A new £45,000 online training programme is set to help Scotland’s hotels, visitor attractions, pubs and restaurants, better cater for the requirements of people with access needs including those with physical, sensory or learning disabilities, elderly visitors and parents with small children.
Minister for Tourism, Fergus Ewing officially launched the first phase of the e-learning Accessible Tourism Course at a visit to the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, this morning (23 June).
With exactly a month to go until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, VisitScotland and its partners Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow Welcomes, Skills Development Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Glasgow 2014 and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, believe the programme will ensure all visitors to the City, regardless of their access needs, receive a world-class welcome.
Available free of charge, the initiative will be available to all Scottish businesses.
Ryder Cup Europe has already agreed to use the course as part of its customer service training for Marshalls and Access Buddies ahead of the global event in September at Gleneagles.
As well as promoting good practice, the training, which is split into four categories, accommodation, visitor attractions, restaurants and catering, and pubs and bars, will a provide users with a better understanding of the requirements of this growing market.
Accessible tourism was recently valued at more than £370m to the Scottish economy, an increase of £37m since 2009.
The rise demonstrates the huge potential economic benefits to hundreds of businesses and services across the country of catering for this market.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Everyone should have the chance to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer. This new online training programme will ensure we are fit for purpose and have services available that can accommodate all visitors to our country.
“Improving accessibility has real potential to help achieve tourism industry growth ambitions and boost the wider economy, as well as enhancing social equalities.”
Chris McCoy, VisitScotland Accessible Tourism Scotland project manager, said: “2014 is the year we welcome the world and we want to make sure everybody receives the same warm Scottish welcome. However, we know that poor customer service and a lack of accurate information are among the most common barriers facing visitors with access needs. This project is designed to help equip employees and managers with the skills and knowledge they may need to welcome all visitors, regardless of their access needs. We hope through innovative online tools such as this, we can position Scotland as a country with world-class accessible tourism facilities, offering more choice as well as excellent customer service.”
In the run up to the Commonwealth Games, the Accessible Glasgow Tourism project, an official Glasgow 2014 legacy project which links to the wider Accessible Tourism Scotland project, is encouraging business to realise the potential economic benefits of the Accessible Tourism market by developing an ‘Access Statement’.
An access statement offers visitors with access needs a clear description through words and pictures of the facilities and services they can expect during their trip.Creating an access statement is often the first step to making a business more accessible.
For more information about accessible tourism and to access the training course please visitwww.visitscotland.org/accessible-tourism-training
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Notes to Editors:
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
- For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx