Gold Coast promotes accessible tourism initiatives through new roadshow

Hancock: Gold Coast is growing its reputation as one of the most accessible destinations

A landmark initiative will see Destination Gold Coast go on a domestic roadshow starting today (August 21, 2023) with new tools tailored for the disability tourism market.

The roadshow will visit the Gold Coast’s key interstate markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, in what is believed to be the first of its kind by a Regional Tourism Organisation in Australia.

Hancock: Gold Coast is growing its reputation as an accessible destination. Photo: Adelaine Ng

It will showcase an extensive Accessible Tourism Guide, featuring 31 accommodation partners, 27 attractions and experiences, and an audio guide to be launched soon, as part of its bid to position itself as an inclusive and accessible destination.

Announced at This Is Gold Coast 2023 (TIGC23) which concluded last Wednesday, the roadshow is part of the state of Queensland’s drive to promote its disability tourism credentials, with this year earmarked as the Year of Accessible Tourism.

“The Gold Coast is growing a reputation as one of the most accessible destinations in Australia. Earlier this year, the Gold Coast made history in being the first Australian city to host the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Conference,” said Destination Gold Coast’s interim chief operating officer Rachel Hancock.

“We’ve been getting a lot more website hits, and soon we will be re-launching our website to include more accessible-friendly features such as the use of fonts and the ability to change text size for the visually-impaired, colour scheme options, and audio-based initiatives,” she added.

Some examples of attractions contributing to the initiative include indoor skydiving company iFLY, which is offering extra support on Thursdays for visitors with physical disabilities, and Paradise Resort which has set up a room for children with audio and sensory sensitivities.

Such efforts have impressed TIGC23 delegates such as Bredette Koen, event manager for Australian Network on Disability, who has been looking for a suitable destination for their next national conference for 500 participants.

“The one thing that surprised me the most is the amount of awareness that’s already been created to make events and venues more accessible. The framework they’ve created is phenomenal,” she told TTGmice.

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to, where I would mention the challenges that we’ve experienced in the past, showed an incredible level of eagerness to listen, learn, adjust and better the situation. That is in contrast to major centres (in other destinations) that are more set in their ways and won’t make a small change to their menu, which doesn’t work for us.”

“Another big thing for us is that there are very limited venues around the country that can take on our numbers. Here, I’ve identified four venues in the Gold Coast that can accommodate us, whereas in Sydney I could only identify one or two venues,” Koen elaborated.

Another delegate sourcing an Australian destination to host the next World Association for Assisted Employment Conference for 500 people is Ann Ip, who represented Disability Employment Australia at TIGC23.

“The Gold Coast is more competitively priced for us as a non-profit organisation, and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre looks to be perfectly suited to our needs,” she said.

“Our only reluctance is that we need accessible travel for some 200 international delegates flying in and there aren’t many direct flights into the Gold Coast,” she observed.

There are currently six direct international flights into the Gold Coast including Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar and New Zealand’s main cities.

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