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Growing awareness of accessible tourism

The government’s recently announced sector deal has set out its ambition to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025 and with Purple Tuesday highlighting the growing need for change, Cumbria Tourism is supporting next month’s brand-new Tourism for Everyone Conference.

Held at the Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa on the 3rd December and with key speakers from VisitEngland, the Calvert Trust and Lakeland Arts, the event will feature presentations and workshops designed to help tourism businesses increase their awareness of the needs of the customers and how they can change their business practices to better accommodate them.

20% of visits to the county already include at least one member with additional needs and this figure is expected to rise, particularly with the government’s plans projected to increase the number of disabled international visitors by a third.

Justin Farnan, Sales and Marketing Manager at the Calvert Trust, which won the 2019 Cumbria Tourism Award for Accessible Tourism, will be showcasing the Trust’s disability-focused service as a case study for other tourism businesses to take inspiration from. Justin says “As an organisation focussed on providing activity breaks for those with disabilities we’re fully committed to making Cumbria and the Lake District as accessible as possible. Irrespective of whether the disability is physical, learning or sensory – or a combination of all three – we know that a visit to such a beautiful area can have a real therapeutic benefit. A little thought and understanding into how to make an activity, attraction or accommodation unit supportive of visitors with disabilities, and their carers, goes a long way. With over 40 years of operational experience we know first-hand that making your business truly disability-friendly delivers great levels of repeat business as well as bringing in new customers”.

Event organiser and advocate for increased accessibility provisions across Cumbria and beyond Julia Walker from Lake District Mobility says This event is a fantastic opportunity for businesses. Attendees will have a chance to hear first hand personal and business experiences on seen and unseen disabilities.

“20% of tourism visitors to Cumbria include somebody with a disability and this figure is expected to increase in the near future. Therefore, it’s vital that hotels, restaurants and attractions right across the county ensure that they’re open and welcoming to all potential customers. Disability comes in many forms, some more visible than others, and there are many things businesses can do to make peoples’ stays easier and much more welcoming, increasing the chances of them returning again and again.”

Recent successes within the county include the installation of a Changing Places bathroom at the National Trust’s Fell Foot site on Windermere as part of a National Heritage Lottery Fund project within a Grade II listed boathouse – the first of its kind in the Lake District National Park.

Cumbria Tourism will also be increasing awareness around the county’s accessible offering around the event of Purple Tuesday (12th November) for visitors with blog posts and social media highlighting activities suitable for visitors with a wide range of additional needs.

Business representatives can sign up for the event online by visiting www.cumbriatourism.org/shop/access-for-all-conference or by calling Sam Tollerson on 01539 822 222. Tickets cost £20 + VAT.

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