Tourism businesses are being urged to overcome barriers for autistic people

A new web-based guide – Welcoming Autistic People – developed by VisitEngland, the National Autistic Society and England’s Tourism Action Group, provides advice on how to ensure autistic people and their families receive the best experience.

BY being socially inclusive tourism businesses can tap into the £12 billion spent on trips where a member of the party had an impairment, according to VisitEngland’s research in 2015.

“Over 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK and many would love to visit heritage sites and other tourist attractions but are prevented from doing so because unfamiliar and unpredictable places make them extremely anxious,” said autism access development manager at the National Autistic Society Daniel Cadey.

“Our recent research revealed that 79% of autistic people and 70% of family members feel socially isolated because they are unable to access places others take for granted.”

VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes added: “By following the tips in this new guide, businesses can offer autistic people and their families and friends the very best experiences when visiting our attractions, accommodation and tourism businesses, increasing the value this important sector brings to tourism and the economy across England.”

 The guide provides tourism businesses with tips and practical advice including the provision of visual stories, quiet spaces, ear defenders and sensory backpacks to help autistic people and their families prepare for and enjoy a visit.

Click here to download the guide.

picture of an autistic girl with the strapline 'understanding austism and what you can do to help'VisitEngland Research reveals:

  • In 2015, nearly one in five tourism day trips in England were taken by people with an impairment and their travelling companions, spending £8.5 billion.
  • In 2015, 18% of all overnight trips by British residents in England were taken by those with an impairment and their travelling companions, worth £3.2 billion.
  • Over half a million people with a health condition or impairment visit England from abroad each year, spending around £3 million.

Visitors who make up the accessible tourism market are:

  • More likely to take longer trips
  • Find seaside destinations particularly appealing
  • Anecdotally very loyal

    Picture of a graph to show research by VisitEngland 2015
    VisitEngland research 2015



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here