North York Moors accessibility project
The North York Moors Accessibility Project seeks to inspire people with accessibility requirements in the Dutch and/or German markets, and from the Explorer segment, to take short breaks in the North York Moors region.
This will be achieved by delivering the following objectives:
- To develop and promote a high quality accessible tourism itinerary for the North York Moors, bookable for people in Germany and/or the Netherlands with accessibility requirements
- To support tourism businesses in the North York Moors to improve information, customer service and facilities for the benefit of both domestic and international visitors with accessibility requirements
- To support destination organisations (DOs) in the North York Moors to become local champions of long-term accessible tourism development.
- To act as a test and learn project to inform a potential wider roll-out.
VisitEngland has a longstanding accessibility work programme providing direction and support to businesses and destinations on harnessing the valuable and growing accessible tourism market. This includes providing the industry with a range of guidance, tools and resources in the Business Advice Hub.
VisitEngland has also undertaken product development and marketing projects that have developed and promoted accessible tourism itineraries.
In 2019 the Tourism Sector Deal announced the ambition to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025, with the target to increase inbound visits by disabled people by a third. The Tourism Recovery Plan published in June 2021 restates the commitment and accessible & inclusive tourism is a key aspect of the plan.
10-15 businesses in the North York Moors region will be involved in the project, from experiences to attractions and accommodation. The following businesses have been confirmed as part of the project:
- Inn on the Moor
- Sunday Cottage - North Yorkshire Moors Cottages
- Summerfield Farm
- Vale Cottage - Wellspring Farm Cottages
- Dalby Forest Cycle Hub
- Dalby Forest (Forestry England)
- Sutton Bank National Park Centre
- Yorkshire Coast Nature
A business engagement meeting was held at North York Moors heritage railway on 20th October 2021 to share the aims of the project and how businesses could get involved. Following completion of the Product Development phase of the project, a meeting was held with all participating businesses on 12th January 2023 to share learnings and the next steps in marketing.
Access for All UK: Professional Accessibility Mentors (PAMs)
The role of the Professional Accessibility Mentors (PAMs) will be largely to advise, guide and mentor 10-15 participating businesses through an Access for All Development Process in Phase 2 – Product Development.
The overall responsibilities of the PAMs will be to:
- Assist with the final selection of tourism products for inclusion in the itineraries
- Support the project team to engage the businesses identified
- Provide businesses with one to one support throughout all stages of the Access for All Development Process
- Undertake accessibility audits of the businesses’ products and services
- Write a report and improvement plan for each business
- Provide detailed Accessibility Guides for each business
- Manage the mystery shop process, working with local accessibility groups
- Support businesses to follow best practice in the provision of accessibility information on their website
- Manage the 1 to 1 peer mentoring programme for businesses
- Manage the delivery of destination-wide events to engage tourism providers that are not included in the itineraries
- Deliver face-to-face training to meet the objective of developing ‘accessibility champions’ who can embed accessibility throughout their organisations
- Support the Destination Organisations covering the project area to update/develop an Access for All section on their mainstream consumer website.
Tourism for All: online accessibility training provider
The online accessibility training provider will provide access to an existing online disability awareness e-learning programme for all customer facing staff at the 10-15 businesses between end September 2021 and end March 2022.
Kubi Kalloo: Audience research provider
The audience research provider will complete two phases of research:
- Phase 1 - quantitative research, focused on the customer journey and holiday behaviour of German and Dutch Explorers with an accessibility requirement. Read the research report.
- Phase 2 - qualitative research, focusing on the testing of the proposed itineraries to establish their appeal and suitability for the target group. Read the research report.