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Victora Accessible Tourism Plan 2007 2010

Victora Accessible Tourism Plan 2007 2010

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Victora Accessible Tourism Plan 2007  2010 Victora Accessible Tourism Plan 2007 2010 Document Transcript

  • Victorian Accessible Tourism Plan 2007-2010 1
  • Victorian Accessible Tourism Plan 2007-2010 THIS DOCUMENT This document is a draft of the Victorian Accessible Tourism Plan. Material collected in course of consultations is available in a separate report Appendix 1, Literature Reviewed and Consultation Findings. KNOWLEDGEMENTS Accessible Tourism steering committee • Paul Albone – Tourism Victoria • Jacqueline Barsenbach – Tourism Victoria • Kaaren Smethurst – RuralAccess • Jane Trengove – Victorian Network on Recreation and Disability (VICNORD) • Vilma Svab – Yooralla • Beth Johnston – MetroAccess • Deb Humphris – Action for Community Living • Jodie Willmer – Tourism Alliance Victoria • Judith Geraghty - VICNORD Accessible Tourism reference group • Tony Clarke – National Information Library Service • Neil Stenhouse – AAA Tourism • Vickie Feretopoulos – City of Melbourne • Andrew Paxton – Parks Victoria • Grant Roberts – Victorian Council of Deaf People Front Cover: Nillahcootie Estate - accessible winery & restaurant near Lake Nillahcootie 2
  • Table of Contents Accessible Tourism Plan ........................................1 Accessible Tourism steering committee ................................... 2 Accessible Tourism reference group ........................................ 2 1 Executive summary............................................4 2 Introduction ......................................................6 2.1 Background................................................................. 6 2.2 Purpose ...................................................................... 6 2.3 The industry................................................................... 7 5.1 The market ................................................................. 7 2.5 Process ......................................................................... 7 2.6 Accessible tourism: Core values and principles ................. 8 2.7 Policy context .............................................................. 8 Disability Discrimination Act 1992 - sect 3 .................................. 10 3 Accessible Tourism market research ................ 12 3.1 Total overnight visitors ................................................ 12 3.2 Profile of visitors ......................................................... 12 3.3 Constraints/barriers to travel ........................................ 13 3.4 Travel behaviour ......................................................... 14 3.5 Implications ............................................................... 15 4 Findings by sector............................................ 17 4.1 Background................................................................ 17 4.2 Information ................................................................ 17 4.3 Accommodation .......................................................... 18 4.4 Transport................................................................... 20 4.5 Events and attractions ................................................. 21 4.6 Food and wine ............................................................ 22 5 Summary of key issues ............................................ 24 5.1 Communication........................................................... 24 5.2 Training ..................................................................... 24 5.3 Infrastructure ............................................................. 24 5.4 Support Services......................................................... 24 6 Goals and priorities.......................................... 25 6.1 Goals ..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. 7 The Action Plan................................................ 26 3
  • 1 Executive summary The Victorian Accessible Tourism Plan 2007-2010 sets the strategic direction for the tourism industry to ensure that it provides tourism product that caters for all potential customers, including those customers who have a disability. People with a disability make up 20 per cent of the population, but only about 10 per cent of tourists. People with a disability have a disposable income and are an untapped market and therefore present an opportunity for the tourism industry. People with a disability want to join in ‘mainstream’ activities as independently as possible, so by catering for visitors who have specific access requirements operators will also gain the business of associated family and friends with whom they may choose to travel. Not only does accessible tourism make good business sense, it is also a legal requirement for all service providers enshrined in legislation in the form of the Federal Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act (1984). This makes it the responsibility of all businesses to provide a service that does not discriminate against people on the basis of their disability. This project was initiated by the State Accessible Tourism Reference Group, which is a chaired by Tourism Victoria and includes members from both the tourism and disability sectors. The plan has been developed with funding