Access Solutions For Every Client's Needs
Our services support Organisations to improve Accessibility and inclusion
Accessible tourism is used to refer to the physical or built environment. Inclusive tourism covers accessible tourism, but extends further to welcoming people with a wide range of needs, no matter age, physical or cognitive abilities. The aim is to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable travel experience on an equal basis with others.
Many people hear the term Accessible Tourism and immediately conjure up images of people in wheelchairs. Of course that’s part of it, but it’s actually only a fairly small part – around 8%.
For example, do you consider baby boomers or seniors to be part of your target market? If the answer is yes, then you really need to be considering how your business can become part of the Accessible Tourism market. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, more than 50% of people over the age of 55 will have some sort of disability – whether they identify with it or not.
Accessible tourism is about making sure your business is accessible to everyone. Seniors, people with disabilities, people with illness or temporary injuries, even families travelling with small children – they are all part of the Accessible Tourism market.
Inclusive Tourism can show you how you can take your existing assets, make them more accessible and reach out to the rapidly growing market that is Accessible Tourism.
Consulting & Mentoring
As the demand for accessibility grows, so too do the opportunities for destinations and businesses to increase their sustainability and competitiveness.
We work with Councils to develop and incorporate accessible tourism into their Economic and Business Development Strategies, supporting them to look at building stronger more inclusive communities.
We work with Destination Management Organisations to educate tourism stakeholders about the accessible tourism sector, supporting them to improve service standards and product delivery.
We work with businesses across many areas, including accommodation, events, attractions, experiences, conferences, transport providers and retail outlets. We help them to understand what they’re doing well and identify any barriers to access. We’ll suggest cost effective changes to lift accessibility, enabling them to meet the needs of this growing market whilst increasing their bottom line.
Training & Workshops
We deliver capacity building workshops on accessible tourism, diversity and inclusion and disability awareness. We educate business owners on the inclusive tourism market and how to meet the needs of potential visitors. You will understand your responsibilities under the law and identify ways to reduce the risk to your business and brand reputation. We train customer service staff to become more comfortable and confident in supporting people with disabilities. We can tailor content to suit the needs of the client.
Melissa presents with a high level of professionalism, confidence and has the ability to engage with her audience, leaving them with a deep understanding of the material delivered.
Marketing & Communications
For people travelling with a disability the provision of accurate and detailed information is crucial to making wise choices. Most will begin their research online, so the information you provide on your website is essential for attracting new business. Often people will need to reach out to ask for more specific information, so ensuring the staff who answer queries are also aware of your offering is also key.
We can assist you to ensure that you market your destination or property in the most user friendly way. The first step is to create an Access Statement based on an audit of your property or attraction. This can then be developed into a guide that will highlight your accessible offering and become a valuable marketing tool to broaden the appeal of your destination or business. See the case study on Gold Coast City Council’s Accessible Experience Guides.
The access audit is a fundamental first step in exploring what you’re doing well, what can be improved now and what can be planned for and achieved in the future. This may be through regular maintenance work, refurbishment or investment in renovations.
As qualified disability access consultants, our audits are underpinned by Australian Standards. We also apply our expertise in universal design to ensure your property is accessible to as many people as possible. We look at how your property can cater to those with mobility, vision or hearing impairments, as well as cognitive or intellectual issues and dementia. Our audits can also extend beyond the physical environment, to make an assessment of staff capability in dealing with customers with a disability.
See case study for Riverside Resort on the NSW North Coast.
We can undertake assessments of your destination and look at what works now and what needs to be improved. We look at barriers that prevent inclusion and can develop strategic plans to enable Council’s make decisions about priorities that will make the most difference.
Regardless of starting point or priority, there are some essential elements that support inclusion. These are accessible amenities, parking, pathways, places to eat and shop, places to stay and transport. They are all necessary for marketing a location as accessible and inclusive.
When a community is accessible and inclusive more people enjoy the opportunity to travel and the tourism industry gets more visitors, longer seasons and new incomes. Society as a whole benefits from new job opportunities, more revenue and an accessible environment for local communities and visitors.
Advocacy and Education
Melissa James is the CEO and Founder of Inclusive Tourism Pty Ltd. She has a passion to advocate for a more inclusive tourism industry, where people with disabilities enjoy the same experiences as any other traveller.
Since founding Inclusive Tourism in 2013, Melissa has delivered educational programs, keynote addresses and capability workshops to many audiences. In 2018 she was invited to speak at the World Summit on Accessible Tourism held in Brussels.
Melissa was also a contributor to the 2017 Accessible Tourism in Victoria and Queensland study conducted by Tourism Research Australia. More recently, Melissa has contributed to the Austrade Reimagining the Visitor Economy consultations and contributed to round table discussions on the development of an Accessible Tourism Framework.