20 May 2024

Welcoming tourists by improving accessibility

A new national framework to help tourism businesses improve the accessibility of their products, services, and experiences was launched by Australia’s state and territory tourism ministers today in Melbourne.

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and state and territory tourism organisations created and funded the WELCOME Framework.

The Framework will help tourism operators attract new customers and better support existing ones by understanding the needs of people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. 

Austrade’s Tourism Research Australia (TRA) estimates that 21 per cent of total domestic tourism spend in the June 2023 quarter was by people with accessibility needs and people travelling with them. That was $6.8 billion in just three months.

Austrade’s Visitor Economy General Manager Sam Palmer said welcoming these potential customers was the right thing to do and a major opportunity for tourism businesses as well as being simple and easy.  

“The Framework provides clear, tested, practical advice to help tourism businesses capitalise on a growing trend, especially given our aging population worldwide,” Ms Palmer said.

“Tourism businesses large and small are already thinking about what steps they can take. For example, Darwin-based Walking tour company Walk Darwin has rewritten its guide instructions to enrich their offering for hearing-impaired customers.

“Indoor skydiving company iFLY has invested in flight suits with zippers suited to wheelchair users, and the company runs highly popular all-abilities events each month. The WELCOME Framework will help more businesses to get on board,” Ms Palmer said.

The new WELCOME Framework is a straightforward, practical resource to help businesses start their accessible tourism journeys. 

View the WELCOME Framework.

Media enquiries

Email: media@austrade.gov.au

Phone: +61 2 9393 2873