To mark last week’s Disability Action Week, disability sector advocates Spinal Life Australia and the national representative body of Australia’s tourism industry councils, Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), announced a partnership that aims to improve inclusivity and accessibility across the country for the benefit of people with disabilities.
The partnership will see the development and promotion of accessible tourism for Australian and international visitors, as well as assist tourism businesses in identifying improvements they can make to the accessibility of their offerings. The program will see businesses undertake a comprehensive accessibility assessment to provide detailed information to visitors with a range of accessibility needs.
It is noted that 18 per cent of Australians, 4.4 million residents, live with disability and are currently underserviced in the tourism industry. Research from Spinal Life Australia has revealed that 76 per cent of Australians believe that most places in Australia are inaccessible to people living with disabilities, a situation which a majority believe needs to be changed.
Evan Hall, Chairman of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, has described the partnership as a ‘natural fit’. “We understand the value of accessible tourism and how vital it is to strive towards improved inclusion for all Australians,” Hall explained. “We’re proud to be working with Spinal Life Australia to continue our shared advocacy for better outcomes for all.
“In partnership with Spinal Life Australia, we will provide ongoing advice and advocacy to the Australian Government for new policies to improve the accessibility of Australia’s tourism industry,” Hall added.
Mark Townend, CEO of Spinal Life Australia, described the partnership as “a great example of improvement in accessibility when it comes to the travel and tourism sector”. “People living with disabilities love to travel and explore like every Australian does,” Townend said. “Tourism and travel businesses are critical parts of the Australian economy and have a key role to play in making Australia more accessible and inclusive, not only for our domestic market, but also our international visitors.
“Through our work with tourism businesses in various tourist hotspots across Australia, we’ll be highlighting the importance of access and inclusion to encourage meaningful change and look forward to working with ATIC to build on the great work that has already commenced,” Townend concluded.