Disabled visitors to Scotland should be considered valuable customers who require new and innovative customer service and not be seen as part of "risk management" according to the national tourism organisation VisitScotland.
Chris McCoy, equality and diversity manager at VisitScotland, will address delegates at the Rehabilitation International (RI) World Congress in Edinburgh today (27 October) to highlight the importance of Scotland's £1.3b accessible tourism market.
VisitScotland's Accessible Tourism Programme aims to harness the growing high-value accessible tourism market, and for Scotland to become internationally recognised as a leading destination for people with access needs.
McCoy said: "Legislation in the UK has empowered disabled people, making it illegal for service providers to discriminate on the grounds of disability, but it has not enabled them.
"VisitScotland believes access is enshrined only as a compliance issue, not a market issue. Disabled people still have difficulty finding businesses to cater for their access requirements, and provide adequate information to help make informed choices.
"Disabled people are seen as ‘risk management', requiring expensive adjustments, but not as valued customers, requiring new and innovative customer service.
"Changes have to be transformational and our aim is to move the mindset of the industry and the driver for accessible tourism from compliance into the competitive marketplace."
Hosted by disability employment charity Shaw Trust Scotland, the RI Congress at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is seeking to influence disability and inclusion policy at a global level.
More than 1,000 people from over 60 countries are expected to attend the event.