from the State Disability Plan Innovation Grants Program, Disability Services (Department of Human Services) and supported by the Tourism Victoria Industry Development Group. The Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012 suggests that by 2012 Victoria will be a stronger and more inclusive community – a place were diversity is embraced and celebrated, where everyone has the same opportunities to participate in the life of the community, and all citizens of Victoria have the same responsibilities towards their society. This plan is a step towards achieving this outcome in a tourism context, and to assist people with a disability who face barriers to travel. Broadly speaking, these barriers fall into three main areas: • Sourcing accurate information on available accessible tourism product. • Gaps in available accessible tourism product and/or inaccurate data on the level of access offered. 4
  • • Levels of knowledge by tourism operators about potential requirements of people with disabilities. The plan seeks to address each of these key areas by: • Raising awareness and understanding of accessible tourism, the responsibilities of operators, and practical ways to build this into tourism business plans and practice. • Identifying and marketing accurately what is accessible currently. • Looking at all aspects of local tourism product, seeking and identifying gaps, and developing accessible offerings in all areas of the tourism experience, including transport, accommodation, activities, events, food and wine. All tastes should be catered for, and a seamless accessible tourism experience provided. • Seeking feedback from customers to continually improve the level of customer service to all customers including customers with a disability. While the development of a fully accessible tourism sector in Victoria is a long-term ideal, there are many steps that can be taken towards achieving this outcome. The most important initial step is to increase the awareness and understanding of those involved in the tourism industry at both a strategic and a ‘grass roots’ level. 5
  • 2 Introduction 2.1 Background This plan is intended to assist the tourism industry, disability and government sectors to address issues of accessible opportunities for visitors with a disability. The following paragraph is an example of accessible tourism: A family including a couple and two children are planning their annual holiday. The family seeks out a holiday experience that suits all their needs both as a family unit and as individuals. This includes accommodation that is within their budget; activities that appeal to all family members; enjoyable, affordable dining options; and the ability to travel easily to and from as well as around the destination. In this instance, one family member uses a wheelchair. For this family of four to have an enjoyable holiday experience and spend their holiday budget in a particular area, the experiences they select must also offer wheelchair access. This access must be available to and within the accommodation venue, and at every activity in which any members of the family may choose to participate during their stay – including dining options. Accurate knowledge about this level of access is required at the early stages of planning the holiday to enable the family to select an experience that will be enjoyable as well as possible. Tourism product such as this is called ‘accessible tourism’. It is inclusive of every customer’s needs and, rather than being a small niche market, should be part of every market offering. In Australia and overseas there are thousands of potential visitors who fall under the broad term of ‘customers with a disability’. People with a disability make up 20 per cent of the Australian population and cross all the demographic groups, niche markets and budgets, from families to professional couples, and grey nomads to gay and lesbian visitors. People with a disability have the same broad tastes as any group in the population and enjoy nature or adventure activities, fine dining, music, arts and any other tourism experiences on offer. 2.2 Purpose The purpose of this project is to develop a range of strategies to assist the tourism industry by: • identifying the issues associated with providing tourism services to people with a disability 6
  • • reflecting the views of a range of stakeholders acquired through a consultation process • encouraging discussion, offering advice and developing strategies for: o accreditation o education and awareness o marketing/communication. 2.3 The industry Victoria’s relatively compact geography makes it possible for visitors to easily experience a range of accessible product throughout the State1. Although Victoria has a number of flagship tourist attractions, a large proportion of Victoria’s tourism industry is made up of micro- and small businesses that employ fewer than five people2. It makes good business sense to expand their markets to include visitors with a disability. 5.1 The market Approximately 20 per cent of the Australian population has some form of a disability, and most travel with friends and family3. INTRODUCTION The tourism industry is worth an estimated $10.6 billion to the Victorian economy and accounts for almost 155,000 jobs4. Calculations based on an average spend of $68 per night (19985) put the value of visitors with a disability to the Victorian economy at $272 million per annum or $1.2 billion across Australia6. The effect of exclusion, poor service or bad experiences may be significant. Therefore improving access and inclusion for this sector of the market makes good economic sense, as well as meeting legislative requirements. 