Are Coastal Resorts Really Accessible?

Are Coastal Resorts Really Accessible?

There are approximately 12 million disabled people in the UK with a spending power of an estimated £80 billion, according to the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions.

So it came as a something of a shock when DWP announced last month that high streets were missing out on some £212 billion worth of revenue from the ‘purple pound’, by not attracting disabled people.

The department claims thousands of high street businesses – including shops, restaurants and pubs – are effectively turning away one in five customers.

“We want businesses up and down our high streets to realise they’re excluding more than 12 million customers and their families if they fail to cater for disabled people. That’s the equivalent to the populations of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester combined,” said Mark Harper, Minister for Disabled People.

“It’s not just about fairness, it makes good business sense to be accessible,” he added.

Mr Harper has written to more than 280 businesses and trade organisations as part of the Accessible Britain Challenge – a call to communities to be more accessible to disabled people and their families.

Businesses are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for disabled visitors. For Bournemouth, in common with a number of other coastal resorts, the 55+ market is an indispensable sector.

What’s more, by 2025, one third of the national population will be over 55 and with a customer base getting older, there’s far more chance of developing physical impairments, such as poor eyesight, back problems, arthritis and so on. So making access easy for people with disabilities is essential.

Bournemouth is one of the best UK coastal resorts for providing easy access to its attractions. Lifts are dotted along the cliff top, special beach friendly wheelchairs are available from seafront offices, specially adapted showers and toilets are offered on the seafront. It even features bespoke beach huts for the disabled.

So, let coastal resorts back Mr Harper’s challenge and lead the way in making their pubs, restaurants, bars, shops and nightclubs truly welcoming to all.

By Sheron Crossman