Tropical North Queensland takes firm steps towards accessible tourism

Travellers with mobility impairment will now discover greater ease in planning their trip to Tropical North Queensland, now that an Accessibility Hub has been added to the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef destination website.

The Accessibility Hub lists experiences and accommodation that are accessible to all travellers.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is an accessible tourism experience (photo by Dane Cross, Spinal Life Australia)

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the team had worked closely with Spinal Life Australia and Out There Travel Care to put together content showcasing accessible products, such as wheelchair-friendly beaches and rainforest boardwalks that are wheelchair-friendly.

“People needing to consider accessibility can now easily find accommodation options from specialised providers like Spinal Life’s Healthy Living Centre which has personal support workers, to traditional hotels with accessible rooms such as the Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort,” Olsen added.

Disabled Mission Beach journalist Imogen Kars has trialled a selection of accessible accommodation and tours, and has produced a series of blogs on travel options in Cairns, Palm Cove, the Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands.

The launch of the Accessibility Hub coincided with a Making Tourism More Accessible Workshop at the Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre. The event was attended by operators keen on learning about opportunities in the accessible tourism market, accessing business case studies, and hearing from people with physical disabilities about what they are looking for in a destination

Senior advisor access and advocacy for Spinal Life Australia, Dane Cross, said the accessible tourism market represented a largely untapped opportunity for tourism operators.

‘It’s been great to work with Tourism Tropical North Queensland on this project – and in our view, this is the best accessibility information available for any region in Australia,” said Cross.

‘Often, tourism operators don’t know where to begin on their journey towards better accessibility – this workshop enables people to ask simple questions and find out more about where to begin. We’d love to help tourism operators understand how to be more accessible and to secure a larger part of this market.”

Olsen said accessible tourism had enormous potential and could be woven into many existing tourism offerings.

“Research by Tourism Australia has shown that accessible tourism can be a game changer for destinations that will assist with post-pandemic recovery by building industry resilience,” Olsen stated.

“Treating accessibility as a competitive advantage that improves customer service and enhances quality of life for all is the key to tapping into the ageing, but still adventurous, Baby Boomers who have the time and resources to travel.”

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