Accessibility and volunteering big winners at Victorian Tourism Awards
Parks Victoria’s commitment to accessibility and the enormous contribution of its volunteers were last night recognised by the Victorian tourism industry.
In claiming its second consecutive Gold award in the Specialised Tourism Services category, Parks Victoria has been celebrated as a leader of inclusive and accessible nature-based tourism.
Key initiatives to increase accessibility include all-terrain wheelchairs in national parks; welcome information for children on the Autism spectrum; customised canoe-launchers; a dementia-sensory trail; hoists to improve boat access from piers and jetties; and a range of accessible accommodation.
In receiving the Gold award for Outstanding Contribution by Volunteers category, Parks Victoria’s 20,000 dedicated and passionate volunteers were recognised contributing a record 280,000 hours of their time.
Volunteers provide enormous support to Parks Victoria in its management of a diverse landscape of 4.1 million hectares and 70% of the coastline, including some of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.
In addition to protecting our world-class natural environment, volunteers provide a unique service to park visitors. This includes as campground hosts, track rangers, all-terrain wheelchair ‘Sherpas’, and by providing visitor research, interpretation, and guided walks.
The Victorian Tourism Awards represent an industry framework for peer recognition which fosters a culture for business development excellence and innovation. The Awards have influenced the Victorian Tourism Industry for over 30 years in striving for excellence.
Parks Victoria will now compete as a finalist in the 2018 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, to be announced in March 2019 for the Specialised Tourism Services Category.
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria, Parks Victoria Chief Executive Officer Matthew Jackson:
“We’re thrilled to see our volunteers and staff recognised for their enormous contribution to nature-based tourism.”
“We know that being out in nature provides a boost to people’s mental and physical wellbeing, so we’ll continue to explore new ways to get people of all abilities out into the outdoors.”
“Central to this, will be the continued and invaluable support from the thousands of volunteers who set aside their time to enhance the quality of people’s visits to Victoria’s parks and reserves, and help us in protecting and enhancing our fabulous natural environment.”