A new online training programme has been developed to help hotels, tourist attractions, pubs and restaurants based in Scotland welcome all visitors to the country during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The £45,000 programme will provide the training needed to help cater for people with access needs, including those with physical, sensory or learning disabilities, elderly visitors and parents with small children.
Fergus Ewing, minister for Tourism, launched the first phase of the e-learning ‘Accessible Tourism Course’ on Monday (June 23rd), during his visit to the the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow. It is hoped the training will make sure all visitors to the event receive a “world-class welcome”.
The online training is available to all Scottish businesses free of charge.
Mr Ewing said: “Everyone should have the chance to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer. This new online training programme will ensure we are fit for purpose and have services available that can accommodate all visitors to our country.
“Improving accessibility has real potential to help achieve tourism industry growth ambitions and boost the wider economy, as well as enhancing social equalities.”
The Accessible Tourism Course promotes good practice and should provide all users with a better understanding of the requirements of those with access needs. The training is split into four categories - accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants and catering - which means each business owner will understand the requirements some of their visitors may need.
According to VisitScotland, the accessible tourism market has recently been valued at more than £370 million - an increase of £37 million since 2009 - and the sector continues to grow.
Chris McCoy, VisitScotland Accessible Tourism Scotland project manager, described 2014 as the year the country welcomes the world and he believes the online training will ensure each visitor will get the “the same warm Scottish welcome.” He believes the biggest barriers facing those with access needs, such as poor customer service and a lack of information, are addressed in the new e-learning programme.
He added: “We hope through innovative online tools such as this, we can position Scotland as a country with world-class accessible tourism facilities, offering more choice as well as excellent customer service.”