Friday, July 26, 2024

Newcastle program takes aim at inclusive tourism

City of Newcastle Council is inviting businesses to participate in a program designed to grow the city’s standing as an inclusive tourism destination and its share of the $6.8 billion accessible tourism market.

Expressions of interest are now open for businesses to participate in the free program, with 20 to be selected based on their relevance to the visitor economy, Council said in a statement.

The businesses selected will receive practical advice on how to improve their accessibility for tourists with a broad range of needs, including mobility and vision, sensory, intellectual and neurological disabilities.

Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said improving the accessibility of Newcastle is an ongoing priority.

“Access and inclusion are key priorities for City of Newcastle and we want the millions of Australians who have a disability to look to our city as the place to visit for a holiday.”

“Enhancing our inclusive tourism offering will not just attract more visitors and tap into new markets, it will also make our city a better place to live work and play for locals,” she said.

Council has appointed The Visitor Inclusion Group, a specialist consulting firm in the field of accessible and inclusive tourism, to develop the framework, which will help local operators better understand the requirements of visitors with a disability.

Councillor Margaret Wood, who is co-chair of City of Newcastle’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, said accessible tourism is the fastest growing travel sector in Australia.

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that in 2022 around 5.5 million Australians were living with a disability,” Cr Wood said.

“Australian travellers with accessibility needs spent $6.8 billion on domestic travel in the 2022/23 financial year.

“This project aims to encourage improvement and inclusion in the accessible tourism sector, helping local business to find ways to be an inclusive destination for everyone.

“Together, we can make our city an accessible and inclusive destination for all.”

Newcastle Tourism Industry Group Chairman, Dominic May, encouraged Newcastle tourism operators to get on board.

“This initiative will help to make Newcastle accessible to all visitors and provide a much needed boost to local businesses,” Mr May said.

“It’s important for all of our tourism providers to do everything we can to be part of the growing accessible tourism market.”

Expressions of interest close at 5pm on 22 July.

To submit an EOI visit: www.visitnewcastle.com.au/industry-resources/expressionofinterest

Improving the accessibility of Newcastle is a key part of City of Newcastle’s Destination Management Plan and Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

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