2.5 Process As part of this project a wide range of stakeholders were interviewed by telephone. These included Tourism Victoria staff, people with disabilities and tourism business operators. Two workshops were also held – one for disability sector representatives and the other for tourism stakeholders. A literature review and analysis of existing plans was also conducted. 1 Victoria’s Tourism Industry Strategic Plan 2002-2006 2 Victoria’s Adventure Tourism Action Plan, 2002-2004. 3 Based on the 446.0 Disability, 2004 , ABS, and the National Visitors Survey 2003 4 Victoria’s Tourism Industry Strategic Plan 2002-2006 7
  • 5Anxiety to Access, Simon Darcy, 1998, Tourism NSW 6The average spend per night for all travellers was $133 per night in 2002. Source: Visitor Reports, 2002, BTR 2.6 Accessible tourism: Core values and principles Accessibility is a concept relevant to more than just infrastructure; it also relates to attitude, awareness, language, services, and information. As a result, access is provided to a diverse community including all societal groups regardless of gender, race, ability or sexuality. ‘…mainstream products and services that are accessible to and usable by as many people as reasonably possible, in a wide variety of situations and to the greatest extent possible without the need for special adaptation or specialised design.’7 As an industry we can embrace the growing market of people with different abilities, backgrounds and characteristics, and promote the concept of accessibility for all. Definitions: • Accessibility: a way of encompassing the needs of people with a broad range of disabilities, including physical, intellectual, and sensory or communication impairments. Not limited to wheelchair access. • Accessible: conforming at least to all current access codes and standards cited in them, such as the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and access standards (eg Standards Australia). • Accessible design: can be embraced in all service provision and in all premises and settings. • Assisted access: A person with a disability should not face discrimination if they need a carer with them in order to access a service, eg to assist with mobility or personal care. • Accessible messages: In devising marketing and communication strategies, accessibility information should be included in existing brochures, trade shows conferences, accreditation processes, websites, industry development forums, and assessment and training processes. 2.7 Policy context There are a number of legislative acts and regulatory standards in place to protect people with a disability from discrimination. In relation to accessible tourism, the cornerstone legislation and relevant plans are detailed below (see also accompanying Appendix 1, Literature Reviewed and Consultation Findings). 8
  • 7 Access-Ability- Guidelines for Accessibility Technology, John Gill, 2004 Victoria's Tourism Industry Strategic Plan 2002-2006 The plan outlines key strategic directions for Victoria's tourism industry for the next 5 years. New directions include: ‘…communicating the value of tourism, accelerating the development of regional tourism with a focus on key destinations and attractions, targeting international growth markets such as China and placing a greater emphasis on visitor satisfaction.' The strategy will contribute to social cohesion and environmental sustainability. Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012 Launched by the Victorian Government in 2002, this plan states: ‘The Victorian Government’s vision for the future is that: By 2012, Victoria will be a stronger and more inclusive community – a place where diversity is embraced and celebrated, and where everyone has the same opportunities to participate in the life of the community, and the same responsibilities towards society as all other citizens of Victoria.’ Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012, 2002 Disability Services Division, Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne, p. 7 Developed with a human rights framework, the vision is underpinned by four guiding principles and values: • the principle of equality • the principle of dignity and self determination (choice) • the principle of diversity • the principle of non-discrimination. (DHS p. 9) INTRODUCTION Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) The Disability Discrimination Act deals with access to employment, education, premises, goods and services, transport and recreation. The act focuses on outcomes rather than specifications. The objects of this act are: a to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against persons on the ground of disability in the areas of: i work, accommodation, education, access to premises, ii clubs and sport; and iii the provision of goods, facilities, services and land; and iv existing laws; and 9
