VisitLanarkshire develops accessible tourism guides

VisitLanarkshire is working with access information provider, DisabledGo, to provide detailed accessibility guides for the region’s attractions and accommodation providers.

The tourist board currently offers accessibility information for 62% of Lanarkshire’s attractions and aims to reach 100% by 2020.

There is a growing need for accessibility information because of the increasingly elderly population, along with one million people in Scotland who define themselves as disabled, according to VisitLanarkshire.

VisitScotland says 136 million trips each year are made in Scotland where a member of the party has an impairment or disability. The national tourist board estimates that accessible tourism in Scotland contributes £1.3 billion to the Scottish economy annually.

Accessibility guides in Lanarkshire cater for a range of travellers, from older people with limited mobility to parents with young children and those with a permanent physical disability or a temporary injury, such as a broken leg.

Each guide provides comprehensive information and photographs of the attractions, showing the journey through each venue.

Access guides for train stations and several shops in the area are also available, and attraction staff are encouraged to take VisitScotland training courses to improve the service offered to visitors.

Mark Calpin, chair of the Lanarkshire Area Tourism Partnership, said: “The accessibility project allows our attractions and accommodation providers in Lanarkshire to respond to visitors with confidence and enables us to offer high quality information for guests ahead of a visit.

“I would encourage as many venues and attractions to get involved to further open up our fantastic attractions to as many people as possible.”

Anna Nelson, executive director at DisabledGo, added: “Too often disabled people and their families face a lack of information about the access and service they can expect.

“Too often the £249 billion spending power of disabled people is ignored and our hope is that this project will highlight how an area can ensure it is inclusively promoting all it has to offer.”