The keys to unlocking the growing market for tourism and travel by ageing people and those with disabilities will top the agenda at a series of forums hosted by Local Government NSW (LGNSW), Ballina Shire Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and Tamworth Regional Council.
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the increasing demand for inclusive tourism and recreational opportunities was proving to be a significant economic driver for a wide range of communities across NSW.
“Twenty per cent of the population have a disability and of these, 88 per cent take a holiday each year,” Councillor Rhoades said.
“Visitors with disabilities are usually accompanied by carers, friends and family, which makes inclusive tourism a huge section of the travel and recreation market.
“It’s already valued at around $8 billion per year, with plenty of room for further growth.”
Clr Rhoades said many councils were already conscious of the economic potential of the inclusive tourism market, which extends beyond people with disabilities to ageing Australians and international visitors.
“Remember that 3.7 million Australians were aged over 65 in 2015, and the baby boomers who helped revolutionise tourism, travel and recreation will soon be joined by the next generation of older travellers,” he said.
“Getting older isn’t what it used to be. Most retirees have not only retained their sense of adventure, but now have the time and financial security to really get out there and enjoy life.”
Clr Rhoades said the forum was designed to bring industry players together, including councils, to share best practice in offering inclusive tourism and recreational experiences.
Forum goers will hear from Trip Advisor, Destination NSW, the NSW Business Chamber and Local Government NSW while also having the opportunity to network with local industry colleagues.
“There is a wealth of small changes that can increase both accessibility and profits, and the upcoming forum is designed to help unlock these for everyone,” Clr Rhoades said.
“There’s also a focus on providing the best customer service to older people and visitors with a disability as well as their families and carers.
“I’d encourage anyone who sees the opportunity to grow their business and local economy through inclusive tourism to come along to the forums, which will be held at:
- Ballina Surf Club, Lighthouse Parade, East Ballina at 8-9am on Tuesday August 15 2017;
- The Glasshouse, 32/40 Clarence St, Port Macquarie at 8-9am on Wednesday August 16 2017; and
- The University of New England’s Peel House, 24 Fitzroy Street, Tamworth at 8-9am on Thursday August 17 2017.
Anyone interested in attending the free forum can register online but numbers are limited, so early registration is advised.