Disability Awareness Training

Many disabled people, including their families and friends, are potential customers of the Tourism industry. They would like to enjoy such activites as travel, museums, heritage sites etc. etc. but they are unable to do so due to the lack of access they have to the facilities and services.

Disability awareness training is designed to increase the understanding of disability and access issues. Training should be ongoing and delivered to all staff. The level of training should be dependent upon the role of the employee within the organisation.

Staff that interact with visitors should be provided with full disability awareness training. Whereas staff that do not interact with visitors should be provided with basic disability awareness training.

Photograph showing a training session using sign language

Training courses should include sessions on specific disability groups, i.e. hearing or visual impairments, as well as general awareness. During new staff inductions, disability awareness should be emphasized.

Areas to be highlighted include recognising and understanding the uses of different types of assistance dogs, i.e. guide dogs, hearing dogs, emergency/seizure alert dogs and mobility dogs.

Also, where particular technical equipment, i.e. induction loops, evacuation chairs, etc., are installed, staff must be fully trained in their use.

Tourism and the Disability Discrimination Act

Any service provider who provides a service to the public in the UK, whether they charge for it or not, has duties under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Service providers' responsibilities

An entrance way made accessible for people in wheelchairs

Service providers include holiday accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants and transport providers. They cannot refuse to serve a disabled person or provide a lower standard of service because of their disability unless it can be justified.

Service providers may need to make 'reasonable adjustments' to any barriers that may prevent a disabled person using or accessing their service.

What is a reasonable adjustment?

Under the DDA, service providers only need to make changes that are 'reasonable'.

It's about what is practical to the service provider's individual situation and what resources they may have. They will not be required to make changes that are impractical or beyond their means.

An example of a reasonable change is sending staff on a disability awareness training course to increase awareness of common disability related issues.

Training Courses

There are many disability awareness training courses available. For example, the RNIB offers programmes on:

  • Disability Discrimination Act training - staff will learn how this piece of legislation will affect their organisation and how it's service complies with the Act
  • Disability awareness, customer care and staff training - staff will learn to improve their knowledge of disability issues, improve their communication skills and learn techniques to assist customers with a disability
  • Access visits - ensure the building is accessible to disabled customers; advice on signage, accessibile information and colour contrasting
  • Technology and products - staff will learn about the latest technology and products that will help them help their customers from talking signs to tactile maps, audio description and audio guides
  • Marketing and promotion - staff will be given advice on where and how to promote their service, creat an accessible website and produce accessible information


The above information was collected from the following sources:


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Last updated: 20.11.2009   © Copyright reserved    Website design: Digital Accessibility Team