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Today is the last day of English Tourism Week 2021 (22nd to 31st May). Additionally, this week highlights the diversity of what England offers in tourism and what contribution this sector makes to the UK economy.
A key area in which is of interest to me is accessible tourism. Likewise, as part of the Tourism Sector Deal, which the Government announced in 2019, a key theme is to make “the UK the most accessible tourism industry in the world.”
On my blog, one of the headings under categories is Days Out, which focuses on our visits in England to tourist attracts from an autistic perspective. I highlight what works well for us and what we appreciate. (in terms of ease of planning, aids and features that makes services accessible to my son).
I see an increase in tourist places offering sensory maps (a fantastic resource) for autistic people and anyone with sensory sensitivity.
Additionally, my son has a complex sensory profile, so when we plan days outs, I always look on websites to see if places provide a sensory map.
My first blog was on our visit to Waddesdon Manor, which is in Buckinghamshire. At the time, they offered a visual checklist and Poupon’s Viewfinder; although, I am delighted to highlight that they now have a Reflect and Roam Sensory Map too!
It all depends on your child’s sensory needs (seeking, avoiding, both) on what works best, so a sensory map (for us) gives us some flexibility in pre-planning our day.
I also wrote about our visit to Bletchley Park, a business that provides a social story and sensory map. They now have an interactive map, which has an accessibility section and sensory maps section too. (light, sound and crowds).
We love visiting museums, seeing them incorporating interactive features and a kinaesthetic style of learning. An example of this on my blog is our visit to the Buckinghamshire County Museum. The Roald Dahl Gallery (stories of literature) presented in a visual and tactile way. (making the experience more engaging and fun for my son).
For English Tourism Week, I also wanted to focus on museums like the Natural History Museum for hosting Dawnosaurs events for autistic children aged 5-15.
Additionally, the Autism in Museums website raises awareness of accessibility in museums and is a great website to find autism-friendly events.
The VisitBritain website has a range of resources for businesses who want to make their business more accessible, a guide on “How to Welcome Autistic People” (produced by the National Autistic Society with VistEngland and England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group) and What the Accessible Tourism Market is Worth.
Valuing the Purple Pound.
The Purple Pound is the spending power of disabled households. Likewise, the VisitBritain website provides estimated statistics (in pie and bar charts) of the value of the Purple Pound in the Tourism industry in England.
Lastly, I cannot write a blog about English Tourism Week without mentioning Art Galleries.
Shape Arts is an organisation, which is disability-led, and they provide an online guide of how to put on an accessible exhibition. We are art lovers, and on my blog, I wrote about MK Gallery and their Art and Us programme. (which is for children with complex need aged five plus). Likewise, I feel that art is essential for releasing creativity and expressing yourself. So, making art exhibitions accessible is needed as many neurodivergent people appreciate what art has to offer.
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog is based on personal views and for information and educational purposes. I did not receive any payment or compensation for this post.