At the start of World Travel Market today, VisitEngland announces plans for a national drive to promote England as a leading destination for accessible tourism, following a successful bid for funding from the European Commission.
The announcement comes as new research by VisitEngland shows the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3billion to the England economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.4billion.
Over the past 4 years overnight trips by disabled travellers and their companions have increased by 19% with spend up by 33%.
The ‘Access for All’ project will be funded by a grant of €125,000 from the European Commission. VisitEngland will partner with 7 destinations to develop and promote their destination for visitors with access needs. As part of this, 56 businesses will be involved in a process to improve their accessibility. Informative visitor guides will be created for each destination to put on show the wide breadth of tourism experiences available, and to promote local tourism businesses that are providing a warm welcome to all visitors, including those with access needs.
VisitEngland will also deliver a national marketing campaign which will go live in late summer/early autumn 2015 to showcase the experiences on offer for visitors with access needs, and encourage more people to take a short break in England.
James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland said: “As the national tourist board, we are committed to ensuring England is a destination that offers a warm welcome for all visitors. The Access for All project is a fantastic opportunity to continue to build England’s reputation as a leader in accessible tourism, and help grow this important and valuable market, now worth £3billion to England’s economy.”
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said: “The Access for All project will help disabled people enjoy England’s world beating tourist destinations. The tourism sector is making a significant contribution to economic growth in this country and we want to keep up that momentum by ensuring our destinations are welcoming to all.”
VisitEngland has taken a leading role in supporting and encouraging tourism businesses to make the most of this valuable market. The project, which will run from October 2014 until March 2016, will expand on VisitEngland’s pilot Access for All project which supported 4 destinations to create accessible experiences, accompanied by a national marketing campaign launched in March this year with the support of top Paralympians.
View VisitEngland’s infographic on the Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England.
To find out more, join VisitEngland’s lead on Access Ross Calladine and a host of other speakers at the WTM Seminar: “Preparing your Destinations for the Accessible Tourism Market: Lessons from Research Practice” on Tuesday 4 November from 16:00 – 17.30 in the Premier Room 1, ExCel, London.
VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. For more information see www.visitengland.com.