VisitEngland Introduces Online Accessibility Guide for 2012 Paralympics

VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England, has released new guidance for online destination sites aimed at improving information for travellers with reduced mobility and other access needs, to coincide with the commencement of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

As well as helping websites offer a warm welcome to the participants in, and visitors to, the Paralympic Games, the new ‘Winning More Visitors’ resource is designed to assist websites provide access information for visitors to the country that have access needs.

Previously, a survey conducted by the agency reported that around 83 percent of people with access needs had searched for access information online to plan a trip to their favoured destinations, and around 3 percent of them finally managed to locate the information they required.

The research also reported that around 74 percent of people with access needs are likely to prefer visiting a destination that offers the best assistance.

Ross Calladine, the agency’s skills, welcome and accessibility manager, said, ‘Visitors who have a health condition or impairment – and their travelling companions – spend over GBP2bn each year in England, and our research shows that many of those visitors will choose where to spend that money based on the access information available on destination websites. We have produced Winning More Visitors to help destinations improve their welcome and attract even more of these loyal and valuable visitors.’

The online resource provides guidance on travel-planning tools, such as providing details of available transportation, parking space with access options, information on geography from an accessibility point of view, a list of accessible tourism venues including accommodation and attractions, and other relevant information.