Whitepaper ‘Pleasure for all!’

‘Pleasure for all!’

A white paper on the issue of accessibility and inclusiveness at Dutch day attractions, now and in 10 years’ time.

In this white paper, I discuss the accessibility and inclusiveness of Dutch day attractions. Guests, Dutch and European laws and regulations, the government and society demand more facilities for people with disabilities. Reviews from guests, social media (think Facebook groups like ‘Wheelchair mafia’ and ‘Eelkedroomt’) and newspaper articles, mean that a day attraction can be framed as ‘inaccessible’ faster than before. Day attractions can no longer avoid the accessibility issue. At the same time, this is also an opportunity! Indeed, Gardaland had an increase in sales of day tickets and season passes in 2019 compared to 2017 partly due to its inclusion strategy.

In 10 years
In 10 years, it will be normal for everyone to have fun during a day out. Parks will have adapted their strategies and policies to accommodate guests with disabilities. They see meaningful enjoyment as an opportunity. In cooperation with interest and industry organisations, they have translated this throughout their entire operations. Things will soon be different on three variables: attraction, infrastructure, and employees. Adapted and new attractions There are enough physically adapted attractions on site. And new attractions have been created with new technologies to attract a new audience; guests with disabilities. In the process, smart phones, VR and AR are increasingly being used to offer customised services. This leads to improving personalised guest experiences, a guest’s engagement with an attraction and sharing the experience with friends and family. This is especially promising for a guest with mild intellectual disabilities; a mobile is important to them and they are agile with it. Wi-Fi tracking and Big Data are going to help attractions optimise guest experiences and create interactions with guests with disabilities. Stories will be brought to life that match the feelings and emotions of this target group. With VR, multi-sensory experiences can also be created which is a nice new offering for guests with visual or hearing impairments, for example. New attractions are already designed during the design phase in coordination with the target group and with their network (parents/carers/doctors/ teachers/therapists).

Adapted infrastructure

In addition, leisure entrepreneurs have adapted the necessary infrastructure on site and facilitate guests with tools. Here, innovative robots can be used, as will happen during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They bring wheelchair users to an attraction, carry food and other things and provide guests with information. All communication and information tools are adapted to guests with special needs; from an accessible website, an app to a visitor centre specifically for them. The government, partly from the Environment Act, has invested in accessible infrastructure to a day attraction. The legislator has ensured that accessibility can also be enforced, as in Sweden, for example. Partly for this reason, the Building Decree has been amended.

Guests and employees with disabilities

For employees, it is normal that some guests as well as some colleagues have a disability. They know about it and have the skills to deal with it. Therefore, auxiliary foundations as third parties are especially needed in the theme park. Inclusiveness and accessibility are an integral part of strategy and operational implementation on site. For guests with disabilities, this is nicer because they are then considered normal and just belong. That is their greatest wish of all! Then they don’t have a lot of preparation stress beforehand. Municipalities actively facilitate theme parks to place employees from the lower end of the labour market. Both in the form of financial allowances and instruments to be used. In addition, volunteers are present at the park who can support customers with disabilities and they are able to answer any questions. Supervisors do not always have to accompany them separately.



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