Tropical North Queensland launches accessible travel hub

Tropical North Queensland launches accessible travel hub

An Accessibility Hub has been added to the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef destination website to assist travellers with mobility impairment in select activities and itineraries for their Tropical North Queensland holiday.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) launched the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef destination Accessibility Hub at the Making Tourism More Accessible Workshop at the Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre on Thursday.

TTNQ CEO Mark Olsen said the team had worked closely with Spinal Life Australia and Out There Travel Care to put together content showcasing experiences and accommodation accessible to all travellers.

“It has been an informative exercise discovering wheelchair-friendly beaches, Quicksilver’s water-powered lift to lower people into the water so they can snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, and which rainforest boardwalks are best suited to wheelchairs,” he said.

“People needing to consider accessibility can now easily find accommodation options from specialised providers like Spinal Life’s Healthy Living Centre which has personal support workers to traditional hotels with accessible rooms such as the Cairns Novotel Oasis Resort.

“It’s encouraging to see our operators attending to learn about the opportunities in the accessible tourism market, understand case studies from businesses that have successfully entered the market, and hear from people with physical disabilities about what they are looking for in a destination.”

As part of the new program, disabled Mission Beach journalist Imogen Kars has put TTNQ’s accommodation and tours to the test and wrote a series of blogs on travel options in Cairns, Palm Cove, the Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands.

Frankland Island Cruises with guide dog Ringo (credit Cocky Guides)

Senior advisor access and advocacy for Spinal Life Australia Dane Cross said the accessible tourism market represented a largely untapped opportunity for tourism operators.

“It’s been great to work with Tourism Tropical North Queensland on this project – and in our view, this is the best accessibility information available for any region in Australia,” he said.

“Often, tourism operators don’t know where to begin on their journey towards better accessibility – this workshop enables people to ask simple questions and find out more about where to begin.

“We’d love to help tourism operators understand how to be more accessible and to secure a larger part of this market.”

Olsen said accessible tourism had enormous potential and could be woven into many existing tourism offerings.

“Research by Tourism Australia has shown that accessible tourism can be a game changer for destinations that will assist with post-pandemic recovery by building industry resilience,” he said.

“Treating accessibility as a competitive advantage that improves customer service and enhances quality of life for all is the key to tapping into the ageing, but still adventurous, Baby Boomers who have the time and resources to travel.”

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