Accessible and inclusive tourism
Inclusive tourism enables people with access requirements, such as mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access, to function independently with equity and dignity through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environments.
Did you know?
People with disability make up almost 20% of Australia’s population and about 15% of the world’s population.
With an ageing population, the proportion of Australian travellers with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities is expected to increase.
In Australia, about 75% of people with a disability regularly travel and there is little difference between people with or without disabilities when it comes to motivations for travel, the way travel decisions are made, and where to travel.
Tasmania has the highest rate of disability among all states and territories at 26%, higher than the national average of 18%. We also have the oldest population in Australia, with nearly 20% of the population aged 65 years and over.
Should I use the term inclusive tourism or accessible tourism?
‘Inclusive’ is the preferred terminology as the nature of the word indicates that the product/service is not exclusively for those with a physical disability but rather inclusive and available to all persons.
‘Accessible’ gives the impression that a product or service has been adapted to be accessible to those with a physical disability and is exclusively for that use.
How can my business be more inclusive?
Improving the accessibility of your business is not just about physical access; it covers the entire customer experience and isn’t costly.
Below are some ways that you can make your business more inclusive for all of your customers.
You can also refer to the Department of State Growth’s guide on ‘How to make your business accessible’ which provides practical tips and suggestions for small business owners.
For some people the level of accessibility of your business is crucial to their decision to visit.
Use your website, advertising and promotional material to let people know how your business supports accessibility requirements.
Many businesses lose potential customers when they cannot easily find the information they are looking for on a website within two clicks.
Be specific about what facilities you have.
For example; ‘ramp access to venue and toilets’, ‘rest areas available’, ‘tactile visual aids in walkways and on stairs’.
Have a phone number and email available for customers to contact you for more information.
Tourism and hospitality operators are dependent on, and complement each other’s offerings, through their proximity.
When a person with particular access needs considers booking a holiday, they evaluate other offerings within the local area for inclusive options before making a booking.
Ensure you have information available and can provide cross-referrals to other inclusive tourism experiences to present your area as an inclusive tourism destination.
To conduct a quick assessment of your website’s current level of accessibility and information on how it could be improved, access the Digital Ready Check up Tool at checkup.digitalready.tas.gov.au and refer to the Doctor Digital’s Check up – Accessibility Factsheet
Here's two simple things you can do to make your website more inclusive and accessible to people with low vision and maximise your SEO.
- Upload all documents in a doc version as well as pdf
- Alt text all images (instructions provided below)
WCAG are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
This is a handy resource to give you all the information you need to make your website inclusive.
Alt text is easy to learn and essential for increasing accessibility to your site. Visit the Moz website for more information on alt text and the best ways to add it to your site's images.
Provide training to staff on disability awareness and how to support travellers with disabilities.
Offer general disability awareness training to all staff and more detailed accessibility training to customer-facing staff. Enhance this training with guidance, resources and ongoing support.
Accessibility training should cover a wide range of topics including:
- An overview of the types of disabilities
- Disability etiquette and terminology
- Education on appropriate and inappropriate terms
- General awareness of common accessibility barriers and features
- Tips for assisting customers with disabilities
- Specific knowledge of onsite accessibility features and how to use them.
Training should also account for unconscious bias, including stereotypes and assumptions, and actively counter it.
Contact the Association of Consultants in Access Australia or a Tasmanian not-for-profit advocacy group (listed below) for information and referrals.
Listing your business with ATDW allows you to easily promote your business or event on numerous digital platforms that connect directly to consumers including www.discovertasmania.com.au
Be sure to complete or update the accessibility criteria on your ATDW product listing so that your business can be searched for access facilities through the ‘options’ filter on the Discover Tasmania website.
For more information and advice about how to register with ATDW, visit the Tourism Tasmania website.
When promoting your business or visitor experience to the accessible travel market, use images that connect with the audience. Tourism Tasmania’s Visual Library includes a selection of inclusive/accessible images and is free for use by the tourism industry and travel trade partners. For more information visit the Visual Library, submit a registration application and then search for the Theme: Accessible tourism album.
Tasmania has become the first tourism destination to launch accessible audio content with Vacayit – a new audio-based tourism platform for blind and low vision (BLV) travellers. Tourism Tasmania’s 51 audio guides are available on the Vacayit app and will soon be hosted on Discover Tasmania – enabling greater access for travellers with disabilities to a range of tourism experiences. Individual operators across Tasmania can contact Vacayit via vacayit.com/sign-up or firstname.lastname@example.org to develop their own accessible audio experiences and stories. Find out more.
The Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) has available an Accessible Tourism module as part of the Australian Quality Tourism Program.
Completion of the module will provide your business with an accessibility guide for potential customers and a report with tailored advice on how to make your business more inclusive.
If your business meets the essential criteria for any disability or impairment type, you will be provided with a brandmark to promote your business to the inclusive travel market.
Find out more on the TICT website.
A Companion Card allows people with a significant and permanent disability to buy a ticket at participating venues and facilities, and receive a second ticket for their carer or companion at no charge.
Where can I find more information?
ATDW can expand your consumer reach in digital marketing. ATDW collects information from tourism providers and then distributes it through multichannel platforms and it’s free.
Events Checklists provided by the Department of Communities Tasmania assist event organisers to make their events more inclusive.
Regional tourism organisations work with their industry and visitor economy partners to provide opportunities for industry development, advocacy support for tourism and marketing activities.
TICT is the peak body representing the Tasmanian tourism industry. They are a not-for-profit organisation, promoting the value of tourism and advocating on behalf of our industry.
Tourism Australia provides national guidelines and resources for inclusive tourism across Australia in the Accessible Tourism - Corporate - Tourism Australia
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has a three-module, online self-directed training program that helps staff understand the requirements of travellers with differing access needs, what influences their travel and how to attract and retain these guests. For information see ATEC's Accessible & Inclusive Host; or e-mail email@example.com.
Autism Tasmania provide information, assistance, and resources for people on the spectrum and those who support them.
Disability Voices Tasmania aim to strengthen and promote the individual and collective voices of people with disability, by working to ensure all people with disabilities can participate in and contribute to the community as equal active citizens.
Expression Tasmania work to empower people who are deaf, hard of hearing or LGBTIQA+ to overcome barriers in their life.
ParaQuad Tasmania is a not-for-profit organisation that is the leading voice for people living with a spinal cord injury.
VisAbility Tasmania support people living with blindness or vision impairment to live the life they want, with confidence.
Consumer, Building and Occupational Services provide information on how to comply with minimum building standards to ensure people with a disability have equal access.
Association of Consultants in Access Australia is the peak national body for access consultancy in Australia.
Equal Opportunity Tasmania provides training, education development services and other resources for employers in Tasmania.
For general information on starting a new business visit Business Tasmania at www.business.tas.gov.au/starting or phone 1800 440 026.
For more information on your legal responsibilities, visit www.equalopportunity.tas.gov.au or phone 1300 305 062.
You can obtain information and advice about all aspects of running a business, including business compliance by contacting a business adviser through Enterprise Centres Tasmania at www.enterprisecentres.tas.gov.au or phone 1800 440 026.
For advice on the accessibility requirements on leasing, buying or altering a building, contact your local council’s building or planning section, a building surveyor or an access consultant through the Association of Consultants in Access Australia
For technical information on features such as ramps, handrails, toilets and signage, talk to your local council or building surveyor.