The Minister for Disabled People has warned London visitor attractions they are “missing a trick” if they fail to cash in on the “Purple Pound” spent by disabled people.
Britons with disabilities and their families have £200 billion worth of spending power that London’s galleries, theatres and parks should be bidding for, said Mark Harper, the Minister for Disabled People.
For the first time, Visit England have drawn up a list of London’s best tourist attractions for accessibility, headed by the National Theatre, St Martin-in-theFields church, and the Science Museum.
But at the same time the respite charity Vitalise has audited the country’s 100 most popular attractions, and found that many of London’s favourites are falling short.
Almost two-thirds of the attractions said they were not fully wheelchair accessible, and a quarter had no spaces for disabled people’s cars. Only 13 per cent gave trained staff on disability awareness.
“Everyone deserves to enjoy the world-renowned tourist attractions we’ve got to offer in London – people with disabilities are no exception,” said Mr Harper. “It doesn’t take much to make your business more disabled-friendly and I’m urging everyone in the tourism industry in London to look at what more they can do to better cater for disabled travellers.
“Businesses are missing a trick by not doing more to tap into this market. Being more accessible is a no-brainer.”
Eleven million Britons have a disability while many of the 32 million visitors from overseas have access needs.
The colour purple was adopted by many disability campaigners in recent years and the term Purple Pound was coined to convey the market power of people with disabilities. It echoes the Pink Pound, which transformed business attitudes to gay consumers, and the Grey Pound of the growing elderly population.
London’s Top 5 for Disabled Visitors
* National Theatre – offers special shows, with captions for deaf people and audio for visually-impaired people, plus tours, Braille brochures and headsets.
* St Martin-in-the-Fields – baroque church dating to 1222 made fully accessible, with ramps and lifts even to the crypt and special concerts.
* Science Museum – Loads of material and events featuring large print, Braille and the Makaton sign language for those with communicative disabilities.
* British Museum – Awe-inspiring collection of the world’s most precious artefacts is one of London’s most accessible places, and even has casts of the Elgin Marbles for blind people to touch.
* Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – London’s favourite garden boasts a fleet of scooters, smooth paths and ramps plus a mobility bus tour.
… and three that could do better
* HMS Belfast – Former warship is rated at 49% by Vitalise because of “bad” overall accessibility.
* Tower of London – Ancient fort scores 51%, for not enough loos and no disabled parking.
* Westminster Abbey – Gothic church of royal coronations achieves 63%, with good overall accessibility.
Read the full article at the London Evening Standard.