The Palaszczuk Government has announced the launch of $5 million in inclusive tourism grants.
Queensland’s $5 million Accessible Tourism Elevate Fund aims to support more tourism operators create more world-class, inclusive visitor experiences. This includes is $2 million in Access Starter Grants and $3 million for Access Project Grants.
$5,000 Access Starter Grants are available for accessibility audits and plans, website upgrades and staff training, as the first steps to transforming visitor experiences.
For tourism operators ready to proceed with inclusive infrastructure and technology upgrades, there are Access Project Grants from $50,000 to $250,000.
Speaking to Travel Weekly on the grants, Peta Hooke, a disability advocate who speaks openly about her life with cerebal palsy on her show ‘The I Can’t Stand Podcast’, who called for improving the access to information and improving staff knowledge around accessible tourism.
“The first step a disabled tourist, like any other tourist, undertakes when choosing and planning to travel, is to find accurate and up to date information about the destination,” she said.
“Finding information that relates to accessibility is far too difficult. To find transport, activities, accommodation and dinning options for when I stay away from home can take hours and hours of research and often means I have to physically phone a business to enquire. By having information and photographs readily available would greatly improve the visitor experience and is cost affective for businesses to implement.
“Additionally, I hope this grant will seek to improve is staff knowledge of inclusion, accessibility and disability in general via training. The training would allow for a better experience for the disabled tourist, but also equip staff with the confidence and knowledge to offer their best assistance.”
The Palaszczuk Government is investing $12 million in the Year of Accessible Tourism to create an enduring legacy for Queensland as a global all-abilities visitor destination.
Queensland tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government’s Year of Accessible Tourism is about supporting tourism operators to elevate Queensland’s global potential as an inclusive, all-abilities destination.
“Our commitment to delivering the most accessible and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games ever in 2032 is also a golden opportunity for Queensland tourism operators to shine,” he said.
“These accessible tourism grants will back more Queensland operators to fast-track smaller upgrades that make a huge difference to accessibility for visitors from around the world.”
Accessible tourism is growing as more Australian and overseas visitors with a disability seek out welcoming destinations able to support their stay.
Modelling by Tourism Research Australia estimates travellers with a disability contribute up to $1.9 billion a year to Queensland’s visitor economy, which could double with more accessible tourism experiences.
Grant applications open in late October. Find the link here.