  • v the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs; and b to ensure, as far as practicable, that persons with disabilities have the same rights to equality before the law as the rest of the community; and c to promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle that persons with disabilities have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community. Disability Discrimination Act 1992 - sect 3 The DDA is not a standard and does not only refer to technical aspects in the built environment. Management, staff and personnel are obliged under the act to provide goods and services to people with a disability without prejudice or assumptions on that person’s capacity to participate. The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1984 The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act deals with direct or indirect discrimination against individuals on the basis of their disability in the following areas: • employment • education • the provision of goods and services • accommodation • access to clubs • sporting activities • government activities. Building Code of Australia (BCA) The Building Code of Australia is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia. It covers buildings designed for a wide variety of uses and includes provisions for access and mobility. In addition to provisions included in the BCA, the BCA references selected Australian standards to further explain specific requirements. In the area of access and mobility for people with disabilities, the key referenced standards are AS1428.1 (2001) and AS1428.2. It should be noted that compliance with the BCA including these standards will not necessarily ensure compliance with the DDA. 10
  • AS1428.1 is currently under review to bring it more closely into line with the DDA. For additional policies and legislation relevant here, refer to Appendix 1, Literature Reviewed and Consultation Findings. 11
  • 3 Accessible Tourism market research Travellers with special access needs is a growing market that is not being fully explored by the tourism industry. While people with a disability make up 20 per cent of the Australian population, this percentage increases in older age groups. Thus, as Australia’s population is aging and a greater number of older people are wishing to travel, the accessible tourism market is a growing one. In NSW in 2001 it was estimated that individuals with a disability in Australia generated 29.8 million visitor nights, and generated $472 million for the tourism industry. The market is surprisingly large, as people with a disability match other visitors in dollars spent. The 2003 National Tourism Survey reported the following numbers: 3.1 Total overnight visitors • 7.4 million (or 10 per cent) of all domestic overnight visitors to and within Australia had a disability. • 1.8 million (or 10 per cent) of all domestic overnight visitors to and within Victoria had a disability. 3.2 Profile of visitors Disability Type Of all domestic overnight visitors to Victoria with a disability: • 44 per cent indicated that they had conditions that included arthritis, asthma, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia • 21 per cent had mobility restrictions • 20 per cent had limited use of their arms, fingers, legs or feet. Table 1. Visitors with a disability (by long-term health condition) Disability type/Long term health condition Australia Victoria Arthritis, asthma, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, 44% 44% dementia or other long term condition Mobility restrictions – requiring use of mobility aids 16% 21% Other disability or heath related condition 12% 15% Limited use of arms, fingers, legs or feet 14% 20% ES Age Group • Domestic overnight visitors with a disability to Victoria were mostly 45-64 years (44 per cent) and 65+ years (25 per cent). 12
  • Table 2. Visitors with a disability by age group (%) Visitors with a All visitors to Age Group disability Victoria 15-24 years 8% 17% 25-44 years 23% 39% 45-64 years 44% 33% 65 years or over 25% 11% Lifecycle stage • Domestic overnight visitors to Victoria with a disability tended to be in the older, non-working (42 per cent), parent (21 per cent) and single/no children (14 per cent) lifecycle groups. Table 3. Visitors with a disability by lifecycle stage (%) Lifecycle Visitors with a All visitors to disability Victoria Single without children 14% 22% Couple without children 8% 14% Parents 21% 34% Older working 15% 14% Older non-Working 42% 16% Implication of trends related to age The rate of disability increases with age, from 4 per cent for people aged less than four years to 84 per cent for those aged 85 years and over. Disability rates are markedly higher for men than for women8. The proportion of people with a disability in the population is increasing: from 15 per cent in 1981 to 19 per cent in 1998. Based on those figures, in 2021 that will equate to approximately 1,018,400 people in Victoria and 589,500 in Melbourne alone. The National Ageing Statistics Unit (NASU) indicates that by 2051 about 25 per cent of Australians will be 65 years and over compared to 12 per cent in 1997. In other words, the size of this market is increasing. While we know that the proportion of people with a disability increases significantly with age – and the statistics indicate that the majority of visitors with a disability are in the older age groups - attractions and events should not skew their products and services or their design and development decisions towards this sector alone; a substantial market exists within the younger population. 8 Australian Bureau of Statistics. Publication 446.0 Disability, Australia 06/05/2004) 3.3 Constraints/barriers to travel • Of all domestic overnight visitors with a disability, 24 per cent indicated that they experienced constraints or barriers to travel. 13
