Bellingen Shire Council
Increase understanding of the accessible tourism market.
Improve access within the Shire for both visitors and the local community.
Over the last four years Inclusive Tourism and Bellingen Shire Council have worked in partnership to implement several initiatives. In 2018 we designed and delivered of a range of professional development workshops for tourism operators.
Initial workshops focused on increasing awareness of the value of the inclusive tourism market. Subsequent workshops provided training on customer service for visitors with both visible and invisible disabilities.
In 2020 we began development of an Inclusive Tourism Strategy for Bellingen Shire. The process included community consultations with local tourism operators, residents, and community groups to understand the priorities for development. A destination assessment was conducted of 7 natural sites owned by Council and upgrade opportunities were identified. The strategy was ratified by Council in October 2021.
The Strategy will assist Council to plan capital expenditure to improve infrastructure accessibility.
An Inclusive Tourism Guide was developed for each attraction to provide information for visitors. A Guide for Businesses was also produced to support local operators.
Melissa James has also mentored Riverside Resort, a local business resulting in the Operator seeing a significant increase in occupancy rates and receiving numerous awards including a NSW State Tourism Award of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism.
The awareness and customer service training has also been adopted by Coffs Council and Destination North Coast and delivered throughout the North Coast Region.
“Bellingen Shire Council recognises both the moral and ethical value of addressing accessibility constraints across the Shire. This work will place the Shire in a very competitive position from a tourism perspective – helping to raise the profile of the destination as one that specialises in inclusive tourism and can capably service the Baby Boomer market.” Michael Grieve