Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Increasing access to tourism for people with a disability

Ensuring people with disability can access and enjoy holidays was the focus of a meeting of disability advocates in Canberra today.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today opened the National Dialogue on Tourism hosted by Nican, a national referral service for people with disability, which is working to improve access in the tourism and travel industry.

“With one in five Australians having some degree of disability, improving the accessibility of tourism experiences not only makes good financial sense, it is a basic right that people with disability deserve,” Senator McLucas said.

“The Government wants to see improved access to airlines, resorts, hotels, tour operations, restaurants and cafes. People with disability should be able to enjoy their holidays without barriers.”

Almost 90 per cent of people with disability take a holiday each year. The value of day trips and overnight tourism by people with disability adds several billion dollars to our tourism income.

People with disability contributed between 11 and 16 per cent of tourism’s Gross Domestic Product and sustain some 50,000 to 70,000 direct jobs in the tourism industry.

The Australian Government is working hard to ensure people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

Through the National Disability Strategy, the Government is delivering a range of accessibility measures which will ensure people with disability can enjoy holiday travel.

“The Government is working hard to make it easier for people with disability, their carers and families to go to the cinema, enjoy an art gallery or do any of the things we all enjoy doing on holidays.”

We’re delivering practical support to local governments to improve the accessibility of public facilities for people with disability in their communities and have introduced new building access standards to ensure all new and upgraded public buildings are accessible to people with a disability.

We’re also providing digital playback devices in public libraries around the country, improving cinema access for people with hearing and vision impairment and encouraging the adoption of Universal Housing Design principles.

The National Dialogue brings together peak providers of tourism focused information and referral services for people with disabilities to share evidence and research on tourism and disability and to identify ways to raise awareness of the value and need among the industry as well as government and the general community of improved accessibility for people with disability.

“Congratulations to Nican on their continued efforts to highlight the value and need for greater access for people with disability by mainstream tourism and travel providers,” Senator McLucas said.

Senator McLucas also said Nican has been funded by the Australian Government to manage and coordinate this year’s International Day of People with Disability.

“It’s great to see Nican in a leadership role for International Day of People with Disability. It’s a big job with hundreds of events held across the country to mark the event on December 3.”

Nican is a national referral service on sports, the arts and tourism for people with disability.

Nican’s Marketing and Project Manager Craig Wallace said “The Dialogue was highly successful. It will be issuing a communiqué shortly which will highlight the importance of inclusive and accessible travel for people with disability to the domestic tourism market.

“Disability tourism is a huge unmet opportunity for Australian tourism especially as baby boomers move towards retirement.”

The Nican website which provides information on accessible tourism receives more than 320,000 hits per month (