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Top UK attractions falling short on disabled access: report

by Jak Phillips | 18 Aug 2014

A survey of the UK’s top attractions has thrown up a number of concerns regarding accessibility, prompting the minister for disabled people to call for a collective raising of standards.

Disability charity Vitalise contacted the UK’s top 100 attractions – based on visitor statistics from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – to gauge how well people with disabilities are accommodated across the UK’s top sites. Of the 52 attractions which responded, the survey found:

• 63 per cent of attractions said they were not fully wheelchair accessible

• Of the 27 venues that charged for entry, 44 per cent offered no discount at all for disabled people• Hoists were available in 19 per cent of places, a facility which Vitalise describe as "an indispensable item for some disabled guests"

• 25 per cent did not have fully accessible approaches to their doors, including from parking areas• 13 per cent of Britain's most popular tourist attractions said all their staff had disability awareness training

• 26 per cent of attractions did not have accessibility information available on their websites

The results prompted minister for disabled people Mark Harper to urge attractions to up their game, also pointing out that businesses "were missing a trick" from a financial perspective by not being fully accessible.

"Everyone needs and deserves to enjoy a summer holiday – and people with disabilities are no exception. I'm calling on everyone in the British tourist industry to look at what more they can do to better cater for disabled travellers," said Harper.

"There are eleven million people with a disability in Britain and they have a combined spending power of £80bn.

"Britain is also visited by 32m people from abroad every year. So, as part of our long-term economic plan, improving the accessibility of hotels and self-catering apartments and tourist attractions for disabled travellers is a no-brainer."

Vitalise’s chief executive Chris Simmonds said that the findings show Britain's tourist attractions are “not taking accessibility seriously,” adding that for many sites, the issue is equally about being able to provide clearer information of what the attraction can offer.

“Venues need to work just as hard on how they communicate essential accessibility information to people with disabilities,” said Simmonds. “Our own research shows two thirds of disabled people decide against visiting attractions because of a lack of clear information about how accessible it is.”

A survey of the UK’s top attractions has thrown up a number of concerns regarding accessibility, prompting the minister for disabled people to call for a collective raising of standards. Disability charity Vitalise contacted the UK’s top 100 attractions – based on visitor statistics from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – to gauge how well people with disabilities are accommodated across the UK’s top sites. Of the 52 attractions
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Mark Harper has urged UK attractions operators to improve provisions for disabled people / UK Home Office
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