In the past few years, more and more water leisure operators are looking at how to make their websites, facilities and staff more accessible and welcoming to guests with disabilities. It makes sense that inclusive tourism has become a trending term because, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “over a billion people live with some form of disability; this corresponds to about 15 percent of the world’s population.”
So what is inclusive tourism?
As defined by Push Adventures (pushadventures.com.au), an inclusive tourism consultancy in South Australia, “inclusive tourism is about reducing uncertainty around what to expect from a destination or service. It creates increased participation in tourism activities and embraces the entire community of travellers, regardless of ability.”
One waterpark that’s already introduced a robust “access for all” approach is Sandcastle Waterpark in Blackpool, UK. Starting with its website, which has a helpful “plan your visit” section, Sandcastle enables anyone to visit, whatever their physical or cognitive impairment.
For the Sandcastle team, it’s about the total guest experience –from pre-visit to visit to post-visit. The waterpark has a variety of inclusive services and trains staff to treat each guest, regardless of ability, with care and understanding. To learn more about their accessibility programming, visit sandcastle-waterpark.co.uk.
As Push Adventures says, inclusive tourism is more than providing a ramp. “Not all disabilities are visible and every person is unique. Small details can make the world of difference to a person’s travel experience.”
Aleatha Ezra, director of park member development, WWA