VisitEngland has announced plans for a national drive to promote England as a leading destination for accessible tourism, after the European Commission granted funding for the new project.
The announcement came yesterday, to coincide with the first day of the World Travel Market, and follows new research from VisitEngland that highlighted that the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3bn to the economy.
Day visits bring the figure up to £12.4bn and over the past four years, overnight trips by disabled travellers and their partners have increased 19%, with spend up 33%.
The ‘Access for All’ project will be funded by a grant of €125,000 from the European Commission and will last for almost 2 years, from October 2014 to March 2016. VisitEngland will partner with seven destinations to develop and promote their destination for visitors with access needs. As part of this, 56 businesses will be involved in a process to improve their accessibility.
VisitEngland will also deliver a national marketing campaign which will go live in late summer/early autumn 2015 to showcase the experiences on offer for visitors with access needs, and encourage more people to take a short break in England.
James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland said: “As the national tourist board, we are committed to ensuring England is a destination that offers a warm welcome for all visitors. The Access for All project is a fantastic opportunity to continue to build England’s reputation as a leader in accessible tourism, and help grow this important and valuable market, now worth £3billion to England’s economy.”
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said: “The Access for All project will help disabled people enjoy England’s world beating tourist destinations. The tourism sector is making a significant contribution to economic growth in this country and we want to keep up that momentum by ensuring our destinations are welcoming to all.”