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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

National Tourism Dialogue and Communiqué on Accessible Tourism

The National Information Communication Awareness Network for the arts, sport, recreation and tourism (a.k.a. NICAN) recently held a National Tourism Dialogue that brought together stakeholders with an interest in the area disability, access and inclusive or accessible tourism

The Dialogue was opened by Sen Jan McLucas the current Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers where she issued a media release and the text of her opening speech

The day adopted a participatory action research approach (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003; Goodley & Lawthom, 2005; Kitchin, 2000; Taylor, 1999) and a background paper on Setting a Research Agenda for Accessible Tourism (Darcy, 2006) was circulated as a starting point for the participants. Research can be a foundation for policy development and change particularly where industry groups demand a business case. Historically disability, access and accessible tourism have been challenged by industry groups as they do not believe that people with disability are a market segment or believe that they are a low yield group or that provision for accessible accommodation does not provide a reasonable return on investment (Australian Hotels Association & Tourism and Transport Forum, 2010). To counter these arguments, two presentations were incorporated within the agenda to provide a research base  from nationally collected government statistics,  and to challenge market myths and stereotypes (Dwyer & Darcy, 2011; Forrester, 2011). The afternoon was then devoted to a stakeholder brainstorming session aimed at coming to a group consensus for a call to action to action to improve the tourism opportunities for the group through leveraging industry engagement. Photo 1 is the group present at Parliament house with a number of other speakers joining by teleconference - Sheila King, Access for All Alliance Inc.,  Associate Prof Simon Darcy, UTS Business School.

Photo 1 - National Tourism Dialogue Group Photo plus others who joined by teleconference.

The agenda for the day was:
National Dialogue
Stakeholders in Disability Tourism 
Monday 20 June 2011
9:30am – 3:00pm
Parliament House, Canberra 


9:30     Welcome and introductions (Patron Annette Ellis)
a.     Apologies
b.     Brief introductions (all)
c.      Scene setting and purpose of forum (CEO NICAN Suzanne Bain-Doniohue/Marketing Manager NICAN Craig Wallace)

10:00  Formal opening and keynote
     Current directions in disability & the importance of access tourism
                Senator the Hon. Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

Morning tea [Group photograph]

The Case for Accessible Tourism
a.     The value of disability tourism - what the research tells us?
(Ass. Professor Simon Darcy, UTS Business School - University of Technology, Sydney)
 (Bill Forrester, Travability)
b.     Other sources and gaps in our knowledge (all)

12:30 Lunch

1:30    Taking action (brainstorm of all stakeholders)
a.     What do we want to happen?
b.     Who do we need onside to make it happen?
c.      What could we do to make it happen?
d.     What are the barriers to getting there? 

2:30     Next steps
a.     Possible joint communiqué (draft with papers)
b.     Recap key outcomes & agreements (Annette Ellis)

3:30     Close

For inquiries please contact Craig Wallace at Nican on (02) 6241 1220 / 0451 199 750

The communiqué from the National Dialogue is now reproduced for your convenience and can be accessed from
National Dialogue
Stakeholders in accessible and inclusive tourism 
Wednesday 22 June 2011

Parliament House, Canberra 

Inclusive and Accessible Tourism – an opportunity for Australia

A National Dialogue of key stakeholders in inclusive and accessible tourism was opened on Monday 20 June by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers at Parliament House, Canberra.  The Dialogue, hosted by Nican and chaired by Annette Ellis, National Patron and former Shadow Minister for Disability and Carers, has agreed on a call to action for the tourism industry, government and the Australian community:

Tourism by people who have a disability or who are ageing is an opportunity for Australian Tourism to seize the competitive advantage in a tight market. It is also a great way to demonstrate corporate social responsibility.  The time is right for action as Australia’s baby boomers retire.

Key stakeholders including researchers, tourism operators and referral providers have joined forces, with the support of the Australian Government, to build awareness about the opportunities and to address barriers to tourism by these groups. 

Together, we believe that there is a growing understanding of the potential of the tourism market for people with disability, including seniors, which goes hand-in-hand with boosting visitor numbers and strengthening our place as a top draw tourism destination for people around the world. 

We recognise that access to leisure and recreation, including taking a holiday, is an important part of living an ordinary life and helps realise the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability and the National Disability Strategy. 

Ultimately, this will help to build a more welcoming and inclusive society, where individuals and families with a disability have choices and no longer feel shut out.

There are significant advantages to developing better tourism products, services and experiences to people with disability as well as information about opportunities, venues and services. 

This is good business sense and is also consistent with rights, access and corporate social responsibility. 

With the right planning this can be a real win for both people with disability and the tourism industry. 

Now is the time to promote the business case for disability tourism where:   

·        Some 88 per cent of people with disability take a holiday each year which accounts for some 8.2 million overnight trips.
·        The average travel group size for people with disability is 2.8 people for a domestic overnight trip and 3.4 for a day trip.
·        There is a myth that the inclusive tourism market does not spend because of economic circumstance.
·        People with disability travel on a level comparable with the general population for domestic overnight and day trips.
·        The total tourism expenditure attributable to people with disability is $8bn per year or 11 per cent of overall tourism expenditure (Dwyer & Darcy, 2011).

The business case is clear and draws on landmark research from Associate Professor Simon Darcy, with the University of Technology’s Business School, who presented at the session. 

We welcome the Government's commitment in the area of travel and tourism through the National Disability Strategy as well as work on Access to Premises and Transport Standards, access to airlines and cinema access. 

More could be done including an inclusive/accessible tourism category within a mainstream tourism award; a marketing strategy; a practical information guide; a National Forum with Tourism operators and further work to refresh and promote the business case for inclusive and accessible tourism, especially with industry.

We commend these ideas to government and each of us is committed to moving from commitment to action.

We are excited by the opportunity to deepen the understanding of the importance and potential of inclusive and accessible tourism for all Australians.  We will continue to work together and promote the benefits across the tourism industry, agencies of governments at all levels, tourism promoters, and the Australian community.

Issued by:
Australia For All Alliance Inc
Disabled Motorists Association
Disability Information and Resource Centre
Leadership plus (formerly Inclusive Leisure Vic) 

Media contact: Craig Wallace, Marketing Manager, Nican – 0451 199 750



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