A drive to grow the value of the ‘Purple Pound’ across Suffolk’s visitor economy was launched at The Hold in Ipswich on 16 November.
Suffolk Growth Partnership, working alongside Suffolk County Council and all of Suffolk’s local councils and visitor economy partners, announced the launch of Accessible Destination Suffolk, with the ambition to become one of England’s most accessible and inclusive destinations.
The event was designed to further raise awareness of the benefits of driving greater accessibility and inclusion across Suffolk’s visitor economy, following a Suffolk Growth report which valued the spending power of disabled people visiting Suffolk at over £300 million per year.
Alongside the economic benefits, Accessible Destination Suffolk will drive accessibility benefits to Suffolk’s residents, communities and support health and wellbeing.
Working in partnership with AccessAble, the event celebrated the first 100 venues and companies who have committed to producing Detailed Access Guides, and the launch of the Disability Essentials online training package, free to Suffolk visitor economy businesses.
Cllr Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet lead for Equalities and Communities said:
“The launch of Accessible Destination Suffolk cements our commitment to an accessible and thriving visitor economy.
“We are extremely fortunate to have so many places of interest in Suffolk, from our natural environment to our cultural, hospitality, retail and leisure attractions. We want to make Suffolk more accessible and working together will help us to build on the good practice and hard work already happening, learn from one another and champion our role as advocates for an accessible visitor economy in Suffolk.”
Carrie-Ann Lightley, leading disabled travel blogger and AccessAble’s Head of Marketing, said:
“We were delighted to work in partnership with Suffolk Growth Partnership to create Detailed Access Guides to tourism venues across Suffolk.
“Accessible Destination Suffolk will enhance the experience for everyone, with the AccessAble website giving disabled people access to crucial detail on the go. Disability Essentials E-learning will support staff to become more confident and skilled in their engagement with both customers and colleagues, uniquely combining legal expertise with lived experience.
“We hope that other organisations will look to follow Suffolk Growth’s example and partner with us in our mission to enable disabled people to have greater freedom in exploring visitor destinations.”
Ross Calladine, VisitEngland Head of Business Support and Government-appointed Disability and Access Ambassador for Tourism said:
“VisitEngland welcomes the Accessible Destination Suffolk initiative as we drive progress towards the Government ambition for the UK to become the most accessible tourism destination in Europe. A recent Government survey found that 45% of people who identify as disabled had not taken an overnight holiday in England in the previous 12 months, showing that accessible and inclusive tourism is a huge opportunity for the tourism industry as well as a responsibility.”
Suffolk Growth’s visitor economy lead Richard Hunt was keen to engage more partners and businesses in the project. He said:
“We know that there is good practice taking place across Suffolk’s visitor economy, but we also know there is the potential to do more. We want to build on the excellent work of Visit England and AccessAble to support businesses on their accessibility journey. Working with our local councils, AccessAble and local businesses to produce high quality Detailed Access Guides is a really positive foundation to build on.”
Notes to editors
Accessible Destination Suffolk Accessibility Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/suffolk-growth
Suffolk Growth report: Accessibility & Inclusion – enabling growth of the Suffolk visitor economy: www.suffolkgrowth.co.uk/accessibility-and-inclusion-enabling-growth-in-the-suffolk-visitor-economy
Visit England Accessible and Inclusive Toolkit for Businesses: www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/make-your-business-accessible-and-inclusive
Suffolk Growth Partnership brings together public sector organisations and key partners to align and promote countywide economic growth objectives as part of a single, ambitious strategic vision. We work across Suffolk and the wider region, engaging with a range of stakeholders to drive positive change through shared activity, delivery, and promotion.
Richard Hunt, Suffolk Growth Partnership – Strategic Lead Visitor Economy
Tel: 07385 399606
Images: Simon Lee Photography