- Nearly 80% of tourism operators neglect to include accessibility information on their websites
- The QLD State Government has named 2023 the Year of Accessible Tourism
- People with disability spend approximately $8B on tourism services annually
New research from Queensland-based digital training experts Tourism Tribe has revealed that only 21% of Australian tourism operators have relevant accessibility information on their websites, despite one in five Australians living with a disability.
With the Queensland State Government announcing last month that 2023 will be the ‘Year of Accessible Tourism’, this gap in online information is a significant concern as the state prepares to welcome thousands of visitors with disabilities.
The Tourism Tribe Australian Tourism Digital Health Check ™ assessed more than 2,000 tourism businesses from around the country to determine their level of digital competency and identify any gaps in their online presence. While the overall results show that the tourism sector has embraced technology in many ways, there are still significant gaps in capability, particularly in relation to providing information to assist customers with disabilities.
“The results of the 2022 Australian Tourism Digital Health Check ™ were gratifying on many levels and reflect the significant work and investment that has been made in the digital space by the tourism industry as a whole,” said Liz Ward, CEO of Tourism Tribe. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done on improving digital capability, with businesses missing out on potential customers because they’ve neglected to take a few simple steps online. To have only one in every five tourism businesses assessed include information relevant for people with disabilities was quite disappointing, particularly in light of the government’s announcement that next year will be the Year of Accessible Tourism here in Queensland.”
Ann Bourke, owner of Jester Hill Wines in southern Queensland, added information about accessibility for people with disabilities onto the business’ website and has experienced measurable benefits.
“It was so easy to add extra information regarding accessibility onto the website; it was just a matter of creating a new page and link in our menu,” explained Ms Bourke. “We also added in some information about accessibility into our FAQs and linked that back to the accessibility page. We often get asked questions about mobility access, entryways, accessible bathrooms, and parking, as well as for information for people with vision or hearing impairments, so we included all that information on the website.
“We’ve had a number of new customers visit our winery as a direct result of having this information on the website, and all mentioned that it was great to be able to check accessibility information before visiting without having to make extra phone calls, or risk trying their luck and being disappointed. We want to make all our visitors feel welcome and included, and this is such a simple way to do that.”
Ms Ward added, “Accessibility information should be one of the foundation blocks of a tourism or travel website – it is essential information for a significant proportion of your potential customers. One in five people in Australia lives with a disability, and people with disabilities spend around $8 billion on travel and tourism every year. We urge all tourism operators to prioritise adding accessibility information to their websites in time for Queensland’s Year of Accessible Tourism.”
Key results of the Tourism Tribe Australian Tourism Digital Health Check ™ 2022
- 91.8% of tourism operators now have a mobile-friendly or responsive website
- 71.1% have an online booking facility
- 93.4% of tourism websites are indexed on Google
- 78.7% of tourism operators neglect to include disability-related information on their websites
- Just 15.5% of businesses include customer testimonials on their websites
- 73.3% are not including ‘destination hashtags’ when posting on social media
- 85.3% don’t use a Live Chat functionality on their website
- 73.4% don’t have their Bio set up correctly on social media profiles