London is a world tourist destination. The city has a mix of old and new infrastructure. This presents a challenge that all historic cities face when addressing accessibility and investing in changes while maintaining a ‘sense of place’ and identity.
London has a policy of inclusive design for the benefit of both residents and visitors to ensure that as many as possible can enjoy the city. The new build can incorporate accessibility from the outset, however, it becomes more costly to change a public realm, much of which was developed in the nineteenth century.
This requires long-term investment, which London has made and continues to make, as it undertakes a program of change that takes it into the future. The Mayor of London champions accessibility and supports changes through a framework of policy and strategy that the Greater London Authority has developed.
London is a world-class city and a key destination for inbound visitors to the UK. In 2012, 15.5 million visitors spent time in the capital, spending over £10bn.
This represents 54% of all inbound visitor spending in the UK (?). Tourism supports 226,000 jobs or around 5 percent of all employment in the capital and accounts for £6.6 billion ‘tourism direct Gross Value Added ‘of £34.3 billion nationally
Being ‘accessible’ is a very broad term and covers many individual needs. It is not therefore easy, or indeed possible, to map everything that is being done in London to meet the very wide range of needs of people with a range of disabilities or impairments, for example from mobility, hearing, and visual to learning difficulties, dietary requirements, allergies, and long-term illness.
OVERVIEW AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
All tourism businesses in the United Kingdom have obligations under The Equality Act 2010, which requires them to treat everyone accessing their goods, facilities, or services fairly, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion, or belief. They are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the built environment and the services and facilities they provide.
However, a report, Games Changer’ commissioned by the GLA in March 2013, identifies that ‘stakeholders, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, state that disability is losing prominence within the confines of the Equality Act’. It’s observed that at the borough level ‘disability is now a “subset of absolutely everything”’.