Inclusive tourism on the rise

A recent forum held in Parkes Shire in New South Wales discussed the growing market for tourism and travel by ageing people and those with disabilities and how councils can help.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and Parkes Shire Council hosted the forum in August.

LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the increasing demand for inclusive tourism and recreational opportunities was proving to be a significant economic driver for a wide range of communities across NSW.

“Twenty per cent of the population have a disability and of these, 88 per cent take a holiday each year,” Councillor Rhoades said.

“Visitors with disabilities are usually accompanied by carers, friends and family, which makes inclusive tourism a huge section of the travel and recreation market.

“It’s already valued at around $8 billion per year, with plenty of room for further growth.”

Cr Rhoades said many councils were already conscious of the economic potential of the inclusive tourism market, which extends beyond people with disabilities to ageing Australians and international visitors.

“Remember that 3.7 million Australians were aged over 65 in 2015, and the baby boomers who helped revolutionise tourism, travel and recreation will soon be joined by the next generation of older travellers,” he said.

“Getting older isn’t what it used to be; most retirees have not only retained their sense of adventure, but now have the time and financial security to really get out there and enjoy life.”

Forum goers heard from Trip Advisor, Destination NSW, the NSW Business Chamber and Local Government NSW and had the opportunity to network with local industry colleagues.