Inclusive Business and Tourism

Image of wheelchair on a footpath

Bellingen Shire Council is working across a number of levels to prepare for and attract the inclusive tourism market including working with local and regional tourism associations, local chambers of commerce, local business, various service providers and possible funding sources.

Apart from the legal, ethical and moral obligation to ensure our destination is accessible to everyone, it also makes really good business sense.

The inclusive tourism market in Australia is worth $8 billion, there are 8.2 million visitor nights, ninety percent of people with a disability take holidays once a year and over twenty percent of Australians have a disability.  

People with disabilities spend 1.5 times more than others, stay an average of 8 nights, are often in groups of four or more and tend to travel during the quieter times.  Inclusiveness and accessibility doesn’t just cover people with disabilities it also considers the elderly, families travelling with small children and people with illness and temporary injuries as well. More than 50% of people over the age of 55 will have some sort of disability – whether they identify with it or not.

“When you consider that tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry worldwide and that Inclusive Tourism will account for 25% of the market by 2020, it is crucial that we develop an inclusive culture within our local tourism industry”, said Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Dominic King.

Inclusive Tourism Pty Ltd will be rolling out training for businesses over coming months. This will cover an Introduction to Accessible Tourism and Disability Awareness Training. Council has applied for funding under the Northcott FundAbility Program to assist participants with the cost of attending this training.  

If you are interested in participating in the training, please register your interest with our Economic Development Unit on 6655 7306 or email:

Council is also developing a register of accessible businesses across our Shire. If you have an accessible business or some facilities that make you more accessible than others, please let us know.  Our aim is to develop an Inclusive Tourism campaign and feature our local businesses who are market leaders in this space.

If you would like to learn some simple pointers on how to improve your business to be more accessible, there is a great on-line course available through the Office of Local Government website at

More information will be available at the North Coast Tourism Symposium on 25 July in Coffs Harbour. If you would like to attend the workshop on inclusive tourism, please register through the Council contact above.