15 January 2015

Minister recognises Brighton & Hove's efforts to improve access for all

Photocall & interviews


What: Minister for Sports and Tourism, Helen Grant will meet with some of the businesses involved in VisitEngland’s Access for All pilot, along with representatives from VisitBrighton and the FED Centre for Independent Living.  Stephanie Powell, Brighton & Hove City Council’s disability champion, Ross Calladine, VisitEngland’s Head of Business Support and Helen Grant will be available for pre-arranged interviews; please contact the press office beforehand to make arrangements.


When: Monday 19 January 2015 @ 12.15 – 1.15pm

Where: Sea Life Centre, Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TB

More information: Please contact the press office in advance if you are planning to attend or you may not be able to access the area.

Minister for Sports and Tourism Helen Grant is visiting Brighton on 19 January 2015 to see how the city’s tourism businesses are improving accessibility for disabled visitors.  Brighton & Hove is one of a number of destinations involved in an Access for All project, led by national tourism body VisitEngland, to promote England as a leading destination for accessible tourism.

The first stage of VisitEngland’s Access for All project included a campaign which ran in March 2014, funded in part by £100,000 from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. As part of this 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 pinpoint 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, took part in the Access for All pilot programme. 

Primary audits looked at ease of 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. 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 specially produced mini-guide designed to highlight the accessible facilities they provide as well as the breadth of tourism experiences available Brighton & Hove.

The next stage of VisitEngland’s Access for All project will be part funded by a grant of €125,000 from the European Commission and aims to build on this work to showcase the great accessible experiences on offer across a number of destinations and encourage more people to take a short break in England. Brighton & Hove is one of seven destinations taking part in this next stage.

Research by VisitEngland shows the overnight accessible tourism market is worth £3billion to the England economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.4billion.  Over the past 4 years overnight trips by disabled travellers and their companions have increased by 19% with spend up by 33%*.

Helen Grant, Minister for Sports and Tourism, said: "It is brilliant Brighton is improving its tourism offer in a bid to ensure that it is accessible for all.  Disabled people and their families can be confident taking a trip to one of our most popular seaside destinations, safe in the knowledge that they will be well looked after. It's important that with visitors coming to the UK in record numbers we are ready to give a great welcome to every tourist and Brighton is doing just that."

Geoffrey Bowden, chair of BHCC’s Economic Development & Culture Committee, adds: “This campaign is an opportunity 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 than can 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.”

Notes for editors

About VisitBrighton

VisitBrighton is the official destination marketing body for Brighton & Hove and it is part of the city council. VisitBrighton.com was established to provide tourists with details of where to stay, what to see and where to visit during their stay. The website also provides exclusive offers and discounted rates on attractions, entertainment and accommodation.

City Offers, downloadable factsheets about accessible places to stay and visit, together with 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

Business partners involved in VisitEngland’s ‘Access for All’ project pilot project were: Jurys Inn Hotel, Brighton Thistle Hotel, Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel, Royal Pavilion, Hove Museum, Brighton Museum, and Preston Manor.

New business partners for the next stage of VisitEngland’s Access for All project funded by A European Commission Grant are: Brighton and Hove Buses, Old Ship Hotel, Brighton Dome, Brighton Centre, Sea Life Centre and Churchill Square Shopping Centre. 

*Trips refer to trip groups where a member of the party has an impairment.

For more information and to view the full infographic on the Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England see http://www.visitengland.org/busdev/bussupport/access/buscase/index.aspx

In 2013, 14% of all domestic overnight trips included someone with a health condition or impairment – a total of 14 million trips worth £2.7 billion (Great Britain Tourism Survey, 2013). In 2010, 2% of inbound trips to England included someone with a health condition or impairment - a total of 0.6 million trips worth £0.3 billion (International Passenger Survey 2010).

VisitEngland provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs, available at www.visitengland.org/access - including: 

Access Statements – A free online tool allowing businesses to create a description of their premises, to inform people with access needs. 

VisitEngland also provides tourism information for people with physical and sensory needs at www.visitengland.com/accessforall


About the European Commission Grant:

In July 2014, VisitEngland’s application to the grant programme in the framework of the Preparatory Action, “Tourism and Accessibility for All” was approved by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.  €125,000 was awarded to the “Access for All” project over an 18-month period up to 31 March 2016 aimed at the design, implementation, promotion and marketing of accessible tourism guides.

VisitEngland is one of seven successful project applicants, including other organisations from Germany, Italy and Spain.

Link to the accessible tourism webpage on the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry website: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/accessibility/index_en.htm

A copy of the booklet in PDF, ‘Guide on EU Funding 2014-2020 for the Tourism Sector’ published by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, October 2014 may be downloaded at: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/7203?locale=en

The sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein

VisitEngland’s local destination partners for this stage of the project are:

  • Visit Kent
  • Visit Birmingham
  • Visit Lincoln
  • Visit Northumberland
  • Visit Peak District and Derbyshire
  • Experience Nottinghamshire
  • VisitBrighton

Destinations involved in VisitEngland’s pilot ‘Access for All’ project included Bath, Leicestershire, NewcastleGateshead and Brighton & Hove.

About VisitEngland

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.

England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.

For corporate information see www.visitengland.org and for consumer information see www.visitengland.com