Paws for thought

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport and Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland today met with Robyn (brown Labrador: hearing dog), Winter (black Labrador: guide dog) and Gigi (Golden Retriever: guide dog) as part of Scotland’s first Accessibility Conference.

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport and Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland today met with Robyn (brown Labrador: hearing dog), Winter (black Labrador: guide dog) and Gigi (Golden Retriever: guide dog) as part of Scotland’s first Accessibility Conference.

VisitScotland Conference encourages businesses to think more about accessibility

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport and Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland today met with guide and hearing dogs, to discover the vital role they play in supporting those with visual and hearing difficulties at Scotland’s very first Accessible Tourism Conference.

Organised by VisitScotland, the conference is designed to inspire the Scottish tourism industry to think about ways they can make their businesses more accessible. Other speakers at the conference include David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Caroline Casey, Founder of Kanchi.

Accessibility issues affect a range of people: from those with physical disabilities to those with mental health conditions; parents with small children to senior travellers; and people with temporary injuries. The accessible tourism market is estimated to be worth £325 million to the Scottish economy.

The Accessible Tourism Conference features a number of demonstrations, including teams from Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, showing how the dogs provide invaluable support to people with visual and hearing disabilities.

It is hoped that highlighting and promoting accessibility solutions and initiatives will give a further boost to the multi-million-pound accessible tourism sector.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “While a great number of Scotland’s accommodation providers and visitor attractions provide excellent facilities and warm welcomes for visitors with access needs, there is still some work to be done and we can never be complacent, especially as we prepare to welcome the world in 2014.

“During this conference, we aim to help give the industry the tools with which to make the most of the accessible tourism market. Research tells us that this is a hugely loyal market who, if welcomed with a great first impression, will come back time and time again. I encourage tourism businesses throughout Scotland to attend the conference and discover what more they can offer this potentially lucrative sector.”

To find out more about VisitScotalnd, head to www.visitscotland.com.

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