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Accessible tourism seen as untapped growth industry

October 18, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) has thrown its weight behind a plan for Victoria’s tourism industry to become national leaders in accessible tourism.

VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said Victoria needs a coordinated and strategic approach to developing an accessible tourism policy and welcomes investment in education, infrastructure and delivering experiences that advance our reputation as Australia’s most visitable and accessible state.

“With around one in five Australians living with a disability and an ageing population, demand for accessible tourism destinations is expected to continue rising,” Mariani said.

“Travelling can be a challenge for people with special needs and it is incumbent on the industry to create and consistently deliver experiences as seamless and enjoyable as possible.”

Heidi Victoria, Victoria’s Shadow Minister for Tourism, has pledged that, if elected at next month’s state election, the Liberal National Coalition will develop an action plan to develop and promote accessible tourism and invest in upgrades to ramps, handrails and wheelchair friendly facilities across the state.

A recent Tourism Research Australia report found that 7% of people with a disability had stayed at least one night or taken a day trip in Victoria and contributed around AUD 680 million to the economy, of which 80% included overnight stays.

The average travel party for a person with a disability, including adults caring for a child with a disability, is 2.24 residents and it’s estimated they spent a total AUD 1.7 billion, of which 79% was overnight stays.

Mariani said there was enormous potential for Victoria to tap into the accessible tourism market.

“We already have some wonderful operators in Victoria who are setting a high standard in accessibility.

“It’s pleasing that of those surveyed by Tourism Research Australia, 60% of people with a disability who visited Victoria, including carers, said they would recommend our state as a travel destination based on the range of attractions and experiences on offer.”

Investment in accessible tourism infrastructure and collaborative policy development provides social, community and economic value to the State.

Edited by Peter Needham

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