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Scottish MP urges Tourist Trade to improve their accessability

hotel room
hotel room Image credit: http://www.thebayhotel.net

According to a Scottish MP business companies are missing out on an opportunity when it comes to disabled people going on holiday.

Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism has said less than a fifth of disabled people are unable to enjoy a vacation due to the lack of accessible facilities available at hotels and B & Bs.

Ewing is encouraging tourist spots to improve their disabled access so their accommodation can cater for a wider target audience.

The MP raised the issue in Scottish Parliament. He said: "There are 11 million disabled people living in the UK, 16 per cent of the population. Only two million of them enjoy an annual holiday.

"Looking at it on the global stage there are 1.3 billion people with a disability - an emerging market the size of China."

The Scottish Government has spent £45,000 to launch an online training programme which will assist tourist workers to make adaptations which will help the elderly, disabled and visitors with young children. The initiative suggests basic improvements, such as providing free bowls of water for assistance dogs.

Ewing went on to say: "Once disabled people have found accommodation that suits their needs they can be loyal customers, returning year on year.

"It is estimated around 70 per cent of disabled people are able to travel, but because of lack of accessible accommodation and basic facilities they do not.

"First of all, and most important of all, it is a matter of social responsibility to seek to enable and facilitate the enjoyment of a holiday or break for everyone, including people with a disability.

"Secondly, by doing so we create business opportunities for the whole sector."

Both parties have backed the plan....Labour’s Jenny Marra said: "Better accessibility means higher occupancy rates for hotels and loyal customers who keep returning,"

"Accessible tourism reflects true equality and long term sustainable trade."

Conservative MSP for North East Scotland, Nanette Milne said: "There's still a long way to go if Scotland is to become the most accessible tourist destination in Europe, but the recognition of training needs within tourism businesses and the efforts being made to ensure that the industry recognises the all-round benefits to businesses and their customers from maximising accessibility are significant steps in the right direction."