Issued by: St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs
Date: 25th March 2019
- St Andrews and North East Fife to benefit from Accessibility Destination App
- St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs service to be enhanced to include Accessibility Destination App for 2019 season
- St Andrews and North East Fife embracing opportunities to further improve visitor experience
The St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs service has been hugely popular since the launch at the start of the 2018 tourism season, with over one hundred bookings in the first summer of operation and customers travelling from all over Scotland to use the beach-friendly wheelchairs and enjoy the additional St Andrews tourism offering.
With the 2019 beach wheelchairs seasonal service planned for opening on 15th April, visitors with accessibility requirements will also benefit from the ability to download a new Accessibility Destination App which will list businesses, venues and attractions that offer accessible facilities in St Andrews and throughout North East Fife. The “Scotland’s Accessible Beaches” App will be free to download and will provide information on accessible facilities available at the listed locations including their contact and locational details.
Commenting on the launch of Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App, Debbie Maccallum, Chair of Tourism St Andrews (the local tourism association) and a founder of local fundraising charity the Hamish McHamish Foundation, said: “Accessible tourism for all is not only about providing access to people with disabilities, it also addresses the creation of environments that can support people that may have temporary disabilities, families with young children and the ever increasing ageing population.
“We want to create an accessible tourism destination of St Andrews and North East Fife through the Beach Wheelchairs service, but the wheelchairs are just the beginning of the journey in working towards an accessible town and surrounding tourism area. The new App will bring us closer to this, as users will not only be able to book the St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs but also view restaurants, accommodation and other points of interest, all with good information regarding accessible facilities, in and around this beautiful part of Scotland. We are interested to hear from any businesses and organisations in the area who wish to be listed on the App.”
The launch of the new Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App coincided with Disabled Access Day on Saturday 16th March and, as part of the Disabled Access Day celebrations, St Andrews Castle hosted the St Andrews Beach wheelchairs at the historic attraction for visitors to use.
Joyce Kitching, Tourism and Destination Development Manager at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who manage St Andrew’s Castle said: “We were delighted to assist in making the beach wheelchairs available at St Andrew’s Castle for Disabled Access Day, and hope that many visitors will make use of them to explore this fascinating site.
“At HES, we are committed to making our sites more accessible and ensuring the historic environment can be enjoyed by everyone. We welcome the launch of the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App which will help showcase St Andrews as a destination for accessible tourism.”
The group are also working closely with VisitScotland to improve the accessible information available to users and have initiated a project to actively assist businesses to create their Access Guides using VisitScotland guidelines.
Marina DiDuca, Inclusive Tourism Manager at VisitScotland, said: “The historic town of St Andrews is world-famous for its tourism offering, including its beautiful sandy beach. It’s important that everyone can enjoy this offering and the Scotland’s Accessible Beach App will provide valuable information to visitors with access requirements so they can plan their trip and ensure they have the best experience possible.
“The development of apps like this are essential for destinations to connect visitors to their accessible services, facilities, events and attractions. At VisitScotland we want to champion collaboration, spearhead digital innovation, promote local areas and ensure that tourism is recognised for the ripple effect of success, well-being and prosperity it brings to all sections of society”.
Amy Newton, Branch Coordinator for the MS Society Fife, said: “Living with Multiple Sclerosis is a minefield of limitations and ever changing symptoms. When looking for days out, being able to have an App at your fingertips which will show areas and their accessibility is a welcome tool. Being able to see at a click the areas where we can access will save so much time and energy and make days out more fulfilling and enjoyable for all. MS Fife fully supports the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App and believes the App will be extremely beneficial, to not only those with MS but all disabilities, and their families”.
Moira Henderson MBE, Chair of Fife Tourism Partnership, said: “I am delighted to see that St Andrews is leading the way in making the beaches in Fife accessible and the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App will provide visitors to the area with a good source of information to ensure that their visit can be well planned and thoroughly enjoyable. This is another gem for Accessible Tourism in the Kingdom of Fife.
“In St Andrews, North East Fife and beyond we have an abundance of things to see and do and we are already seeing repeat bookings coming through. I would encourage all the tourism venues and attractions in the area to engage with this initiative. Our message to everyone is “Welcome to Fife”.”
For more information contact:
The St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs service will be available from 15th April 2019 with availability to hire free of charge on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of September 2019. Bookings can be made via the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App, the Hamish Foundation website www.hamishfoundation.co.uk or by calling 03000 122014
The Hamish McHamish Foundation is a registered charity in Scotland registration number SC045383
Tourism businesses and attractions with accessible facilities that wish to be listed on the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App and require more information should email Hamish@hamishfoundation.co.uk
Image attached: Amy Newton of MS Society Fife using one of the St Andrews Beach Wheelchairs and viewing the Scotland’s Accessible Beaches App. From left to right Debbie McCallum (left), Amy Newton (centre), Peter Newton (right)