Quality in Tourism caught up with National Accessibility Scheme accredited member and recent award winner, Calvert Trust Exmoor on the importance of accessibility in the run up to Disabled Access Day.

Calvert Trust Exmoor recently won the Gold Access and Inclusivity award at the South West Tourism Awards 2016 and the Silver Access for All at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Known as the South West’s premier outdoor activity destination for people with all types of disabilities, they welcome over 4,000 guests each year with the philosophy of “At Calvert Trust Exmoor it’s what you CAN do that counts.”

The Gold Access and Inclusivity award winners explained that there were several reasons as to why it was important for them to enter the South West Tourism Awards. Rob Lott, Head of Communications said “We wanted to benchmark ourselves against other businesses in the region and gain some independent accreditation and recognition that we are as accessible as we say we are, in order to re-assure potential visitors.”

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 5 star rated residential centre offers activities specifically designed and equipped to cater for older and less mobile guests, part-time wheelchair users, independent wheelchair users, assisted wheelchair users, visually impaired guests and hearing impaired guests, all as part of the National Accessibility Scheme.

The centre is continually making improvements and in the last two years has spent over £96,000 on accessibility enhancements, and over £136,000 on other upgrades. They have recently purchased a new wheelchair accessible minibus, an accessible outdoor classroom, a new accessible boating pontoon with hoists and a semi-submersible platform, anti-slip flooring and defibrillators. They have also been working hard converting rooms into interconnecting family suites, and installing a biomass boiler as the main heating system to be more sustainable by switching from oil to wood fuel.

Since winning their awards, Calvert Trust Exmoor has experienced an increase in positive media interest as well as adding to their collection of awards received over the last few years! Rob said “We feel that as a whole, this track record of awards and accreditations gives our customers and potential customers reassurance of our ongoing commitment to quality of service and accessibility.”

Thinking about getting your property assessed? Rob said “Definitely do it, purely from a business perspective. 14% of all domestic overnight trips in the UK are for groups where a member of the party has an impairment. This sector is worth £2.7bn; why would you not want to open your business up to an opportunity of that size?”

With Disabled Access Day taking place on 12 March, it is the perfect opportunity for businesses to get involved. Rob said “Don’t feel you have to do something massive; start with something you think you can manage, and get involved. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised by the response you get, and encouraged to get more involved next time around.”

For more information on Access assessments, please contact Quality in Tourism on 0845 300 6996 or email qualityintourism@uk.g4s.com.