UK tourism industry encouraged to be more dementia-friendly

Loch Kinord viewpoint, Muir of Dinnet.

VisitEngland and VisitScotland have launched a new guide to help tourism businesses become more dementia-friendly, to help improve sufferers quality of life and place themselves in a sector expected to be worth more than GBP23 billion within the next four years.

The Dementia-Friendly Tourism Guide, launched in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, supports tourism businesses in accommodating visitors living with dementia through top tips, case studies and signposts to resources.

The guide, developed with England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group, lists the benefits that businesses will experience alongside the huge impact that these can have on the lives of 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Improvements do not need to involve significant investment and the guide highlights the small steps businesses can take, organised around the themes of Information, People and Place.

Visitors with dementia face a number of challenges including having the confidence to travel, communicating in noisy environments and becoming disorientated when navigating new places or long routes.

By becoming dementia-friendly, a business will be able to help people with dementia live better lives. Employers will also experience many benefits, such as increased revenue and competitive advantage, improved customer service and enhanced reputation. It will also improve seasonal spread as tourists with dementia prefer to travel in quieter periods and will future-proof businesses by tapping into a growth market.

Under the Equality Act 2010, organisations have a legal obligation to ensure consumers are adequately protected and that access to services is as inclusive as possible. This includes making ‘reasonable adjustments’ for customers and staff with disabilities, including people with dementia.

Ross Calladine VisitEngland’s head of business support said: “Using the practical tips outlined in the guide businesses will make significant improvements to the lives of people living with dementia, their carers and loved ones, and drive the economic benefits of tourism further.

“The value of this sector is expected to rise to GBP23 billion by 2020 presenting a great opportunity for tourism businesses to offer the warmest of welcomes to people with dementia.”

“It’s vital that we do everything we can to make sure everyone with dementia can continue to lead full and meaningful lives”

Sally Copley, director of policy and campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society said:“Everyone deserves a short break or holiday to relax and recharge. We are delighted to be uniting with VisitEngland and VisitScotland and raising awareness of what’s possible when the right support and adjustments are put in place, so people with dementia can still get out and enjoy life while creating memories with loved ones.

“Until we find a cure, it’s vital that we do everything we can to make sure everyone with dementia can continue to lead full and meaningful lives. VisitEngland and VisitScotland join more than three million Dementia Friends and hundreds of communities and other organisations in making this a reality.”

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