All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Monday, May 16, 2016

Australia - New South Wales Ministerial Forum On Accessible Tourism Strategy Development



On Wednesday 11 May 2016 a New South Wales Ministerial Forum on Accessible Tourism was held at NSW Parliament House in the Strangers Room. Building upon the work by NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) on inclusive communities over the last two years, the Ministerial Forum was held to reflect on past approaches and future opportunities with the impending NDIS for accessible tourism in NSW. Organised by NSW FACS and facilitated by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Public Policy and Governance, the forum was opened by the Minister for Disability Services and Multiculturalism the Honourable John Ajacka. The format for the day included two forums. The first forum was chaired by Donna Rygate the CEO of Local Government NSW with the purpose of reflecting on past initiatives that had worked well. With the background of the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014, Donna outlined the opportunities and potential for developing inclusive communities and accessible tourism at the local government level. She stressed the importance that an inclusive community is also a great community to visit as a tourist. The panel consisted of Martin Heng, the accessible travel manager and editorial advisor for Lonely Planet, Dr Helen Margarita Smith - the bush walking program office of the National Parks Association of NSW, and Sean Willenberg – Disability Inclusion Officer, NSW Business Chamber. The overriding outcome of the first forum was the importance of information provision and information systems so that consumers can make an informed choice about tourism product offerings. This was also supported through the discussion with the audience that people with disabilities and others with access needs want great accessible destination experiences and don't travel hundreds or thousands of miles to stay in hotels/other forms of accommodation. The second panel was chaired by Prof Simon Darcy, UTS Business School who presented recent European research undertaken by the EU and the UN World Tourism Organisation. This research work reinforced a great deal of similar findings from the US, the UK and Australasia (see references), with Prof Darcy concluding that the time for research was over and a knowledge base existed for industry action to improve the tourism citizenship of people living in NSW or visiting it from other states or overseas. The other members on the panel were Geoff Buckley - ex-head of Tourism Australia and Managing Director of New Earth Tourism, Andrew Bowring -Business Head of Zomato, and Jenny Spinak, Access Manager of the Sydney Opera House. Discussions on this panel examined the opportunities for engaging an industry led supply side digital platforms across travel information, accommodation, attractions, restaurants/bars and the share economy. Jenny Spinak also shared experiences of the importance of driving cultural change with internal and external stakeholders of organisations and provided examples of the successful transition of the Sydney Opera House to an organisation embracing inclusion and receiving a multitude of benefits including increased patronage, corporate social responsibility outcomes and opportunities for sponsorship. After each session lively discussions were held with the approximately 50 people in attendance from the tourism industry, disability advocacy and government sectors. The outcome of the forum is to produce an action plan for NSW to facilitate accessible tourism opportunities across the state including rural and remote areas. The Institute for Public Policy and Governance provided background papers and will be working on an action plan agenda arising from the meeting. For further information please contact Ivan Pavkovic Ivan.Pavkovic@uts.edu.au

Photo 1. Bill Forrester of Travability posing a question for Donna Rygate of the NSW Local Government and Shires Association

References
Buhalis, D., & Darcy, S. (Eds.). (2011). Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues. Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
Buhalis, D., Darcy, S., & Ambrose, I. (Eds.). (2012). Best Practice in Accessible Tourism: Inclusion, Disability, Ageing Population and Tourism. Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2011). Chapter 14 - Economic Contribution of Tourists with Disabilities: An Australian Approach and Methodology. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 213-239). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.
GFK, University of Surrey, Neumann Consult, & Pro A Solutions. (2015). Economic Impact and Travel Patterns of Accessible Tourism: European Commission in conjunction with GFK - University of Surrey - Neumann Consulting - Pro A Solutions.
Michopoulou, E., Darcy, S., Ambrose, I., & Buhalis, D. (2015). Accessible tourism futures: the world we dream to live in and the opportunities we hope to have. Journal of Tourism Futures, 1(3), 179-188.
Open Doors Organization. (2015). Research among Adults with Disabilities: Travel and Hospitality (USA). Chicago: Open Doors Organization.
UNWTO. (2015a). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Principles, Tools and Good Practices - Module 1   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/book/10.18111/9789284416486
UNWTO. (2015b). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Principles, Tools and Good Practices - Module 2   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/abs/10.18111/9789284416509
UNWTO. (2015c). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Principles, Tools and Good Practices - Module 3   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/book/10.18111/9789284416523
UNWTO. (2015d). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Principles, Tools and Good Practices - Module 4   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/abs/10.18111/9789284416547
UNWTO. (2015e). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Principles, Tools and Good Practices - Module 5   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284416585
UNWTO. (2015f). Manual on Accessible Tourism for All: Public-private Partnerships and Good Practices   Retrieved from http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284416585

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