Accessible Tourism and Events (Part 2)
This week we pick up my thoughts on Accessible Tourism & Events and why it makes economic sense. If you haven’t, I suggest having a read of Part 1 first before coming back to this: (Accessible Tourism and Events Part 1). As we discussed, Accessible Tourism has the potential of unlocking 17% more customers, which is a handy profit margin increase. Let’s look at those numbers a little more closely... Looking at the South West specifically, tourism is a huge industry for our local economy. Our region’s direct and indirect contribution to the West Australian economy is about 14%, while tourism and events also accounts for 1 in 5 jobs for those living here. That’s the second highest proportion behind the Coral Coast. At the moment, the direct and indirect contribution of Accessible Tourism in the South West is about 2% of the regions economy – just a tiny sliver but probably more than most realise. In terms of dollars and cents, we’re talking $163 million generated for the economy within the region. There’s a segment of people who live across WA who love to travel, have the money to travel, but don’t because they need improvements in services and accessibility in order to feel confident to do so. Those people equate to $225 million. Let that sink in for just a minute. $225 million is just sitting there waiting to be spent. These are people, like my family, who are looking for entertainment that caters to their additional needs. And we’re not just talking big annual events, such as Gourmet Escape or the Margaret River Pro. I mean everyday activities, events and accommodation that encourages people with a mobility, cognitive or intellectual impairment to visit the South West. Imagine the market difference as a wine tour operator if you were able to install a ramp for easy wheelchair access, or the accommodation that had extra wide doors, accessible bathrooms and ramps. By promoting those additional services you would easily see an uptake in visitation from the 17% ‘minority’ group. And the South West has the opportunity to really lead by example. At the moment so very few businesses and events are employing accessible tourism best practice that by doing so, you’re likely to corner the market. Trust me, as a person with an impairment if I’m offered the opportunity to do something FUN and NEW and DIFFERENT, and have confidence I won’t face any challenges while there, I’m 100% in and I’ll bring everyone I know as well. People with impairments are a very loyal group because so often we’ve been disappointed with the lack of facilities. Once we find something tried and true, we’ll be your best repeat customers. $225 million is a lot of spare change waiting to be used. Ask yourself – how much are you willing to invest to get a cut of the pie? And how much of that pie do you want? If you want to know where to start, why not get in touch? While the easiest time to consider your accessible tourism commitments is during the planning stages, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin the process later in the piece.