Visitors with accessibility challenges account for some 15-20 per cent of global tourism. Research by Tourism Australia has shown that accessible tourism can be a game changer for destinations that will assist with post-pandemic recovery by building industry resilience.
Treating accessibility as a competitive advantage that improves customer service and enhances the quality of life for all is the key to tapping into the ageing but still adventurous Baby Boomers who have the time and resources to travel and many other key groups.
As part of Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s (TTNQ) ongoing commitment to being an inclusive destination, we have added an Accessibility Hub to the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef destination website. This section will assist travellers with mobility impairment select activities and itineraries for their Tropical North Queensland holiday.
Through this site, operators can communicate to travellers about how accessible they are, whether they offer full wheelchair access, tours catering to vision-impaired people or easy access for people with a pram.
The TTNQ team worked closely with Spinal Life Australia and Out There Travel Care to put together content showcasing experiences and accommodations accessible to all travellers.
It has been an informative exercise discovering wheelchair-friendly beaches, Quicksilver’s water-powered lift to lower people into the water so they can snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, and which rainforest boardwalks are best suited to wheelchairs.
People needing to consider accessibility can now easily find accommodation options from specialised providers like Spinal Life’s Healthy Living Centre, which has personal support workers, to traditional hotels with accessible rooms such as the Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort.
Disabled Mission Beach journalist Imogen Kars has put our accommodation and tours to the test and written a series of blogs on travel options in Cairns, Palm Cove, the Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands.
Accessible tourism has enormous potential and can be woven into many existing tourism offerings. Sometimes it’s as simple as communicating with prospective travellers to understand how their needs can be accommodated.
TTNQ is encouraging all tourism operators to get involved with the Accessibility Hub and will soon host a second workshop to assist businesses in making their operations more accessible.
The Queensland Tourism Industry Council offers self-assessment modules to become an Accessible Tourism Accredited Business through the National Quality Tourism Framework, which will help travellers to identify their level of accessibility.
Our destination has been leading in the sustainability space for some years, and accessibility is another area where I hope to see Tropical North Queensland set industry standards as being accessible to all travellers.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland – CEO Mark Olsen