Unlocking the Power of Inclusivity: Transforming Tourism in East Devon

“We want to welcome everybody and make sure we don’t have any barriers to taking part in what we offer.” - Nicola Stone, Director Learning and Manager at Seaton Tramway.

Embark on a transformative journey and redefine the landscape of tourism in our region. The key to unlocking the industry's full potential lies in a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. As the heartbeat of hospitality, it is imperative to empower your staff to champion these values, ensuring every traveller feels genuinely welcome and embraced.

Changemaker Champions Seaton Tramway exemplifies this ethos.  You can find out more about their commitment to inclusivity here

Welcoming All: A Commitment to Diversity

Tourism is a celebration of people, not just destinations. Invest in inclusivity training to send a powerful message of openness and acceptance. Your staff become frontline ambassadors, ready to embrace the rich tapestry of cultures and backgrounds that compose the global tourist community. From language nuances to cultural sensitivities, a well-trained team fosters an environment where every visitor feels not just accommodated but genuinely valued. 

Changemaker Champions Alpine Park Cottages are passionate about extending a warm welcome to guests of all needs.  Read more about how their commitment to accessibility here. 

Breaking Down Barriers: The Power of Accessibility

Make your tourism offering is accessible to all by training your staff to understand and cater to diverse needs. From wheelchair accessibility to sensory considerations, a knowledgeable team ensures that every tourist can seamlessly traverse the beautiful landscapes and historical sites that East Devon has to offer. Your commitment to accessibility is not just a legal obligation; it's a promise to make the wonders of the area accessible to everyone. 

Communicate Accessibly

Thinking about how you communicate with your customers can make all the difference to accessibility.  Ensuring that communication materials like websites and printed materials are in a format that everyone can access makes a big difference to the visitor experience.  That might mean large print, plain English or BSL guides, for example.

Providing visitors with the information they need to be able to plan their stay is also important.   Developing a network of knowledge and resources can be a great investment of time which will make visitors feel particularly welcome. 

Global Standards, Local Impact

In a world where travellers seek experiences that transcend borders, inclusivity and accessibility become the global currency of hospitality. By exceeding expectations, you position your establishment as a beacon of progress. Word travels fast, and tourists are more likely to choose destinations that prioritise the comfort and well-being of every guest.

Building a Team of Advocates

Your staff are more than just employees—they are advocates for change. Inclusivity and accessibility training empower them to become champions of a more welcoming and open tourism sector. Imagine the impact when every member of your team is equipped with the knowledge and skills to turn a potential cultural barrier into a bridge of understanding.  Seaton Tramway staff undertake training in carer awareness, general dementia awareness, autism awareness and dementia awareness in their mission to ensure no one misses out on what they are offering.

Elevating the East Devon Tourism Experience

The region’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant towns have the potential to captivate hearts. Prioritize inclusivity and accessibility training for your staff to craft an experience that transcends expectations. Let's elevate the East Devon tourism experience to new heights, making it a destination where everyone is not just a guest but a cherished part of the community.

We can all do our part by educating ourselves about what our area offers for those with additional accessibility needs.   Using our local knowledge we can advocate for our area to a whole new group of customers.

Embrace the Purple Pound

The purple pound means the spending power of disabled people.  According to VisitEngland, tourism spending by people with additional access needs and those travelling with them is an estimated £14.6 million per year.   These visitors tend to stay longer, spend more and show greater customer loyalty than average.

Investing in Long-Term Success

Inclusivity and accessibility are integral components of the future of tourism. By investing in staff training today, you secure the long-term success of your establishment in a rapidly evolving industry. The economic advantages of being at the forefront of inclusivity and accessibility will pay dividends, ensuring sustained growth and relevance in the years to come.

Connecting Communities: Nurturing The Wellbeing of East Devon

Amidst the whirlwind of daily life, community connection emerges as a cornerstone for our collective wellbeing. It is more than just casual interactions—it is the pulse that synchronises our shared experiences, weaving a tapestry of support and understanding. Delve into the essence of our community with these impactful initiatives:

Become Part of the Change

Here are some practices that your business could employ to enhance inclusivity and accessibility:

  • Welcome Everyone – make welcoming everyone, regardless of need, part of your business ethos.  
  • Think Space — create sufficient space to facilitate mobility and convenience for individuals using wheelchairs.
  • Build Partnerships — collaborate with local mobility service providers to offer hiring options for equipment such as walking frames, toilet frames, wheelchairs, and mobility scooters. 
  • Fun for Everyone — include accessible alternatives in your list of local attractions and offer help in arranging visits where possible.  If you welcome visitors for experiences, think about offering guides in plain English and using British Sign Language. 
  • Be Prepared — provide training for staff where you feel there may be a skills gap.
  • Learn More — expand your understanding of accessibility and watch your customer satisfaction and loyalty grow! Partner with organisations that can help you achieve this.
  • Hire Fairly — embrace diversity in your recruitment process and guarantee that every candidate has access to the necessary accommodations and support they require.
  • Access for All — give preference to accessible parking spots, entry and exit points, and introduce level ground access, ramps lifts, and spacious doorways where necessary. Make sure that toilets are accommodating for everyone.
  • Be Considerate — maintain mindfulness regarding lighting and background music to cater to the needs of neurodiverse customers.  Think about providing quiet, reflective spaces. 
  • Visual — ensure that signage is visible and clear for all.

If you want to become part of the change, VisitEngland has produced an industry-leading toolkit for businesses, especially SMEs, wanting to improve their accessibility and inclusivity, including a wealth of resources to ensure that tourism experiences can be enjoyed by all. 

Tourism For All is a UK charity which provides online training (some of it free) and a series of short but comprehensive “how to” guides tailored to different kinds of hospitality business.