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.

A30 Egham Bypass Games Lanes to Remain Open Until Paralympic Games

The London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG), the agency that is responsible for all Olympic preparations in London, has reported that the Games Lanes on the A30 Egham Bypass in Surrey will be open for traffic during the period between the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Earlier it was reported that A30 Egham Bypass Games Lanes would remain in force until the end of the Paralympic Games on September 6, 2012.

The Games Lanes have been working efficiently, without any incidents of traffic queues except in the mornings during rush hour, to help athletes and officials move easily between venues and their accommodation at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Games Lanes will be operational again during the Paralympic Games, from August 27, 2012, to facilitate the easy movement of athletes and officials from Eton Dorney for the Paralympic Rowing training and competition events.

Hugh Sumner, the director of transport for the Olympic Delivery Authority, said, ‘After evaluating the operation of the A30 Egham Bypass Games Lanes and background traffic to date, we have decided to open up the Lanes to all traffic during the period between the Games.

This will reduce the impact of the Olympic Route Network for everyday road users during this time. We were concerned that temporarily suspending the Games Lanes in this period would create confusion. However, now that we have seen that it has been working better than we expected, we believe we can safely go ahead with this move and help drivers at the same time.’