#74 What is an access tourist, anyway?

Imagine going on a holiday with your friends or family – and everywhere you shop, stay, eat and visit has catered perfectly to your access needs? You spend your hard earned and saved cash, you soak in every attraction and experience just as you’d hoped and you leave feeling like you both contributed and gained hugely from the trip! Sound good? Indeed! Unfortunately for the "access tourist", this isn't always the case.

"Access tourists" are people who choose to travel (domestically and internationally) and who have access needs. They may be someone with a disability, a parent with a pushchair or someone over 65 years of age.

Access tourists are one of the fastest growing tourism groups and have a substantial amount of spending power. This could be lucrative for businesses if they adapt to enable those tourists with access needs. For the most part businesses don't think of accommodating for those living with a disability and therefore they are missing out on valuable customers. The access tourist is now giving businesses an opportunity to increase their revenue as they have money to spend and they are growing fast!

Adapting a business to better serve the access tourist can be simple. Solutions range from educating staff on how to communicate with those who have access requirements, to building a ramp for those who use a wheelchair. These simple changes can make a huge difference for the access tourist.

Often access tourists travel with a group of three or four companions (colleagues, friends or family) who will be sharing the experience with them. As a group they will tend to prefer visiting places that are accessible for all of them. That means that businesses that don’t serve the access tourist’s needs are potentially missing out on not one, but five customers.

Travel experiences, can become viral when travelers return home passing on their tips, tricks and favourite destinations. New Zealand has an opportunity to collectively specialize in catering to this growing market who, when catered for in a positive, supportive manner, could pass on praise and respect for a country that offers accessibility for all. An accessibility Mecca!

For more information on Access Tourism, be in touch with the Be. Welcome team by email or call 0800 be in touch (234 686).