Tourism Sector Deal must mean accessibility for all
The Family Holiday Association welcomes the new Tourism Sector Deal announced today by Prime Minister Theresa May and specifically the Government’s ambition to make the UK the “most accessible tourism destination in Europe.” Included in the deal is a firm commitment to accessibility for disabled visitors. The charity now calls on the government and industry to adopt a broader definition of accessibility which encompasses all the many barriers to participation.
The Family Holiday Association is the leading national charity dedicated to helping struggling families to get a short break or day out. One in three families miss out on a break every year (ONS 2014) and the considerable benefits that time away from home can provide. Removing barriers, and increasing participation has the potential to deliver considerable social and economic benefits.
Research by Nottingham Civic Exchange, published in June 2019, shows the extent to which even families with at least one parent in work are struggling to take a break. It underlines that holidays have a notable positive impact on mental wellbeing and, conversely, not being able to take breaks have a negative impact. This is all the more important when nearly a quarter of those interviewed hardly ever take a break.
The Family Holiday Association’s own research shows that families affected by mental health issues report real benefits, with over 80% saying that their situation had improved up to a year after their break. This research also suggests that breaks have a significant impact on isolation as well as school attendance.
Commenting on the deal, John Kinnear, Head of Programmes at the charity, said:
“We welcome the pledge to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination by 2025. We know how important tourism is, not only for the jobs it creates and businesses it supports but for the difference a break or day out can make for a struggling family.
“We believe that a thriving future for the UK tourism industry is one in which everyone is able to take part. For the families we help, a simple day out or a few days away at the seaside can be life changing.
“We also know that people are more likely to return to holiday destinations they have visited before. So helping families to get a break not only helps them but also creates tourists for the future.”
The Family Holiday Association is committed to championing holidays as a force for good, raising awareness of the difference that tourism can make, particularly for those who don’t normally take part.