Parks Victoria admitted in Hall of Fame at Victorian Tourism Awards

Friday 29 November, 2019

Parks Victoria admitted in Hall of Fame at Victorian Tourism Awards for inclusive and accessible nature-based tourism

Parks Victoria has taken out the Specialised Tourism Category at the Victorian Tourism Awards three years in a row for providing specialist, inclusive and accessible tourism services that enable more people with disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of nature.

Presented last night at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Victorian Tourism Awards showcase and recognise the state’s leaders in tourism excellence encouraging organisations to meet and exceed industry standards, excellence and innovation. Over 30 years, more than 3,000 businesses have entered the Awards.

This entry into the Award’s Hall of Fame recognises a number of initiatives Parks Victoria has implemented over the past year including a new camping program, in partnership with YMCA, for people with spinal cord injuries at Wilsons Promontory National Park, the first publicly available wheelchair friendly hoist at Patterson River, new culturally-inclusive guided Women’s Walks, resources for children with autism to prepare ahead of park visits, a new Parks Victoria visitor website with accessible visitor information and Victoria’s first dementia-friendly designed walking trail.

The award is good news for the one-in-five Australians living with a disability, as accessing parks and natural places presents significant barriers so these initiatives ensure even more people are able to enjoy access to nature-based recreational opportunities. With an ageing population, Parks Victoria expects the demand for specialised inclusive tourism products and services are set to grow.

Similarly, the increase in migration in Victoria sees an increase in the number of Victorians entertaining international friends and relatives and showing them Victoria’s diverse landscapes. This trend is evidenced by a 200 per cent increase in visitors from non-English speaking backgrounds in the past twelve years.

Having won the Specialised Tourism Category over three consecutive years, Parks Victoria has been admitted into the Award’s Hall of Fame. The organisation follows universal design principles and has rolled out training to upskill frontline staff, volunteers and partners on best practice services for people with disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Quotes attributed to Matthew Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Parks Victoria

“We’re thrilled to have received this prestigious accolade for our accessible and inclusive services that improve the health outcomes of people with disabilities as well as those from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Parks Victoria is the largest nature-based tourism provider in Victoria receiving more than 130 million visits each year. We are committed to partnering with specialised organisations in delivering inclusive tourism services to improve the experience for people of all abilities and backgrounds, ensured through our Disability Action Plan and Cultural Diversity Plan.”

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