Brighton & Hove aims for access all areas
Brighton & Hove is one of four destinations to have been chosen to work with national tourist board VisitEngland, on its Access for All campaign aimed at championing and improving accessible tourism in England. The city was invited to take part in the initiative because of its consistent commitment to improving accessibility for visitors. Accessible tourism is estimated to be worth over £2billion a year to the domestic tourism industry, and has strong growth potential.
As part of the campaign, which is funded by £100,000 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund plus contributions from partners, the city council’s tourism arm, VisitBrighton, coordinated work to identify top class accommodation and attractions, ensure they are delivering the highest possible standard of access for visitors and to identify areas for improvement. A range of tourism experiences, including visiting the Royal Pavilion, Preston Manor and the city’s museums as well as three hotels, Thistle Brighton, Jurys Inn and Hilton Brighton Metropole, were assessed.
Primary audits looked at access to each of the hotels and attractions, including public areas and bedrooms, signage, literature and websites, to assess accessibility for wheelchair users, and hearing and visually impaired visitors. As part of the process front-line staff received training and the businesses had to work through an improvement plan to ensure all areas were as accessible as possible for disabled visitors.
The participating businesses now feature in a new local access friendly guide available in either PDF, large print Word or audio format from www.visitengland.com/access-brighton. For those who cannot access the guides online a limited number of printed copies are available from the Visitor Information Point at the Brighton Centre box office.
Offers, downloadable factsheets about accessible places to stay, visit and eat, and maps showing step-free access to the main hotels and attractions, the locations of dropped kerbs and disabled parking bays are also detailed on the VisitBrighton website www.visitbrighton.com/plan-your-visit/accessibility
Geoffrey Bowden, chair of BHCC’s Economic Development & Culture committee, said: “This campaign is a cost-effective way for us to showcase our accessible tourism businesses and attract more visits from disabled travellers and those with access needs.
“We know there’s plenty more work to be done to ensure access isn’t a barrier wherever possible but this is a step in the right direction and it’s good to know that Brighton & Hove is among the destinations leading the way.
“The aim of the work done at the hotels and attractions is to ensure that accessible rooms as well as public spaces are accessible to the highest level they can achieve. The venues that took part have invested their time and money into this important work and I hope they will now reap the rewards in terms of extra enquiries and bookings.”
BHCC’s disability champion, Stephanie Powell, adds: “I’m delighted that Brighton & Hove was asked to take part in this work. We are a popular destination for many people and we should be striving to ensure that all those with access needs, including the older generation, are not precluded from enjoying the city like anyone else.”
Notes for editors
The Access for All Campaign aims to position England as a leading destination for accessible tourism.
The campaign is funded by £100,000 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) plus contributions from partners.
The four destinations involved in the campaign are: Leicestershire, Newcastle Gateshead, Brighton and Bath
• VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors
• Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics
• For corporate information see www.visitengland.org and for consumer information see www.visitengland.com
About Growing Tourism Locally – a Regional Growth Fund Tourism Investment Project
• In October 2011 VisitEngland’s application to the Government’s Regional Growth Fund was approved by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). £19.8 million was awarded to deliver a three year partner marketing project entitled ‘Growing Tourism Locally’.
• This project aims to stimulate the domestic visitor market to grow local economies through increased tourism activity by UK residents. The project enables VisitEngland to work in partnership to facilitate growth at a local level, further amplifying the second Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign that was launched in March this year.
• The project ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ has the potential to create the equivalent of 9,100 full time jobs across England and is focussed on areas suffering economic challenges with tourism growth potential.
• The RGF funding is matched with private sector funding at national and local levels to create a project of £41million over 3 years.
About Regional Growth Fund
• The Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. So far £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth. Round 5 will open on 11 October and close on 9 December. For more information, please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf
VisitBrighton is the official destination marketing body for Brighton & Hove and is part of Brighton and Hove City Council. VisitBrighton works with over 400 partner businesses across the city including restaurants, shops, attractions and accommodation providers. VisitBrighton.com provides tourists with details of where to stay, what to see and where to visit and has exclusive offers and discounted rates on attractions, entertainment and accommodation.