VisitScotland held first inclusive fam-trip

VisitScotland held first inclusive fam-trip


Image: Scotland, ancient castle standing on the water


VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourist board, launched first inclusive familiarisation trip, invited two of Europe’s top accessible tour operators got the first-hand experience of Scotland’s tourism offering.

The trip followed Travel Trade Survey revealed that more than half of travel agents reported an increase in request for accessible travel products. Fenna DeSmet, of WeTravel2 in Belgium, and Christel Stejlborg, of HandiTours in Denmark, took part in the trip. 

A survey by Euan’s Guide found that 54 per cent of people with access requirements avoid going to new places if they can’t find information about accessibility. 

The European delegates spent the three days visiting attractions such as the newly opened Clydeside Distillery, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Loch Katrine Experience, Stirling Castle, Royal Yacht Britannia and Beach Wheelchairs North Berwick. All of the attractions visited provide detailed information around their accessibility and make a conscious effort to ensure visitors with access requirements are able to have a good experience. 


Image: the trip group in the Botanic Garden, plants and trees, people with wheelchairs
The inclusive group at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Source: VisitScotland)


Fenna DeSmet, of WeTravel2: “ I am impressed by the fact that Scotland doesn’t seem that accessible from the first sight, but you do a lot to make buildings, castle and historic sights accessible, not only for wheelchair users but also for people with hearing or visual disability or autism. We are very keen to package Scotland for individual travellers, so we can tailor the tour for their interests and requirements”


The trip included stays at the Novotel Glasgow Centre, Stirling Highland Hotel and DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, as well as dining experiences at Mharsanta restaurant in Glasgow and the Amber Restaurant within the Scotch Whisky Experience. All of these venues were carefully chosen due to their accessibility.


Image: Scotland, river, caslte


Christel Stejlborg, of HandiTours: “I’m from Handi Tours in Denmark this is my first time in Scotland and I’m very impressed we will be including Scotland in our tour programme now that we seen a small part of Scotland and hope I can see more. Scotland is a totally new destination for us. I was given the impression that Scotland wasn’t accessible but that’s totally wrong, I’ve seen some of the products and I’m happy and I look forward to working with VisitScotland on developing our programme”

Research shows that one in five people in the UK is disabled. This includes not only wheelchair users but also people with hearing loss, visual impairments. In 2015, £1.3 billion was spent in Scotland, on trips where a member of the party had an impairment. This includes day trips, domestic overnight trips, and inbound trips.

The full list of venues visited was as follows:

  • The Clydeside Distillery
  • Novotel Glasgow Centre
  • Mharsanta restaurant
  • Allied Mobility Accessible Vehicle Hire
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
  • Gartmore House, Stirling
  • Loch Katrine
  • Stirling Court Hotel
  • Stirling Highland Hotel
  • Stirling Castle
  • Motel One Edinburgh
  • Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Beach Wheelchairs North Berwick
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Edinburgh City
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • Scotch Whisky Experience