Experts in the field of accessibility discussed how to make Yorke Peninsula a better place for all, including people with disabilities and other conditions, during a workshop in Port Vincent on Tuesday, 18 October.
Yorke Peninsula Council, with Tourism Industry Council of South Australia and Yorke Peninsula Tourism, welcomed more than 30 people to the workshop both in person and online.
Jennifer Brunton from the South Australian Tourism Commission discussed the importance of ensuring businesses and tourist offerings could welcome people with accessibility requirements.
Accessibility tourism assists 1.3 million people – seven per cent of the population – and is worth billions of dollars per year, Ms Brunton said.
However, the market could be much bigger, as 22-23 per cent of people with a disability are not currently holidaying because they find it too difficult or stressful, she added.
Kadina’s Jane Gersch, who lives with an acquired brain injury, discussed her experiences holidaying and what she felt could be improved.
“Travellers need to be able to easily determine what accessibility options are available before they holiday, so they can be confident they will be catered for,” she said.
“Having a disability can be hard, and you spend a lot of time researching what you can and can’t do before a holiday, so that process needs to be easy.”
Susan Peucker from Big 4 Renmark Riverfront Caravan Park, which has won awards for being accessible, shared her experiences.
The park installed a sensory room for children with autism, a modest investment that has had huge benefits for the business, among a number of other inclusive initiatives.
All guest presenters were thanked with a gift basket of Yorke Peninsula produce courtesy of Nourished by Jo.
Accessible Tourism Accreditation support
Businesses can now access a detailed checklist to become more accessible and inclusive, and when they meet all essential criteria they can earn Accessible Tourism Accreditation badges.
This accreditation is formal acknowledgement that people with accessibility needs can check before choosing a holiday destination, and also ensures a business is accommodating to as wide a variety of clientele as possible.
Rebecca Uphill from the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia explained the benefits of going through the accreditation process, one being that businesses receive resources and guidance that they can keep, even if they are unable to meet accreditation standards.
Yorke Peninsula Council made a commitment to help eligible businesses through the accreditation process, and encourages anyone interested to email firstname.lastname@example.org or to contact TiCSA on email@example.com.