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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 on inclusive tourism practices and provide support for that’ll help 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

    95% of customers with access requirements check for information about your venue online before visiting.

    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. Once complete, you can earn an Accessible Tourism Training Certificate.
    Sign up for Accessible Tourism Training

  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 team 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! 

Download your good practice guides

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.

Take the lead

Published: March 2017

Find out about your legal duties to assistance dog owners under the Equality Act 2010.

Learn how accessibility guides have benefited these businesses

Moira Henderson (Owner of The Rings, self-catering business):

We decided through family experience that going on holiday with somebody with a disability was quite an onerous task, if not impossible.

And so we set about that we really wanted to make that easier for people. Accessibility guides are so important because they are informing your customers what you have.

Any business would naturally want to tell the customer what they can offer and so an accessibility guide is just an extension of that information. But it is critical for people with disabilities because they can then look at what you can offer and they can then know if it is going to meet their needs.

John Child (Managing Director, Sandcastle Water Park, Visitor Attraction):

What you are looking at is everything about your attraction, so you are looking at what people can expect from the attraction, when they get here, how can they arrive at your attraction or hotel. And then giving them some information on what attractions you have got, whether there are actually one or two barriers that they may encounter and how you have actually overcome those barriers. 

Moira Henderson (Owner of The Rings, self-catering business):

To create an accessibility guide is not that difficult. It is a case of going round with a clipboard and a tape measure. Do it when you are a wee bit quieter and you have got the time to spend on it.

So basically, you go round, you measure the heights from the floor to underneath your tables so that people know if they can get their legs in if theyare sitting in a wheelchair, simple things. 

There are templates, so you just need to take the information from your business and fill it in, set it up and it goes online, and that is such a valuable tool for your potential customers.

Jamie Shail (Owner of Rothay Manor, hotel):

There are always questions from those with very specific needs but in general,  accessible users and staff alike, it’s useful for them to see what we offer. 

Often things that we provide are things that we would normally take for granted and it is very important for accessible users to see.

Francis McKee (Director, Centre for Contemporary Arts, attraction):

It’s not enough for us to say its accessible, people will have very specific issues  and they need to know; will there be a wheelchair ramp?

What size will the text be? If I come and I have hearing problems will I be OK here?

Can I access those things? Have you thought about those things? What the guide can do is summarise that and make it comprehensible, coherent and simple.

So it is good to tell people as much as you can before they actually decide to make the visit.

John Child (Managing Director, Sandcastle Water Park, Visitor Attraction):

Everybody needs to get behind writing their accessibility guide.

The greatest dividend it is going to pay is seeing all your guests, your customers coming through your doors with big smiles on their faces, and when they are leaving even bigger smiles on their faces

Marina DiDuca

Communications Manager - Inclusive Tourism