  • • Of all domestic overnight visitors with disability to and within Victoria, 27 per cent indicated that their condition was a constraint or barrier. • Domestic overnight visitors with a disability to Victoria indicated that the most common constraints or barriers to their travel and tourism experiences were: o lack of accurate details about access (85 per cent) o general lack of access at tourist destinations (61 per cent) and o lack of accessible public transport (54 per cent) o seating issues (38 per cent). The lack of access to accurate information was a constraint for a much higher proportion of visitors with a disability for Victoria, than for Australia as whole. Table 4. Visitors with a disability by Constraints (%) Constraints/barriers to travel Visitors with a All visitors to disability Victoria Information provision 85% 45% (lack of accurate access details) Transport or tours 38% 20% (seating issues) Destination experience (general lack of access at tourist 61% 27% destinations) Transport or tours 30% 54% (lack of accessible public transport) 3.4 Travel behaviour Purpose of visit There is a slightly lower percentage of visitors with a disability travelling for business purposes, but a higher proportion travelling to visit friends and relatives (than for all visitors to Victoria). Table 5. Visitors with a disability by purpose of visit (%) Purpose of visit Visitors with a All Visitors to disability Victoria Holiday or leisure 42% 43% Visiting friends and relatives 42% 37% Business 11% 16% Other 5% 4% KEY ISSUES Travel party The majority of domestic overnight visitors to Victoria with a disability travelled: 14
  • • as part of an adult couple (33 per cent) • alone (29 per cent) • with friends or relatives (21 per cent). Table 6. Visitors with a disability by type of travel party (%) Travel Party Visitors with a All visitors to disability Victoria Travelling alone 29% 25% Adult couple 33% 28% Family group – parents and children 12% 18% Friends or relatives 21% 23% Other 4% 5% Accommodation (% of nights) Of all domestic visitor nights in Victoria spent by those with a disability: • 49 per cent were spent with friends or relatives and • 18 per cent at a hotel, motel or resort. Table 7. Visitors with a disability by accommodation type (%) Accommodation Visitors with a All visitors to disability Victoria Hotel, resort, motel or motor inn 18% 30% Caravan park or commercial camping 10% 8% ground Friends or relatives property 49% 44% Other 23% 17% 3.5 Implications Potential market While there is no significant difference in the proportion of visitors with a disability and all visitors staying with friends and relatives, there are significantly fewer numbers of people with a disability staying in hotels, resorts, motel or motor inns, compared to all visitors to Victoria. Possible reasons may include fewer options for assistance, cost, inaccessible premises or perceived difficulties in accessing information about these premises and what they offer. This issue may be useful to explore further. If only 10 per cent of visitors have a disability, and up to 20 per cent of the population has a disability, many people with a disability are not travelling. Therefore, it can be assumed that there may also be opportunities to increase the proportion of people with a disability travelling to Victoria’s tourism destinations. If more than 50 per cent of people with a disability who travel are doing so as a couple or group, care must be taken to ensure they 15
  • can do things with other group members, such as being seated at the same table, in the same row at a venue as their friends, accommodated in the same room as their partner etc. Access to information Information was considered a constraint or barrier for 85 per cent of visitors to Victoria with a disability. This is significantly higher than for visitors to Australia as a whole. Accessible information about accessible tourism experiences should be a priority for the Victorian tourism industry if it is to compete with other states in this market. Marketing opportunities It is likely that the tourism industry has not marketed the products and services that are currently available, inclusive and accessible as a competitive advantage. Questions about disability have not been included in the National Visitor Survey since 2003. Yet research about those who travel and barriers they experience is important to continue to assist industry development, enhance visitor satisfaction and monitor progress. Sources: Please note that the latest domestic visitation data from Tourism Research Australia is for the year ending June 2004. The latest available research for accessible tourism, however, is for the year ending December 2003. More recent visitation data is not available as related questions were not included in the National Visitor Survey. Sources: • National and International Visitor Surveys, 1999-2004 • Domestic Tourism Expenditure in Australia’s regions 2001-2003, Tourism Research Australia • International Tourism Expenditure in Australia’s regions 1999, Tourism Research Australia. 16
