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Accessible Tourism and Events (Part 1)

In my next couple of blogs, I’m going to tackle the concept of Accessible Tourism & Events – what it is, and why it makes economical sense to encourage its growth. For those who know me it will come as no surprise; I’ve long been an advocate for implementing inclusive environments. I’m particularly passionate about ensuring ‘fun’ things, like events or going out for a meal, is an enjoyable experience no matter your ability. So what is Accessible Tourism & Events? Well, essentially it’s an event, service or experience that is accessible to those with mobility, cognitive and intellectual impairments. Those three groups have the highest frequency of ‘missing out’ because of the additional needs they require, and it happens far too often in my opinion. Studies show that about 7% of the Australian population require accessible services and events. Therefore it’s ‘easy’ for businesses to assume that they are a minority group and so don’t have to worry about catering specifically for them. However, while small in “numbers”, they are a very influential and decisive minority. That’s because for every one person who has a mobility, cognitive and intellectual impairment (or a combination of all three), they have 2.4 and 2.6 family, friends and carers who accompany them to activities and events. This effectively boosts their numbers closer to 17% of the population that require accessible tourism and events when you take into account party size. Now, I don’t know many businesses or event organisers that wouldn’t mind 17% more potential customers. Me, my family and friends are part of that 17%. Personally, one of the most depressing things for me is to rock up to an event or activity and have to sit in the carpark waiting for my son and wife to finish because I can’t join in. I love where I live, and I think South West WA is a fantastic region that everybody should be able to experience, which is why I’ve been so active in trying to promote and grow accessibility over the years. Some of my favourite examples of best practice is the Yallingup Maze (great wide access for wheelchairs and prams, plus well-thought-out cafe design and planning), Eagle Bay Brewery (easy ramp access into and around the building, plus easy to move chairs) and the Beerfarm (same again, plus as a parent it’s great sitting up on the hill watching your kids have fun on the play equipment below!). The annual Groovin’ the Moo music festival is another who continues to listen, learn and update their facilities to be more inclusive every year. There are many more examples of local South West businesses and events who display inclusive behaviour by the actions they take. The first step is just to ask – we don’t expect you to be mind readers. Rather, by taking the steps early in the process (ideally during the planning stage), small decisions and actions can make a huge difference. They could even garner you 17% more profits. I’ll discuss more on the economic reasons Accessible Tourism & Events makes sense in my next blog...

Meanwhile, if you have any accessible ideas, questions or want to give a positive shout-out to some great examples, let me know on our 30 Foot Drop Facebook or Linkedin pages.

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