This year’s Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week will take place from 7-13 September, and we’re highlighting an important message: Accessibility equals opportunity.
Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing stories from our members on what accessibility means to them and ways local businesses can make a real difference in their communities.
It’s not just about physically being able to access venues and services – it’s about ensuring all venues and services provide comprehensive, accurate accessibility information that can be found quickly and easily.
By improving accessibility in Australia, we provide people with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities a greater opportunity to participate and contribute to their local communities.
Ensuring accessibility information is readily available also empowers people to make informed decisions about the places they visit.
Watch Carol’s story
Economic benefits for businesses
As businesses and tourism destinations recover from the impact of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to provide people with spinal cord damage the opportunity to participate in and contribute to their local communities.
With the accessible tourism market in Australia estimated to be worth $8 billion, and ongoing restrictions on air travel and border closures, there are significant opportunities for tourism operators to focus on improving their services and making more people with disability aware of their accessible tourism offerings.
Good access equals good business. Good access benefits:
- Parents or carers of young children, particularly those with strollers/prams
- Older people
- People with a disability
- Delivery workers
- Shoppers with heavy bags
- Every customer, particularly when it’s busy.
Ways to improve your services
Below are some great tips on how you can improve your services, as part of the Queensland Government’s All Abilities campaign:
- Have a lower section of the reception desk to make it easy for people using wheelchairs to talk with staff when entering your office.
- Check the access to your building – is there a clear path to the entry, is the door and hall way wide enough for a wheelchair, is there enough circulation space in waiting rooms for a person using a mobility aid to easily turn around?
- Is there an accessible bathroom in your building?
- Think about the music being played when customers are on hold, or while they are waiting in reception areas. Loud music can overstimulate some people, and create an unpleasant environment for older people or families with young children.
- Ensure information about your service is available in multiple formats (for instance, in accessible formats on line and in Easy English versions in print) as well as multiple languages.
- Remember that very bright or flickering lights can cause discomfort and distraction to many people.
- Ensure staff are aware of how to respectfully ask if a person may need some extra assistance.
According to findings from Tourism Research Australia, the most significant priorities for travellers with a disability included:
- Deals and offers for those travelling with a carer
- More information for accessible and inclusive travel on review sites
- Accreditation or recognition of businesses that do a great job for travellers with disabilities
- Specialist planning tools so they could map out their entire journey
- Dedicated review sites or information about specific disabilities
More useful resources
- The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed a guide to help small businesses make their businesses more accessible to all their customers. To read the guide, called ‘Missed business? How to attract more customers by providing better access to your business’, click here.
- The Queensland Government has published a guide on language and etiquette, which is a great tool to share with your staff. To read the guide, ‘A way with words: Guidelines for the portrayal of people with a disability’, click here.
- The Access Institute of Australia has a checklist for your business that you can complete. To view this checklist, click here.