  • 4 Findings by sector 4.1 Background To understand the issues experienced by people with a disability when travelling as well as the attitude of businesses to accessible tourism, telephone interviews were conducted with members of both disability and tourism sectors and two focus groups were held. Participants were encouraged to share their views and experiences with regards to accessible tourism, and identify difficulties and barriers as well as examples of good practices and useful resources. The resources, survey questions and focus group topics used can be viewed in Appendix 1, Literature Reviewed and Consultation Findings. Survey questions addressed the following topics: • information • accommodation • transport • events and attractions • food and wine. 4.2 Information What respondents with a disability said: • “Finding visitor information when needed it is often difficult for people with a disability.” • “There is no central point/organisation for information about accessible tourism products.” • “There is a need for information about accessible tourism product to be available in a variety of locations and alternative formats.” • “Customers wanting information about accessibility are being constantly referred on (because people in the industry don’t know where to find it).” • “It is often hard to get information about accessibility and when you get it, it often turns out to be inaccurate.” • “Visitor expectations are commonly built on poor information.” • “Being able to find an interpreter (for Auslan sign language) quickly can be difficult for conferences and the like.” • “Quick and easy identification of appropriate products is required.” • “The cost of providing a range of information (eg floor plans for all accommodation) is prohibitive.” 17
  • • “Many businesses are not aware of the standards they need to conform to, or where to go for information.” Examples of useful information about accessible tourism: • www.mansfield-mtbuller.com.au – includes descriptive information on accessible tourism product in the Mansfield and Mt Buller region • www.greatoceanroad.com.au – includes information on accessible tourism product in the Great Ocean Road region • Accessing Melbourne - http://www.easyaccessaustralia.com.au/other/accessmelb.pdf The visitor information guide to Melbourne for people with a disability • Mansfield Visitor Information Centre – has information on accessible tourism product in the Mansfield-Mt Buller region. Phone: 1800 039 049. 4.3 Accommodation What respondents with a disability said: • “Access to premises for people with mobility aids is still an issue.” • “It’s hard to get detailed information about access and whether premises meet specific needs.” • “Accessible rooms can cost more.” • “Travelling with carers (usually a home-based service) means either the need to share or the cost of separate rooms.” • “Ratings don’t work for access issues - premises are either accessible or not.” • “People have trouble getting specific equipment and personal services or care services at visitor accommodation.” • “Companion animals are not yet not protected under the Equal Opportunity Act, so places where companion animals are accepted need to be advertised and awareness increased.” What tourism business operators said: • “It’s important to be open to learn from guests – we are continuing to retrofit our premises.” 18
  • • “It’s costly to retrofit accommodation premises, especially those that are old or heritage protected.” • “Providing detailed information about accessibility for every premises and distributing it, costs money and most tourism businesses are micro businesses.” Examples of good practice in accommodation: “Buttercup Cottage, Merrijig, Victoria. Offers luxury accommodation in a rural setting at Merrijig near Mansfield. Established in 1998, the cottage has access for people with disabilities and attracts guests from all over the country and overseas to stay and enjoy the beauty of the area. Having a property that caters for everyone is terrific because the only reason we say “no” to anyone is because we are booked out – not because guests may not be able to get into the building because they just happen to use a wheel chair. The inclusion of access information on our website recently, immediately brought results, with the first guest since the data was loaded (whose mother uses a wheel chair) saying the reason she chose our property was she could actually see what we offered by looking at the detail on our website. She commented that she has often experienced property owners saying their accommodation is accessible and finding quite the opposite on arrival. She and her family stayed at our cottage for four nights.” Louise Jacob, Owner, Buttercup Cottage. http://www.weekendretreats.com.au/buttercup/ Helvita Retreat, Sheffield, Tasmania. “This is a host farm with two identical divided units that are fully accessible. Each has a bathroom with accessible toilet and shower. The extra large main room sleeps four people, has a fully equipped kitchen, 12-inch remote control colour television, wood and electric heaters. The owners can get hoists and other equipment from the Tasmanian Health Department free of charge. We would have made it our base for a week making day trips because of its location if we had realised how affordable and well it was designed”. Vince Pirrottina, Melbourne. The Devils Playground, Tasmania – a network of accessible premises across Tasmania around which people with specific access requirements can base a trip. I 19
