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Tourism Tribe research finds only one in five tourism operators are prepared for Queensland’s ‘Year of Accessible Tourism’

Tourism Tribe research finds only one in five tourism operators are prepared for Queensland’s ‘Year of Accessible Tourism’
December 7, 2022

New research from Queensland-based digital training experts Tourism Tribe has revealed that only 21% of Australian tourism operators have relevant accessibility information on their websites, despite one in five Australians living with a disability.

The Tourism Tribe Australian Tourism Digital Health Check™ assessed more than 2,000 tourism businesses from around the country to determine their level of digital competency and identify any gaps in their online presence. While the overall results show that the tourism sector has embraced technology in many ways, there are still significant gaps in capability, particularly in relation to providing information to assist customers with disabilities.

With the Queensland Government announcing last month that 2023 will be the ‘Year of Accessible Tourism’, Tourism Tribe Chief Executive Liz Ward is concerned at this gap in online information as the state prepares to welcome thousands of visitors with disabilities.

Ward explains "the results of the 2022 Australian Tourism Digital Health Check ™ were gratifying on many levels and reflect the significant work and investment that has been made in the digital space by the tourism industry as a whole. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done on improving digital capability, with businesses missing out on potential customers because they’ve neglected to take a few simple steps online. To have only one in every five tourism businesses assessed include information relevant for people with disabilities was quite disappointing, particularly in light of the government’s announcement that next year will be the Year of Accessible Tourism here in Queensland.”

Ann Bourke, owner of Jester Hill Wines in southern Queensland, added information about accessibility for people with disabilities onto the business’ website and has experienced measurable benefits.

Bourke advises "it was so easy to add extra information regarding accessibility onto the website; it was just a matter of creating a new page and link in our menu.

“We also added in some information about accessibility into our FAQs and linked that back to the accessibility page. We often get asked questions about mobility access, entryways, accessible bathrooms, and parking, as well as for information for people with vision or hearing impairments, so we included all that information on the website.

“We’ve had a number of new customers visit our winery as a direct result of having this information on the website, and all mentioned that it was great to be able to check accessibility information before visiting without having to make extra phone calls, or risk trying their luck and being disappointed. We want to make all our visitors feel welcome and included, and this is such a simple way to do that.”

Ward added “accessibility information should be one of the foundation blocks of a tourism or travel website – it is essential information for a significant proportion of your potential customers. One in five people in Australia lives with a disability, and people with disabilities spend around $8 billion on travel and tourism every year. We urge all tourism operators to prioritise adding accessibility information to their websites in time for Queensland’s Year of Accessible Tourism.”

Key results of the Tourism Tribe Australian Tourism Digital Health Check™ 2022

The good:
• 91.8% of tourism operators now have a mobile-friendly or responsive website
• 71.1% have an online booking facility
• 93.4% of tourism websites are indexed on Google

Needs improvement:
• 78.7% of tourism operators neglect to include disability-related information on their websites
• Just 15.5% of businesses include customer testimonials on their websites
• 73.3% are not including ‘destination hashtags’ when posting on social media
• 85.3% don’t use a Live Chat functionality on their website
• 73.4% don’t have their Bio set up correctly on social media profiles

For more information contact Liz Ward on 0419 578 200, E: 

Image: The wheelchair accessible Dubuji Boardwalk. Credit: Tropical Tourism North Queensland.

Related Articles

6th December 2022 - New TTF data shows rising domestic intrastate tourism spending

21st November 2022 - Sunshine Coast to host All Access Day at the Beach event

14th October 2022 - Tropical North Queensland launches online hub for accessible tourism

23rd August 2022 - Queenstown’s Marine Parade upgrade to improve access and connection

10th August 2022 - QTIC helps upskill tourism and hospitality operators

10th August 2022 - Queensland Government invests $1 million in supporting eco-certified tourism destinations

22nd February 2022 - Merlin Entertainments celebrates International Wheelchair Day with free entry to mobility device users and carers

21st October 2021 - Looking back on the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism

30th September 2021 - World Heritage Daintree National Park returned to Traditional Owners

14th January 2021 - QTIC to survey operators on insurance crisis

6th August 2020 - Cairns Regional Council purchases beach wheelchairs and mobi mats for inclusive access

11th November 2019 - Queensland Government announces 2020 as the Year of Indigenous Tourism

30th August 2019 - Popular Far North Queensland boardwalk reopens

17th December 2018 - Queensland Government declares 2019 to be the Year of Outback Tourism

11th July 2015 - Tourism Tribe targets digital economy

9th December 2014 - Floating wheelchair generating interest from Australian aquatic environments

16th August 2011 - Minister encourages accessible tourism in Far North Queensland

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