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Visit Scotland | Alba

Making holidays accessible to everyone

Scotland is a naturally welcoming destination – a fact we’re incredibly proud of. Inclusive tourism is a hugely important part of this. We run several programmes that advise and provide support for inclusive practices which benefit the widest range of customers possible, as well as the businesses that cater for them.

Benefits of inclusive tourism

  • Customer satisfaction

    Becoming more inclusive can make life easier for a wide range of customers, including people with hearing loss, mental or visual impairments, wheelchair users, senior travellers and families with young children

  • Increased revenue

    Disabled travellers and senior travellers spend significantly more when they go on holiday than other market groups 

  • Increased loyalty

    Inclusive businesses have higher occupancy rates and a more loyal customer base who is keen to recommend them to their family and friends

  • A growing market

    The market is set to increase as the UK’s population ages and the benefits for businesses and destinations catering for inclusive tourism are growing

Did you know?

54%

of people with access requirements will avoid you if they can't find accessibility info

86%

of seniors make return visits, making them loyal customers

83%

of disabled travellers tell others about their experience

49%

share their experience on social media

Source: Euan's guide Access Survey, GB Tourism Survey, Barclay's Bank report

Four steps to becoming more inclusive

  1. 1

    Create an accessibility guide

    Create an accessibility guide and add the guide link to the homepage of your website. 

    95% of customers with access requirements check for information about your venue online before visiting and this is even more critical now as we live in a world with Coronavirus.

    Information from surveys carried out recently by three charities, Euan’s Guide, Tourism for All and Vocal reveal that one of the top barriers for disabled people and others with specific access needs is the lack of published information on tourism venues current access facilities and hygiene processes and procedures.

    In partnership with VisitEngland, we have developed accessibilityguides.org - a site that allows you to work through a tailored questionnaire, helping you to provide relevant information about the accessibility of your venue or service.

    It’s free, quick and easy to use, and will enable you to provide all the information your customers need to prepare their visit. 

    The new accessibility guide replaces access statements. For more information, read our Access Guide FAQs or download our example accessibility guides.

  2. 2

    Train your staff

    72% of disabled customers are more likely to visit new places if they feel welcomed by staff or venues appears to care about accessibility. 

    Making sure staff and managers in your venue are trained and confident in inclusive tourism will make a huge difference to your customer service. 

    We are currently revising our online training programme and moving it to another website and due to the current situation with Coronavirus, the site will not be relaunched until later in the year.

    In the meantime, we would encourage you to use the customer services e-tutorial resources produced by Purple the organisation behind PurpleTuesday:

    There are seven tutorials, each one last just over 16 minutes in total:

    Part 1 -   A brief introduction and a short quiz
    Part 2 -  Why disability should matter to your business
    Part 3 – Top tips for disabilities language and etiquette
    Part 4 – Top tips for front line staff
    Part 5 – Top tips to support your teams working in office services
    Part 6 – Top tips to make your website more accessible
    Part 7 – Key takeaways

    If you have any questions about our training programme, please email us at inclusivetourism@visitscotland.com.

  3. 3

    Read our good practice guides

    • Easy does it – covers all the basics of accessibility, and is full of simple low cost ideas to make your business more accessible 
    • Accessible events guide – from key considerations, to parking, to communications, this guide will cover everything you need to think of to make your event accessible 
    • Take the lead – covering everything you need to know about assistance dogs and what your legal obligations are..

    You can download our guides (see below) or ask your Quality Tourism Advisor for physical copies. 

  4. 4

    Stay informed

    Our Inclusive Tourism Manager is working hard on producing more tools, factsheets and information about how to make your business inclusive. From quick and easy changes that don’t break the bank, to big infrastructures changes and everything in between, there are so many things you can do to make your venue more welcoming! 

    Talk to your Quality Tourism Advisor and Industry Relations Manager to discuss what options are viable for you, and keep your eyes peeled for updates coming from us! 

    Other useful resources

    Euan’s Guide – information on how to add your venue to the review site and to access a full copy of their Coronavirus Survey Results go to https://www.euansguide.com/venues/

    Purple-business resources including link to a series of seven e-tutorials on customer service as well as a guide on economic and social recovery planning  go to wearepurple.org.uk/business/resources

Download your good practice guides

Dementia-friendly tourism

Published October 2019

A practical guide for businesses to understand and support customers living with dementia.

Easy does it

Published June 2016

Guide packed with simple low-cost ideas that will benefit you and your visitors.

Accessible events guide

Published July 2018

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.

Learn how accessibility guides have benefited these businesses

Other helpful information

What is haemophilia and how can I help?

Published January 2019

Advice and tips for transport providers, hospitality businesses and airport.

Customers with Down’s syndrome

Published January 2019

How can you provide the best customer service to customers with Down’s syndrome?

Motor Neurone Disease (MND): what you need to know

Published January 2019

What is MND and what can you do to make your customers with MND feel welcome?

No Chew Stew recipe book

Published January 2019

Recipes for those who have difficulties chewing, like the elderly or cancer survivors.

Marina DiDuca

Communications Manager - Inclusive Tourism