take the lead booklet

Take the lead guide front cover  

Published in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and VisitEngland, our Take the lead booklet explains what your legal duties are to assistance dog owners under the Equality Act 2010.


There are around 7,000 assistance dog users in the UK, supporting people with visual impairments, people with physical disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing people and people with hidden disabilities.


Assistance dogs are not pets but highly trained animals that act as aids to disabled people, enabling them to function independently.


Welcoming an assistance dog onto your premises does not only make good business sense it is in line with your legal obligations.


The booklet provides you with answers to specific questions from allowing assistance dogs into food preparation areas to charging extra to cover additional cleaning costs.




PDF document Take the lead - 440 kb


Providing information about the accessibility of your venue or service:

Accessibility Guide tool - 'New for 2017'

An accessibility guide is produced by tourism operators to provide potential visitors with accurate and relevant accessibility information about their venue or service.


Don't delay start creating your guide today.


Accessibility Guide site homepage


VisitScotland, in partnership with VisitEngland have developed a new, easy to use site, which allows businesses to work through a tailored questionnaire, which prompts the business to provide relevant information about the accessibility of their venue or service.


This information is vital for visitors who have specific accessibility requirements, such as people with hearing loss, visual or mental impairment, older people, families with young children as well as wheelchair users.


The new accessibility guide replaces the previously referenced access statement, for more information on this new facility and the reasons behind the change view and download our FAQ document. You can also view some example guides.


Creating Inclusive Events

Inclusive and Accessible Events - A guide for event organisers

Accessible events - a guide for event organisers frontcover

Our Inclusive and Accessible Events Guide can help anyone involved in organising events, regardless of the size, nature or location to create a fully accessible event.


The guide offers event organisers practical advice, hints and tips on:


  • Key things to consider when planning your event
  • Providing advice on getting to the venue
  • Parking provision
  • Accessibility of the event venue and what things to consider
  • How to make sure the event programme is accessible
  • Communications - making your marketing and information provision as accessible as possible


PDF document Inclusive and Accessible Events Guide - 16.8 mb


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