Access the Forth Valley

Access the Forth Valley

Funding boost for Accessible Tourism Campaign

A new collaborative campaign will promote the Forth Valley as an accessible visitor destination for the first time with the support of VisitScotland.

Forth Valley Accessibility Tourism Promotion, which brings together four geographic areas across Scotland to target the Accessible Tourism market, has received a £19,800 VisitScotland Growth Fund award. The Growth Fund, delivered by the national tourism organisation supports national, regional and sectoral tourism groups across Scotland to deliver partnership marketing campaigns.

Led by Falkirk Delivers, in collaboration with Falkirk and Stirling Councils, Discover Clackmannanshire and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, as well as local businesses across the four areas, the campaign will create a suite of downloadable and print itineraries as well as three films highlighting the full range of accessible attractions and accommodation providers in the area. The itineraries will be tailored for visitors with Autism, Dementia and Mobility issues and will cover three themes; Family Fun, Heritage and Outdoor activity.

The films and itineraries will be promoted via digital channels to people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Northern England. By raising the profile of the Forth Valley as an accessible destination to a new audience, the campaign aims to increase the number of visitors to the area, as well as the length of their stay and the amount they spend.

A 6th year pupil at Falkirk High will be supporting the development of the itineraries as he is fully aware of the challenges faced by visitors to the area with access requirements. The campaign has also received support from the Changing Places Working Group and Euan’s Guide, and has been in contact with PAMIS, Simply Emma, the Forth Valley Sensory Centre, Oovirt and Alzheimer’s Scotland.

There is currently limited accessibility information on the individual business and destination platforms of the areas involved in the campaign meaning visitors with access requirements struggle to plan their visits to the Forth Valley. With 54% of visitors with access requirements avoiding a venue if they can’t find accessibility information, it is hoped this project will encourage the partners and local businesses to complete a VisitScotland Accessibility Guide and also list themselves on Euan’s Guide.

Research shows that one in five people in the UK are disabled. This includes not only wheelchair users, but also people with hearing loss, visual impairments and learning and development disabilities. In 2015, £1.3 billion was spent in Scotland on trips where a member of the party had an impairment. This includes day trips, domestic overnight trips and inbound trips.

 Sarah Winters, Falkirk Delivers, said: “Falkirk Delivers and Visit Falkirk are delighted to have been granted our 3rd Growth Fund award, and to be working with partners Forth Valley wide. Our aim is to ensure that information for all visitors to the area is easily found and our local businesses and tourist attractions are accessible to all. Accessible tourism is about making it easy for everyone to enjoy their tourism experiences, the information this project will provide will increase the travel opportunities available for people with special access needs, promote social inclusion and improve the skills of staff in the industry.”

 Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “The National Park is for everyone to enjoy and there are lots of amazing experiences here for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

“This fund will help us to widen the benefits of the National Park, making it easier for potential visitors with extra needs to try a new adventure and be able to plan ahead with confidence. We’re delighted to be working with our partners in Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirling to create new journeys that link together some of Scotland’s best visitor experiences and to help businesses to consider how they can best meet everyone’s needs.”

Convener of Stirling Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “We are delighted to be driving forward the inclusive tourism agenda with our wider Forth Valley partners.

“This campaign will ensure everyone can easily find and enjoy their visit to Stirling, along with acting as a catalyst for businesses to create a range of opportunities that make their service more inclusive and accessible for all.”

Vice Convener of Stirling Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, Cllr Alison Laurie said: “This fantastic initiative will showcase the stunning surroundings of Stirling and all it has to offer to a new audience and help cement the area as a must-visit destination.

“We are thrilled to support this important campaign and help raise awareness of our accessible attractions and businesses, which will hopefully draw people to the area and provide a tourism boost.”

Steven Campbell, Chair of Discover Clackmannanshire, said: “We look forward to working with our Forth Valley partners on this forthcoming marketing campaign. Although a relatively undiscovered part of Scotland, Clackmannanshire offers many hidden gems to visitors of Scotland including the Japanese Gardens, Tower trail and excellent walking & cycling routes. Discover Clackmannanshire are working with their tourism partners for a truly inclusive tourism experience.”

Marina Di Duca, Inclusive Tourism Manager, said: “It is our aim to make tourism inclusive and accessible for all, so that every single person can benefit from all that Scotland has to offer. I’m very pleased that four areas of the Forth Valley have come together to showcase their accessible offering. 

 “This collaborative campaign will help attract the lucrative Accessible Tourism market to the Forth Valley and I’m delighted it could be supported by our Growth Fund award. At VisitScotland we want to champion collaboration and spearhead innovation to ensure every part of the country can enjoy the benefits of tourism.”

The VisitScotland Growth Fund supports collaborative tourism marketing projects which focus on growth and ensure that visitors experience the best of Scotland. To be eligible for a Growth Fund award, applicants must place a strong emphasis on digital marketing and the creation of digital content assets.

For more information about Inclusive Tourism, go to www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/marketing-toolkits/accessible-inclusive-tourism

For more information about VisitScotland Growth Fund go to    www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/funding/growth-fund

 

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