The news comes today as the Government published it National Disability Strategy, which sets out its vision to improve the everyday lives of disabled people. Its strategy has been developed with the input of more than 14,000 disabled people, as well as disability organisations, businesses, policy experts and many others.
More than one-in-five people in the UK are disabled, equating to over 14m people. One area that has been highlighted in the report is that many disabled people feel excluded from leisure and socialising and that practical accessibility issues, stigma and the need to carefully manage energy levels and pain were all barriers to participation.
The report also revealed that 13.9% of disabled people regularly feel lonely, compared with 3.8% of non-disabled people.
As part of the Government approach it is looking to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe. The Department for Culture, Media & Sport will work with work with VisitBritain and VisitEngland and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to promote the importance of accessible tourism in the media and to businesses.
Nicholls has been appointed as the first ever hospitality sector Disability Ambassador. She highlighted that the sector has always striven to welcome team members and customers from all backgrounds and levels of physical or mental ability. But added with the ongoing reopening of venues it has underlined the prime objective of hospitality – to make people feel safe, welcome and comfortable, in order to enjoy good company and great food and drink.
First Disability Ambassador
“I am honoured to have been appointed as the hospitality sector’s first Disability Ambassador, a role that I shall use to ensure that our sector becomes even better at accommodating customers with disabilities, as well as providing employment – there is huge potential for great jobs and careers for those with disabilities, “ Nicholls said.
“This will boost the difference that we can make to deliver on our previous commitment in the Tourism Sector Deal, to make our sector more accessible and to work to broaden public understanding of disability and accessibility, beyond simply visible disabilities.”
The Tourism Sector deal was launched in 2019, and showed how government and industry would work in partnership to boost productivity, develop the skills of the UK workforce and support destinations to enhance their visitor offer. The deal was described as ‘tremendous’ at the time.
In 2016 a House of Lords Committee said pubs that don’t provide facilities for disabled people should be shut down.