The 2019 Solheim Cup will be the most inclusive edition of the event ever with the introduction of a new autism friendly quiet room, as well as a host of other initiatives.
The biggest event in women’s golf officially begins today at Gleneagles in Perthshire and organisers are making sure the tournament offers a warm welcome to all.
People on the autism spectrum are being paid special attention at the Solheim Cup with a separate area, away from the buzz of the competition, provided and autism awareness training for volunteers and key public facing staff. The quiet room is just one of several steps taken to make the event inclusive.
In the UK one in five people are disabled and while eight per cent are wheelchair users, there are 70 per cent with invisible disabilities. And studies show that 54 per cent of people with access requirements will avoid businesses and events if they can’t find accessibility information.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will offer disabled spectators who require a carer to assist them one free carer ticket to the event. Specially trained access buddies will also be available to provide specific help to people with limited mobility, sensory impairment, older spectators, people on the autism spectrum and those who just need a little bit of extra help to find their way about.
Free to hire mobility scooters, enhanced accessible toilets, a dedicated blue badge holder car park, viewing platforms for wheelchair users and more will all be provided at the tournament.
Paul Ralph, Access and Inclusion Director at Euan's Guide, said: “We were delighted to be asked to feed into the 2019 Solheim Cup’s accessibility programme.
“For us, this demonstrates an understanding of the importance of co-creating events with disabled people involved in the process.
“We would like to see more events and businesses follow the 2019 Solheim Cup’s example by working with disabled people and making attractions and activities accessible for all.”
Caroline Warburton, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “The 2019 Solheim Cup promises to be a fantastic event for all the family and it is wonderful to have the event so focused on providing a world class experience for everyone.
“The extra measures the team are taking are exemplary and we know that visitors with disabilities and additional needs appreciate events and tourism businesses considering their requirements so that they can be as inclusive as possible. Sharing that message is a top priority for VisitScotland.”
The event offers a significant opportunity to increase the number of golfing visitors to Scotland, but it’s also open to people of all ages and backgrounds, from golf fanatics to those who have never been to a sports event before.
The Opening Ceremony Day – taking place today - will be packed full of great family activities and the impact of this alongside the tournament itself will be felt throughout Perthshire and beyond. And with a TV broadcast audience of potentially 600 million households, this means a lot of eyes will be firmly fixed on Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s aspiration is that the 2019 Solheim Cup is the biggest ever European edition of the event and the most family-focused golf event in history with around 100,000 spectators expected at Gleneagles. Tickets are priced from just £10 for adults with children under-16 admitted free of charge.
Golf tourism is a key part of Scotland’s visitor economy, worth more than £286 million on an annual basis with a target to grow that to £325 million by 2020. Research shows that golf tourists spend around 3.5 times that of a “regular” tourist and with half of all female golfer visitors to Scotland describing themselves as either “luxury” or “holiday” golfers, this indicates a willingness for a high-spend and to undertake a variety of other activities during a golf trip, visiting multiple regions.
Inclusive tourism is also a growing market with a value of £2.6 billion. Statistics reveal that disabled and senior visitors spend significantly more when they go on holiday than other markets.
Find out more on the 2019 Solheim Cup accessibility guide here.
For tickets to the 2019 Solheim Cup visit www.solheimcup2019.com
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