An accessibility hub has been added to the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef destination website to assist travelers with reduced mobility with certain activities and itineraries for their vacation in Tropical North Queensland.
On Thursday, Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) launched the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef Destination Accessibility Center during the Making Tourism More Accessible workshop at the Spinal Life Healthy Living Center.
TTNQ CEO Mark Olsen said the team worked closely with Spinal Life Australia and Out There Travel Care to create content showcasing experiences and accommodations accessible to all travellers.
“It was an educational exercise in learning about wheelchair-friendly beaches, Quicksilver’s water lift to lower people into the water so they can snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and what rainforest walks are best suited for wheelchairs,” he said.
“People who need to consider accessibility can now easily find accommodation options from specialist providers like Spinal Life’s Healthy Living Center, which has personal support workers in traditional hotels with accessible rooms such as than the Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort.
“It is encouraging to see our operators present to learn more about accessible tourism market opportunities, understand case studies of companies that have successfully entered the market and hear from people with physical disabilities about what they search in a destination.
As part of the new program, Disabled Mission Beach journalist Imogen Kars has been testing TTNQ accommodation and tours and has written a series of blogs about travel options in Cairns, Palm Cove, La Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands.
Access and Advocacy from Senior Advisors for Spinal Life Australia Dane Cross said the accessible tourism market represented a largely untapped opportunity for tourism operators.
“It has been great to work with Tourism Tropical North Queensland on this project – and in our opinion it is the best accessibility information available for any region of Australia,” he said.
“Tour operators often don’t know where to start on their journey to better accessibility – this workshop allows people to ask simple questions and know where to start.
“We would like to help tour operators understand how to be more accessible and secure a larger share of this market.”
Olsen said accessible tourism has huge potential and could be incorporated into many existing tourism offerings.
“Research from Tourism Australia has shown that accessible tourism can be a game-changer for destinations that will aid post-pandemic recovery by building industry resilience,” he said.
“Treating accessibility as a competitive advantage that improves customer service and improves everyone’s quality of life is key to tapping into aging but still adventurous baby boomers who have the time and resources to travel.” .