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Scotland is a naturally welcoming destination – a fact we’re incredibly proud of. Inclusive tourism ensures that all visitors can have a great experience without barriers.
This page has some top tips and tools to help improve your customer service, information provision and connect with new customers.
In this section
1. Benefits of inclusive tourism
Disabled and senior travellers spend significantly more when they go on holiday than other market groups.
Inclusive businesses have higher occupancy rates. They also have a more loyal customer base who is keen to recommend them to their family and friends.
The market is set to increase as the UK’s population ages. The benefits for businesses and destinations catering for inclusive tourism are also growing.
Becoming more inclusive can make life easier for a wide range of customers. Think of:
- People with hearing loss, mental or visual impairments
- Wheelchair users
- Senior travellers
- Families with young children
Did you know?
Nearly one in five
People in the UK have a disability or an impairment
The spending power of disabled people to the UK economy.
Senior travellers who make a return visit if their needs are met
Sources: Purple and VisitScotland
2. Improving your customer service
Good customer service is important for all customers. But it is particularly important for disabled customers and other individuals who have specific needs.
72% of disabled customers are more likely to visit new places if they feel welcomed by staff.
Do you want to provide an inclusive customer experience and attract new customers? Train your staff and make sure they are confident in inclusive tourism. It will make a huge difference to your customer service.
New for 2023, a one-day customer service course to help businesses improve their customer service for disabled customers.
Learn how small changes and a positive attitude can make all the difference. Participants will learn about:
- Adopting a positive attitude to all customers and anticipating accessibility requirements
- Successful communication styles to identify customer needs
- The business benefits of accessibility and inclusivity
- Legal obligations and types of discrimination
Experienced trainers deliver this session in an interactive way throughout. It will include activities, exercises, and discussions. The participant’s guide contains practical tips and reminders. It'll show you how to make facilities and services accessible and inclusive. Participants also receive a jointly branded VisitScotland / Welcome to Excellence attendance certificate.
Flexible course options:
Available with an introductory price of £900, maximum 16 people. The price includes:
- The trainer coming to you
- Course materials and training certification for each participant
Trainer travel and accommodation (if required) are additional to the course fee and are charged at cost.
These are planned for spring 2023, with dates and costs being published in the new year. Are you interested in being notified as soon as dates become available? Please email the Welcome to Excellence team.
Purple Tuesday 365 is a learning and development programme, created in response to Purple Tuesday. It helps organisations:
- Support their staff
- Address disability issues
- Broaden accessibility to improve the disabled customer experience
Purple Tuesday 365 holds disability and accessibility awareness webinars each month. It also produces bespoke handy hints guides and resources.
With the 50% discount for members of our Quality Assurance scheme, your annual subscription is £182.50 +VAT. To redeem your discount, quote Promo Code: Visit05 on the Purple Tuesday 265 registration form.
In 2021 and 2022, we, along with VisitEngland, were the official tourism sector partners for Purple Tuesday. We support Purple to raise awareness of the disabled customer experience. Furthermore, we encourage organisations to develop knowledge, understanding and approaches to improve accessibility.
Since it began in 2018, all sector organisations have shown their support for disabled people and this lucrative market.
The Purple Tuesday movement is highlighted each year by a celebratory day on the first Tuesday of November (7 November 2023).
In 2021 the celebratory day:
- Reached over 19 million people
- Involved over 7,000 social media conversations
- Received over 270 pieces of broadcast and print media
Join over 2,000 other businesses in committing to improve your customer experience for disabled people.
Registration is free and you only need to make a minimum of one commitment to improve the accessibility of your business. This could include:
- Creating an accessibility guide
- Committing to improve your welcome for disabled people by offering specific training for front of house staff.
You will get free guidance, tips, and training resources to help you become more inclusive through simple, low or no cost changes.
Purple Disability and Customer Service e-tutorials
Check out Purple's seven disability and customer service e-tutorials. Each one lasts just over 16 minutes. They cover a range of topics including:
- Tips for serving disabled customers
- Disability language and etiquette
- How to make your website more accessible
3. Enhancing your information provision
Access surveys consistently show that a lack of published accessibility information is one of the top barriers. This is true for both disabled people and others with specific access needs.
When planning a trip, 81% of disabled people will check a business’ website before visiting. But 73% have found information on a venue’s website to be misleading, confusing, or inaccurate.
In partnership with VisitEngland, we have developed accessibilityguides.org. This website allows you to work through a tailored questionnaire. This way, it helps you 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.
- Check out accessibilityguides.org
- Read our Access Guide FAQs
- Download our example accessibility guides
- Watch our video on how accessiblity guides have benefited real businesses
56% of visitors think that if a venue doesn’t advertise their accessible facilities, it’s because they don’t have any.
Would you like to promote your accessibility to potential customers? Create an accessibility guide and add the link to the homepage of your website.
Learn how accessibility guides have benefited these businesses
4. Stay informed
Our Inclusive Tourism Manager is working hard on content to make your business inclusive. Think of 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.
5. Good practice guides and advice sheets
Easy does it
This covers all the basics of accessibility, and is full of simple low cost ideas to make your business more accessible.
Accessible events guide
This guide will cover everything you need to think of to make your event accessible.
Take the lead
The Equality and Human Rights Commission guide to assistance dogs for tourism businesses. This covering your legal obligations and everything you need to know about assistance dogs.
You can download our own guides on this page or ask your Quality Tourism Advisor for physical copies.
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.
6. Further advice and support
Attitude is Everything
Aims to improve access to music performances for disabled customers. They do so by supporting live venues, events businesses, and music industry organisations.