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Issue:- 21 November 2014

...continued... However, as people around the UK plan half term trips to local visitor attractions, a recent Vitalise survey of its guests found that 65% of people with disabilities have decided against visiting a tourist attraction because they found their accessibility information to be insufficient, confusing or difficult to obtain.

This highlights a need for greater clarity, thoroughness and ease of access in the information tourist attractions provide for their disabled visitors, suggests Vitalise.

In the light of its research, Vitalise is calling for more effort on the part of the UK's visitor attractions to become fully accessible and easier access to key accessibility information online, in order to ease the worries of people with disabilities. They risk losing out on a share of the estimated £212 billion annual value of the 'Purple Pound' if they don't take accessibility seriously, Vitalise is warning.

At the same time the charity has launched #AccessNow, a new campaign to enlist the support of people with disabilities in its push for urgent improvements to accessibility.

Vitalise is asking people with disabilities to share their experiences of visiting tourist attractions and other public venues via an online form on the charity's website or by emailing them to:-

People are also being encouraged to share their experiences with Vitalise via social media by posting photos, videos and updates on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #AccessNow.

Vitalise provides respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers, combining 24-hour nurse-led care with a real holiday experience, at Sandpipers and two other accessible UK centres. Accessible excursions to local tourist attractions are an integral part of the experience. The charity conducts a thorough assessment of the accessibility arrangements of each tourist attraction to which it takes its guests.

Commenting on the charity's survey findings, Vitalise Chairman Mindy Sawhney said:- "We're delighted to acknowledge the efforts of those venues that not only represent the very best of our cultural life, but that are making that cultural life fully accessible to everyone. The fact that 1 in 3 of us lives with a disability or has someone close who does strengthens the case that accessibility is the right thing to do. But we say to tourist attractions that it's also the smart thing to do. Disabled people and their households spend around £212 billion each year; have you done everything you can do to make sure that their spending some of this money with you? We're asking venues to focus their efforts on three things: first and easiest make sure your website has clear, practical and accurate information about accessibility. Shockingly, many do not. Second, be imaginative about how to make 100% of your visitor experience accessible to people using wheelchairs. And third, make a hoist available at every venue: these cost comparatively little to install and yet are often the determining factor in whether or not a person living with a disability can enjoy what so many of us can take for granted. The best advice we can give to venues is to involve people with disabilities in your plans; they know what real accessibility means and will tell you the truth about whether you're getting it right. Finally, we ask visitors to attractions everywhere to tell us about your experience; the terrific and the terrible; through our Access Now campaign. Let's build a body of knowledge that makes planning a trip easy and that provides decision makers everywhere with overwhelming evidence about the real state of accessibility."

Please email us your views on this issue to:- and let us know your thoughts about accessibility in and around Merseyside.

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