Accessible Tourism, what's it all about?

2016, useful articles, BSL, audio description, relaxed performance, Euan's Guide, events, wheelchair users, visitor attractions, museums & galleries

Accessible Tourism, what's it all about?

September 27th marks World Tourism Day, and this year the theme is all about accessible tourism! With around 12 million disabled people in the UK, it’s important for all kinds of venues and businesses to be aware and involved in promoting ‘Tourism for All’. But what is accessible tourism? Here are some of our top tips to give you a bit of inspiration this World Tourism Day!

Access Tips

  • Check how easy it is for people to enter and exit your venue. It’s a great idea to invest in a portable ramp if you only have stepped access to your building – you’ll be surprised at how many more people will visit you! More ideas >>
  • Avoid using your accessible loo as a storage cupboard – this can prevent disabled people from using your facilities! Check out these top tips for making small adjustments to your accessible toilet.
  • The more space people have to move around, the better. Try to arrange furniture so that there is plenty of room between tables or display units. Lots of people will feel the benefit from this, including wheelchair users, parents with buggies, and visually impaired people.
  • Well-lit venues are much easier to get around! For many visually impaired people, it’s important to have illuminated signs and clear distinctions between walls, floors and doors.

Event Tips

  • Have you ever tried using sensory props? They can add lots of interaction to events, and are great fun to use! Use them when telling a story; holding a science demonstration or handling museum objects.
  • British Sign Language Tours make learning more accessible and inclusive for all visitors. Not to mention the number of new visitors you will attract as well!
  • If you have video or film on display, can you caption this or offer audio description? That way even more people will be able to enjoy what you have to show.
  • Why not have relaxed performances or earlier opening times at quiet times so that visitors who prefer calm environments can fully experience your venue or event?  
Find out more about Early Bird Openings here! 

Sharing Access Info Tips

  • Double check your access statements or information online is up to date. Your website is often the first place people will go to check if they will be able to access your venue.
  • Use your venue listing and update it regularly on Euan’s Guide to advertise how accessible you are and to respond to reviews. How to write a good listing >>
  • Consider making alternative formats of menus, leaflets and brochures. Large print and easy-read versions of texts are a great way to include more people! Find out how >>

Staff Tips

  • Make sure everyone is familiar with how to use equipment such as portable ramps or hearing loops. This will help things to run smoothly and will give guests confidence in your venue.
  • Have a go at learning a few phrases in BSL! It’s good fun and an interesting skill to learn, not to mention a great experience for BSL users who visit your venue.

Our friends at Euan’s Guide have even more top tips to give you ideas and inspiration for your venue! You can read them all here. 

Take Part in Disabled Access Day!

Getting involved in Disabled Access Day is a great way to put new ideas to the test and to hear from disabled visitors how you can take your accessibility to the next level. Lots of venues have shared their stories from taking part, and some events were so successful that they have now become regular features!

  • Borough Market London took part in 2015 and 2016’s Disabled Access Day with their BSL interpreted cookery demonstration and tasting session. It was so popular that they now run the demonstration every second Friday of the month!
  • Seven Stories Early Bird Opening was such a success that the storytelling centre have now made it a regular feature! Their sensory story activities and props were a huge hit with the younger visitors, and made it easy to enjoy some fantastic jungle journey tales.  
  • Visit Flanders in Belgium had an exciting fun-packed day of activities with everything from dance mobs to audio described tours to increase awareness of accessible tourism in thearea. Now they have a ‘plan your trip’ tool to make it easier for tourists to prepare for their holiday and explore Flanders.
Disabled Access Day 2017 is set to be even bigger and better! Make sure you sign up to get involved next year. Find out more >>