  • SS 4.4 Transport What respondents with a disability said: • “Can’t get travel insurance for people with an existing disability.” • “You have to make bookings in advance to use public transport (eg V-line buses).” • “Access to ticketing areas is a challenge, with both physical and print barriers to getting information.” • “Little public transport and door-to-door transport of any kind in the regions, especially at non-peak times.” • “Delayed compliance deadlines for most transport (eg trams, buses, due to exemptions under the DDA).” • “The taxi industry is under pressure: in the regions there may be only one accessible taxi (also used as the maxi-taxi for groups). Institutions purchase their own accessible community transport, but there is a high cost of retrofitting vehicles and maintenance.” • “Lack of accessible fishing boats and ferries (eg Spirit of Tasmania has no accessible facilities for day passengers).” • “Airlines don’t recognise the companion card, wheelchairs are damaged in transit on domestic flights, some airlines don’t offer a service to people with a disability (Regional Express do it well), need for disability-friendly evacuation procedures.” • “Lack of accessible over-snow or four-wheel drive vehicles.” • “Lack of access to the water at most beaches.” Examples of accessible transport: Spirit of Tasmania, Melbourne, Victoria to Devonport, Tasmania “All the crew on board were very helpful and our meal that evening at 6.30pm was great. There are three lifts on board; our cabin on E deck was one of four cabins with disabled access. It had an accessible toilet and shower, two nurse call buzzers, two single beds attached to the wall and adjustable air conditioning.” Vince Pirrottina, Melbourne. Gordon River Cruise, Strahan, Tasmania. “The catamaran Wanderer 2 is accessible by electric wheelchair and if you give prior notice of your needs, they will look after you. The only drawback is that the toilets aren’t accessible.” Vince Pirrottina, Melbourne. 20
  • 4.5 Events and attractions What respondents with a disability said: • “Problematic seating configuration: isolated seating away from family and friends, and problems getting to seats.” • “Booking and ticketing can be protracted, due to limited availability of accurate information and untrained staff.” • “Small rural community groups with limited resources run wonderful events but struggle to provide access.” • “The cost of carers sometimes makes a tourism experience expensive.” • “We need more accessible nature-based product – and information about park accessibility.” • “The companion card needs to be better promoted to service providers as well as potential cardholders.” What tourism business operators said: • “The cost of retrofitting popular flagship venues is probably prohibitive.” • “Operators are not getting a return on investment for specific equipment used infrequently.” Examples of accessible events and attractions: • Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Victoria, offers seamless accessibility as the result of using an access consultant in the planning stages of the event. http://cars.grandprix.com.au/event_info/circuit_info/info_for_ people_with_a_disability • Companion Card, Victorian Government Department of Human Services – removing price discrimination for people with a disability. http://www.companioncard.org.au/cc/CCPortal/portal_index.h tm 21
  • • “Smiths Beach Access for All Community Project, Philip Island, Victoria, was first mooted in early 2001 and completed in November 2004. The Project consists of a 152-metre long switchback ramp from the beach car park viewing area onto the beach. The estimated construction costs of $85,000 were substantially reduced following generous financial donations and in-kind support from local and regional businesses and community members. Tattersalls, David’s Timber (Melbourne) and the Phillip Island Nature Park made substantial financial contributions. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE (Melbourne) third- and fourth-year building apprentices constructed the ramp. o The aim of the project was to provide access for all onto Smiths Beach, including people with physical disabilities, parents with children in prams, safety/emergency rescue services and all people challenged by negotiating steep stairs. It took two years to come to fruition, however the benefits will last for generations. o Smiths Beach was chosen because it is considered to be one of the safest surfing/family beaches on Phillip Island and its close proximity to wheelchair accessible accommodation and attractions”. Bass Coast Shire Council, Victoria RuralAccess Project Officer, Kathryn Pryor. 4.6 Food and wine What respondents with a disability said: • “Many places do not have an accessible entry or it is not the main entry and there is no sign to indicate an alternative entry.” • “Sometimes the only accessible tables are on the footpath – this is fine when the weather is good, but also means a person is unable to access the counter to place an order like other customers.” • “Many restaurants are too crowded and it is difficult to negotiate between tables with mobility aids.” • “Even accessible restaurants, hotels etc often don’t have an accessible toilet – this limits the amount of money a patron with a disability is likely to spend on drinks.” 22
