VisitEngland has unveiled plans for a national marketing campaign to promote accessible tourism in England next year.
The national tourist board will work with five destinations to develop exciting itineraries with top class accommodation and attractions that provide a warm welcome for all visitors including those with access needs.
The campaign, a first of its kind, will be promoted through marketing activity starting in late summer 2013, and is designed to highlight the fantastic tourism experiences on offer to all across the country.
VisitEngland will work with Leicester Shire Promotions, Visit Brighton, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Bath Tourism Plus and Chester & Cheshire to identify tourism businesses in their area that provide particularly excellent levels of service to visitors with access needs – such as those with hearing and visual impairments, wheelchair users, older and less mobile people and people with pushchairs.
The national tourist board will then work with the destinations and businesses to ensure that they all meet the same high standard of accessibility, focusing on key issues such as customer service and visitor information.
This will incorporate a number of VisitEngland’s tools and resources, such as Access Statements and online disability awareness training.
The campaign is funded by £100,000 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund plus contributions from partners.
It will provide a cost-effective opportunity for English destinations to showcase their accessible tourism businesses and attract more visits from disabled travellers and their companions; a sector worth almost £2 billion a year to the domestic tourism industry.
Paralympic medallist and TV presenter, Ade Adepitan, commented: “VisitEngland’s accessible tourism campaign is a fantastic example of Paralympic legacy.
“Promoting destinations in England which are easily accessible and cater to the needs of disabled visitors should inspire all of us to take a break here at home, with the peace of mind that our specific needs will be met so that we can enjoy our holidays to the full.”
This marketing activity is phase two of a three-year investment project called ‘Growing Tourism Locally’.
Funded by £19.8 million from the RGF, the project aims to generate £365 million in additional tourism spend over the three year period and inspire more Britons to take more holidays at home.
The project should help to stimulate employment to grow jobs in the tourism sector by 9,100 over the three years.
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive, commented: “The RGF money is a huge boost for accessible tourism in England; these new itineraries will showcase the best this country has to offer to all visitors, regardless of disability.
“We know that accessible tourism in England is worth almost £2 billion, and we want to harness this growing, high-value market to become internationally recognised as a leading destination for people with access needs.”
The total investment of the three-year campaign will be approximately £41m including £19.8m from the Regional Growth Fund, £9m from VisitEngland, £12m leveraged from the national and local tourism sector.