Encouraging accessible tourism

Article image - Encouraging accessible tourism Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate rolls out a beach mat, a recent Council initiative to encourage increased accessibility in the community.

Ahead of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2018, the City of Gold Coast is promoting more accessible tourism.

The recent Accessible Tourism Forum discussed how local businesses can become more accessible and welcoming.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate joined Gold Coast Tourism and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) at the forum.
“We are a progressive city and a tourism destination for everyone,” the Mayor said.

“Accessible tourism is about ensuring everyone can participate in everything our city has to offer, regardless of ability.

“The forum encourages tourism businesses to be more accessible and have an inclusive approach to customer service.”

Mayor Tate said the Gold Coast was a city committed to genuine accessibility, reflected in the current trial of beach matting and beach wheelchair access for residents and visitors.

“It’s just one of the initiatives in our Accessible and Inclusive City Action Plan. If the trial goes well, we’d look to provide beach access equipment at other locations.

“As Mayor, I am committed to ensuring we are doing all we can to remove barriers to access and foster inclusion to create a welcoming environment for everyone who lives, works and visits the Gold Coast.”

Gold Coast Tourism Chief Executive Officer Martin Winter said the inaugural event would raise awareness regarding accessibility and initiatives like Gold Coast Tourism’s upcoming Discover Gold Coast Challenge would enable industry and tourism leaders to experience access challenges first hand.

“Currently, the nation’s Accessible Tourism market is worth $4.8 billion and we expect demand for modified accommodation options, wheelchair access and accessible transport to increase in coming years.

“The Gold Coast tourism industry must prepare now to meet this growing need with a genuine commitment,” said Mr Winter.

“Gold Coast Tourism has also created a page dedicated to Accessible Gold Coast on visitgoldcoast.com and we are actively seeking more information from members on their accessible accommodation and visitor attractions.”

Mayor Tate said he encouraged all Gold Coast businesses to take action to make their business more accessible and inclusive.

“As the host of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, now is the time to ensure the Gold Coast is perfectly placed to welcome visitors of all ages and abilities.”

GOLDOC Chief Executive Officer Mark Peters said the elimination of barriers, physical or otherwise, would be the key to a safe and independent Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games experience.

“We will deliver a comparable and equitable Games experience to anyone who has an accessibility need at our sporting venues and celebration sites,” Mr Peters said.

“And with the largest-ever para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history, ours will be an event that welcomes participation on and off the field of play by people of all abilities,” he said.