  • • “80 per cent of people over the age of 40 need glasses, but most menus are unreadable by anyone who doesn’t have 20/20 vision and low lighting doesn’t help.” • “The acoustics and music make it difficult to hear. There are often no quiet corners where people with a hearing impairment can sit without a great deal of background noise.” • “People with a speech and/or mobility impairment have been mistaken for someone who is drunk and asked to leave the premises.” What tourism business operators said: • “We operate in a rented premises, this makes physical alterations difficult.” • “We have a relatively small customer base; it is just not viable to build a ramp for the occasional customer who needs it.” • “Atmosphere is really important, it is hard to cater for specific needs and maintain the ambience you have put a lot of time into creating.” • “It is really frustrating, we spent $3,000 on this ramp and it has never been used. A recent customer complained she couldn’t use the ramp because the car park surface made access difficult. We had surfaced the car park with pebbles to try to deal with the problem of mud in winter. We thought we were doing the right thing, but we just didn’t understand.” Good practice examples ……. Lake Nillahcootie Estate, Lima South, Victoria. Winery offering fine dining with fantastic views includes flat entry to dining and deck areas, fully accessible toilet – seamless enjoyment for everyone, designed and built fully accessible. The Mansfield Hotel, Mansfield, Victoria. Recent renovations have enabled full access for patrons for both indoor and courtyard dining including the bar. Country Brew Cafe, Mansfield, Victoria. Previously not accessible, the choice of ramped access to a new deck area instead of steps suggested by the Mansfield Shire Council Municipal Building Surveyor has now opened up dining for wheelchair users to both the external and internal areas which can now be accessed via the deck. 23
  • 5 Summary of key issues The common issues evident from the literature and reinforced in findings from the stakeholders interviewed for this project fall into four main categories – communication, training, infrastructure and support services. 5.1 Communication • Lack of suitable information that is accurate and available in accessible formats is a significant barrier to visitors with a disability, and therefore to business development in this area. While some regions and destinations have developed a range of information products in a systematic way, access to this information is not consistently available at the point of enquiry. • Victoria is rich in tourism destinations, but there is a lack of communication about, and marketing of, products and services that are accessible to visitors with a disability, who need to be informed on how to source information about destinations of their choice. 5.2 Training • Training programs could help to improve customer service and thus improve attitudinal and awareness problems, while improved information resources could help potential customers to find and enjoy Victoria’s existing accessible tourism experiences. 5.3 Infrastructure • Difficulties encountered by people with a disability arise from obstacles in existing infrastructure, including inaccessible premises, transport, seating, support facilities and tourism attractions, which may not comply with existing standards. 5.4 Support Services • Available attendant support services and equipment for visitors with a disability is another limitation preventing people with a disability from travelling. KE 24
  • 6 Goals and priorities Developing Victoria as an accessible destination for visitors with a disability is a long-term objective. It is recommended that we identify priorities that can be achieved in the short term, to begin the journey towards the bigger goals. Three goals have been identified for this plan. These in turn are supported by objectives and strategies. The goals target changing attitudes, practices and communication. Goal 1: Attitude To develop a greater awareness and build a positive attitude towards accessible tourism within the tourism industry in Victoria. Goal 2: Business practice To facilitate change towards more accessible and inclusive business practice by operators in all areas of the tourism industry. Goal 3: Communication/information To facilitate the provision of accurate and accessible information about tourism product, services, experiences, and destinations in Victoria. 25
  • 6 The Action Plan The Victorian Accessible Tourism Plan 2007-2010 will be implemented using an Action Plan which has been developed based on these three key goals supported by objectives and strategies that have come out of the extensive research undertaken during the development of the Plan. The Action Plan identifies a broad cross section of stakeholders as responsible partners to action the strategies. This effectively continues and extends the strong partnerships that have been formed during the development of the Plan including both those with expertise in the tourism industry as well as those who represent travellers with a disability. By ensuring continuing involvement of representatives from both these key groups, the implementation of the Plan will be most effective. 26