Ross Calladine, VisitBritain head of business support, has urged tourism businesses, attractions and venues to be more inclusive and accessible – and reap the rewards.
Speaking at the Nottinghamshire Visitor Economy Summit on Monday (June 18), he said that “commercial drivers” to tap into the “purple pound” are very strong – although it is still “not the norm” for businesses to be inclusive.
“One in five people are disabled – it’s not a niche market,” he told delegates.
“If you can make improvements you can get a competitive advantage.
“Our productivity is not as high as other sectors; we have shoulder seasons and the off-season which affects annual productivity figures – but this market is less tied to peak periods.
“It also helps you to future-proof your business as we have an ageing population.”
Furthermore, disabled visitors are loyal customers who return to attractions that are accessible – and research showed there is also untapped potential in the inbound sector.
“It’s not just wheelchair users – just 8% of disabled people are wheelchair users,” he told the conference at Nottingham Contemporary gallery.
“Think about less mobile people, and those with a sensory impairment.”
He urged delegates to use free tools from VisitEngland to market the accessibility of venues, and encouraged them to train staff and improve facilities such as toilets and bathrooms.