VisitEngland to promote England as leading destination for accessible tourism following successful bid for funding from the European Commission

LONDON, 2014-11-7 — /Travel PR News/ — At the start of World Travel Market today, VisitEngland announces plans for a national drive to promote England as a leading destination for accessible tourism, following a successful bid for funding from the European Commission.

The announcement comes as new research by VisitEngland shows the overnight accessible tourism market is now worth £3billion to the England economy, with day visits bringing the figure up to £12.4billion.

Over the past four years overnight trips by disabled travellers and their companions have increased by 19% with spend up by 33%*.

The ‘Access for All’ project will be funded by a grant of €125,000 from the European Commission. VisitEngland will partner with seven destinations to develop and promote their destination for visitors with access needs. As part of this, 56 businesses will be involved in a process to improve their accessibility. Informative visitor guides will be created for each destination to put on show the wide breadth of tourism experiences available, and to promote local tourism businesses that are providing a warm welcome to all visitors, including those with access needs.

VisitEngland will also deliver a national marketing campaign which will go live in late summer/early autumn 2015 to showcase the experiences on offer for visitors with access needs, and encourage more people to take a short break in England.

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland said:

“As the national tourist board, we are committed to ensuring England is a destination that offers a warm welcome for all visitors. The Access for All project is a fantastic opportunity to continue to build England’s reputation as a leader in accessible tourism, and help grow this important and valuable market, now worth £3billion to England’s economy.”
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said:

“The Access for All project will help disabled people enjoy England’s world beating tourist destinations. The tourism sector is making a significant contribution to economic growth in this country and we want to keep up that momentum by ensuring our destinations are welcoming to all.”

VisitEngland has taken a leading role in supporting and encouraging tourism businesses to make the most of this valuable market. The project, which will run from October 2014 until March 2016, will expand on VisitEngland’s pilot Access for All project which supported four destinations to create accessible experiences, accompanied by a national marketing campaign launched in March this year with the support of top Paralympians.

View VisitEngland’s infographic on the Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England.

To find out more, join VisitEngland’s lead on Access Ross Calladine and a host of other speakers at the WTM Seminar: “Preparing your Destinations for the Accessible Tourism Market: Lessons from Research Practice” on Tuesday 4 November from 16:00 – 17.30 in the Premier Room 1, ExCel, London.


Angelah Sparg, Corporate Communications Manager Tel: 02075781482, Email or Sarah Long, Head of Corporate Communications Tel: 020 7578 1452, Email

Notes to Editors
• *Trips refer to trip groups where a member of the party has impairment.
• For more information and to view the full infographic on the Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England see

• In 2013, 14% of all domestic overnight trips included someone with a health condition or impairment – a total of 14 million trips worth £2.7 billion (Great Britain Tourism Survey, 2013). In 2010, 2% of inbound trips to England included someone with a health condition or impairment – a total of 0.6 million trips worth £0.3 billion (International Passenger Survey 2010).
• VisitEngland provides a number of tools and resources to help tourism operators accommodate people with access needs, available at – including:
• Access Statements – A free online tool allowing businesses to create a description of their premises, to inform people with access needs.
• Online Disability Awareness Training – this online course was developed in partnership with DisabledGO, and is designed to help tourism businesses deliver a warm welcome and excellent service to disabled customers.
• VisitEngland also provides tourism information for people with physical and sensory needs

About the European Commission Grant:
• In July 2014, VisitEngland’s application to the grant programme in the framework of the Preparatory Action, “Tourism and Accessibility for All” was approved by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry.  €125,000 was awarded to the “Access for All” project over an 18-month period up to 31 March 2016 aimed at the design, implementation, promotion and marketing of accessible tourism guides.
• VisitEngland is one of seven successful project applicants, including other organisations from Germany, Italy and Spain.
• Link to the accessible tourism webpage on the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry website.
• A copy of the booklet in PDF, ‘Guide on EU Funding 2014-2020 for the Tourism Sector’, is published by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, October 2014.
• The sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

VisitEngland’s local destination partners are:
• Visit Kent
• Visit Birmingham
• Visit Lincoln
• Visit Northumberland
• Visit Peak District and Derbyshire
• Experience Nottinghamshire
• VisitBrighton

Destinations involved in VisitEngland’s pilot ‘Access for All’ project included Bath, Leicestershire, NewcastleGateshead and Brighton.

About VisitEngland
• VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors.  Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on
• England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.
• For corporate information see and for consumer information see