UK industry could do more for disabled

Britain’s tourism industry could do more to make accommodation,
attractions and destinations more accessible to the 10 million disabled
people and 10 million over-65s currently living in the UK.

National tourism agency, VisitBritain, and national registered charity,
Tourism for All UK, are working together to ensure that older people -
and those with sensory and mobility impairments - can enjoy the same
holiday experiences as the rest of the population.

A new guide - Britain’s Accessible Places to Stay - highlights the wide
range of accommodation that caters for differently-abled guests. All the
quality-assessed properties, including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering and
campaign and caravanning parks, participate in a national accessible
scheme operated by VisitBritain or one of its national tourist board
partners. As well as informative accommodation entries, the guide
includes colour maps, helpful suggestions on what to see and do in each
region - including accessible attractions - and travel information.


There are around 10 million disabled people in the UK with a combined
spending power of £50 billion and one in six - about 10 million -
Britons are aged 65 or over. The over 65s traditionally take an
additional ten overnight holiday trips annually, potentially spending
six weeks or more of the year travelling.



VisitBritain chief executive, Tom Wright, says:


“We know at least 2.5 million disabled people travel regularly, but that
many more feel unable to do so because of a lack of facilities. While
they and the over-65s may have particular needs, these should not be a
barrier to them enjoying the same holiday opportunities as any other



“Accommodation providers and attractions could reap significant benefits
if they can adapt their business to the special requirements of these
guests. As we aim to increase the value of Britain’s visitor economy
towards £100 billion by 2010, the tourism industry must do all it can to
make its products and services accessible for all.”


Priced £9.99, Britain’s Accessible Places to Stay is available from
leading bookshops, by telephoning 0870 606 7204 or online at


At present only two per cent of known accommodation in the UK has been
assessed as being accessible. VisitBritain also wants more properties to
register for its National Accessible Scheme. Similar to existing quality
assessment schemes, it reassures visitors with hearing, visual and
mobility impairments that they can enjoy a quality experience in a wide
range of accommodation. Instead of a star rating, different symbols
indicate that the property has been thoroughly assessed against
stringent criteria.


Regard for VisitBritain’s National Accessible Scheme has led to it being
used as a reference point in a European Commission project - the
One-Stop Shop for Accessible Tourism in Europe (OSSATE) - to deliver
multi-lingual information on accessible tourism products. OSSATE aims to
ensure that the 40 million European citizens - and potential visitors to
Britain - with access issues can get the best tourism experience