With one of the world’s biggest sporting events just twelve months away, VisitScotland has announced details of a £45,000 online Accessible Tourism programme to ensure the industry is ready to take advantage of one of the greatest opportunities for Scottish tourism in a generation.
The initiative, launched this morning in Glasgow by Fergus Ewing Tourism Minister, will help VisitScotland and its partners, Glasgow Service with Style, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise realise the huge potential economic benefits of the Accessible Tourism market, which is estimated to be worth £325 million to the Scottish economy.
The programme will see the industry sign up to go through a series of online training modules promoting good practice as well as gaining valuable insights, and will be available later in the year.
VisitScotland are also encouraging businesses to sign up to an ‘Access Statement’ –a clear description from each establishment on what features or facilities visitors with access requirements can expect during their stay.
The work has already begun in Glasgow and will have particular significance in the city, as VisitScotland leads the Accessible Glasgow Tourism Project* with the aim of making Glasgow 2014 accessible for all visitors.
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.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Minister, said:
“This initiative will provide guidance to tourism businesses on how they help tourists with accessibility issues such as physical disabilities, parents with small children or senior travellers. The momentum around accessible tourism in Scotland is growing. We need to work together to build on progress so far, with the aim of Scotland becoming one of the world’s most accessible tourist destinations.
“Improving accessibility has real potential to help achieve tourism industry growth ambitions and boost the wider economy as well as enhancing social equalities. There’s never been a better time to promote accessible tourism as we progress towards 2014, when Scotland celebrates the second Year of Homecoming and also takes centre stage in world terms as host of the world’s biggest sporting events – the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.“
Chris McCoy, Accessible Tourism Project Manager at VisitScotland, said:
“Today’s event will see us talk about the tangible economic benefits that the industry can harness by making themselves accessible to all. As we prepare to welcome the world in 2014, it’s even more vital that we ensure that the industry is ready for all accessible needs and today’s event and new online training scheme will help us do just that.”
The event will also see David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, speak about the importance of this market ahead of Games time. He said:
“We have embedded accessibility and inclusion into critical aspects of delivering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. For everyone involved with the Games, whether athlete or visitor, tourism is at the heart of their journey.
“We welcome the fact that everyone can have the chance to enjoy the Games experience. It is right that accessibility within tourism and the hospitality industry, as well as at our events and venues, is being placed at the heart of Scotland’s preparations to welcome the world in 2014.”
Scotland is set to welcome the world in 2014 with three momentous events; Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the year-long Homecoming 2014 celebrations and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles.
Scotland welcomes the World is about every visitor having the experience of a lifetime as the country takes centre-stage with a programme of global events which represent an unprecedented opportunity for tourism.
For further information please contact:
Corporate Press Officer
Tel: 0131 472 2052
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