Tourism operators are being given a helping hand to improve accessibility, with $9 million in grants up for grabs.
They can apply for a share of $8 million in Accessible Tourism Infrastructure grants of between $25,000 and $500,000 that will support small to medium-sized tourism and events businesses to improve accessibility through infrastructure upgrades, assistive equipment and technology.
There is also $1 million in new Accessible Tourism Enablers grants available, providing $50,000-$250,000 to support not-for-profit disability services organisations to make products that make visitor experiences more inclusive.
Tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe says the grants will support upgrades of accessible visitor infrastructure and technology.
|“More and more people with a disability and their families are looking for travel options that can cater to their needs,” Mr Hinchliffe says.|
“We want this year to be the transformation that creates an enduring legacy for Queensland as an inclusive, world-class visitor destination.
“Queensland’s great lifestyle and world-class visitor experiences are too good not to be enjoyed by everyone.”
The new grants are part of the State Government’s $12 million investment in the 2023 Year of Accessible Tourism, which is an opportunity to demonstrate Queensland’s commitment to making Brisbane 2032 the world’s most accessible and inclusive sporting event.
The strategy recognises the untapped potential surrounding accessible tourism of $735 million a year or $1.8 billion a year when including the travel party.
Breaking down barriers
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser says ability shouldn’t be a barrier to travel.
“With one in five Australians identifying as living with a disability or specific accessibility requirements, we’re committed to improving Queensland’s visitor offerings and to making our state a world-leader in accessibility,” Mr Fraser says.
“Tourism businesses are often the first port of call when visitors come to stay and play.
|“What better way to build a more welcoming and inclusive Queensland than through our accessible guest experiences.”|
Queensland’s Year of Accessible Tourism kicked off with the release of a free online accessible tourism toolkit developed by Get Skilled Access (GSA) and TravAbility in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport.
As part of the project, GSA and TravAbility worked with Regional Tourism Organisations in Greater Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Fraser Coast, Townsville, Outback Queensland and Cairns to assess tourist infrastructure accessibility and tourism business capability.
Get Skilled Access principal consultant Zack Alcott says the state’s commitment to accessible tourism is industry-leading and will improve travel experiences and opportunities to take part in tourism activities for people with a disability.
“To be accessible means providing products and services in a way that ensures people of all abilities can visit and experience your business – whether it is a tourism experience or any other business, and that they feel welcomed as guests with equity and dignity,” Mr Alcott says.
Find out more here.
Businesses in the Moreton Bay Region can also access support to make their premises more accessible for visitors and employees through a free pilot program run by Spinal Life Australia.
The EnABLED Business program provides one-on-one mentoring to businesses and disability awareness training, as well as connections to potential employees with a disability. Click here to learn more.
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