Publicado por: Ricardo Shimosakai | 19/04/2013

Disability travel: Visit Scotland host ‘Accessible Tourism’ conference

Visit Scotland Accessible Tourism ConferenceVisit Scotland Accessible Tourism Conference

Although Scotland is just getting over it’s annual Hogmanay celebrations it’s already looking towards next year. Of course, 2014 will be the year when Scotland hosts it’s second Homecoming Festival which invites people from around the world with Scottish connections to travel back ‘home’ to celebrate shared heritage and culture, not to mention the Commonwealth Games as well as Golf’s Ryder Cup.

The challenges with inviting the world are in making sure that the invitation is inclusive. Scots have a reputation for leaving nobody on the outside of the party and as Visit Scotland showed during their Accessible Tourism conference this week, that should include disabled people.

The potential for businesses that embrace inclusive travel is incredible. Indeed one of the speakers, the effervescent founder of inclusive business network, Kanchi, Caroline Casey, called it the “new green” whilst also demonstrating the impact that being an inclusive supplier has, not just on the bottom line, but on peoples’ lives too.

Visit Scotland invited delegates involved in accessible and inclusive tourism (and those just starting to learn about it) to a superb conference in Edinburgh.

Dealing with the issues surrounding disability poses deep challenges in terms of language and the way that issues are framed. Having read and written a lot about the subject myself as editor of disability lifestyle magazine, Able, I can see that it’s far easier sometimes to go around chipping bits off the grand designs of businesses and service providers who aren’t ‘perfectly’ set up to receive people with disabilities – and incidentally, nobody is ‘perfect’.

Visit Scotland came along with the attitude that it’s better to approach the subject with honesty and say the ‘wrong’ thing by accident rather than brush the matter under the carpet, saying and doing nothing at all. How refreshing to talk freely and without the burden of snide critics looking to trip up those that do of their best.

Equality and Diversity Manager of Visit Scotland, Chris McCoy led a superb variety of speakers including Shona Robison MSP and Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, David Grevemberg,

The whole conference had a really positive angle of ‘business opportunity’ rather than thrashing hoteliers and the like with legislation. It isn’t profiteering to imagine reaching an untapped marketplace of disabled people who might just need service providers to make the smallest tweak to enable them to have a rich tourism experience in Scotland – and enjoy the party.

Source: Metro Blogs

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