Tourists with dis­abil­i­ties in SW spot­light

South Western Times - - News - Emily Ace

The flood­gates were opened at Maker + Co on Mon­day, as ideas on how to make the re­gion more ap­peal­ing to tourists with dis­abil­i­ties flowed.

The com­mu­nity chal­lenge, which co­in­cided with the In­ter­na­tional Day of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­ity, pro­duced two win­ning ideas ac­cord­ing to the judges.

One was an app “Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Eats” which would col­late menus from restau­rants and pho­to­graphs of dishes for peo­ple with reading dif­fi­cul­ties.

It would also in­clude pro­vi­sions for the menu to be read aloud and would in­clude in­for­ma­tion for peo­ple with food in­tol­er­ances be­fore en­ter­ing the venue.

The sec­ond win­ner was also an app, which al­lows users to de­velop a profile of their pref­er­ences and needs which could be sent to ac­com­mo­da­tion providers ahead of their visit.

Edith Cowan Univer­sity South West PhD can­di­date Adam John­son said the event which was at­tended by a cross-sec­tion of the com­mu­nity was a “con­ver­sa­tion starter” for the re­gion.

“It was a chance to re­ally start look­ing at how we can make the South West the des­ti­na­tion of choice for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and tap into that mar­ket,” he said.

“It is re­ally now about do­ing more work around that and to de­velop good ideas into re­al­is­tic work­able projects.

“Ob­vi­ously it is not the whole pic­ture . . . but we are very pleased with the com­mu­nity re­sponse.

“Peo­ple that couldn’t get there were writ­ing to us say­ing how im­por­tant it was to them.”

For­rest Per­son­nel chief ex­ec­u­tive Anna Bagshaw said there was a “big mar­ket” for peo­ple with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties which was not yet catered for. “I think it is a new mar­ket, but it is also about ex­tend­ing the mar­ket that is al­ready there, so I think there are lots of pos­si­bil­i­ties,” she said.

Aus­tralia’s South West mem­ber­ship and ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer Anita Hurst said ac­ces­si­bil­ity al­lowed vis­i­tors to feel in­cluded in all as­pects of the tourism ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

ECU South West PhD can­di­date Adam John­son and Aus­tralia's South West mem­ber­ship of­fi­cer Anita Hurst.

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