Australia’s Sensory-Inclusive Tourist Town

Published 09 May 2023

2 min read

Tourism, hospitality and leisure brands must prioritise their accessibility protocols – not only to ensure greater inclusivity, but also to benefit commercially. With this in mind, Phillip Island off Australia’s southern coast is set to be the country’s first Sensory Inclusive tourist town.

In 2022, local conservation organisation Phillip Island Nature Parks teamed up with US non-profit KultureCity in a bid to become Australia’s first Sensory Inclusive-certified nature experience operator. The partnership is now expanding its efforts across Phillip Island to create multiple safe spaces for neurodivergent visitors and those with sensory processing disorder.

Aiming to train 50 shops, attractions and hospitality establishments across the island, the initiative has already prepared several businesses to recognise potential sensory overload. Suggested accessible measures include minimising loud noises in cafés and restaurants, offering quiet zones, and replacing loud hand dryers with paper towels in bathrooms. The organisation hopes these efforts will secure a Sensory Inclusive status for the tourist hotspot.

While some destinations like Phillip Island have enthusiastically welcomed such inclusive strategies, others are still behind in their efforts – only 54% of global consumers say they’ve seen travel/tourism options that are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled people (Expedia Group, 2022).

 

In 2022, local conservation organisation Phillip Island Nature Parks teamed up with US non-profit KultureCity in a bid to become Australia’s first Sensory Inclusive-certified nature experience operator. The partnership is now expanding its efforts across Phillip Island to create multiple safe spaces for neurodivergent visitors and those with sensory processing disorder.

Aiming to train 50 shops, attractions and hospitality establishments across the island, the initiative has already prepared several businesses to recognise potential sensory overload. Suggested accessible measures include minimising loud noises in cafés and restaurants, offering quiet zones, and replacing loud hand dryers with paper towels in bathrooms. The organisation hopes these efforts will secure a Sensory Inclusive status for the tourist hotspot.

While some destinations like Phillip Island have enthusiastically welcomed such inclusive strategies, others are still behind in their efforts – only 54% of global consumers say they’ve seen travel/tourism options that are accessible to both disabled and non-disabled people (Expedia Group, 2022).