Venues involved in the Government’s new Tourism Sector Deal are being urged to address their toilet provision as part of the accessibility target.

The Deal aims to see the UK become the most accessible destination in Europe by 2025. Closomat says appropriate toilets play a bigger role than people realise in the decision over where to go, what to do, where to stay.

Robin Tuffley, Closomat marketing manager, puts the concept into perspective: “We go to the toilet on average eight times a day. Next time you go out, with family or friends, take a moment to think about the impact if you can’t find a suitable WC. Next time you stay in a hotel, think about how you would cope if you couldn’t stand or walk unaided: how would you get to the bathroom? The Government’s own research as part of the Tourism Deal states some 1/2million British adults cited lack of accessibility provision as the reason why they did not take a domestic trip in the last year.

“The key criteria are a wash and dry toilet, ceiling tack hoist and adult-sized changing bench. The wash and dry toilet actually goes way beyond conventional ‘disabled’ accessibility: it meets Oriental and Islamic hygiene practice, and is increasingly perceived as aspirational fixture in the bathroom. The hoist takes up no additional space within existing hotel bedrooms, en-suites, nor in a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet. Providing such facilities can be used as a promotional tool to encourage more people to visit, stay at your venue, enabling you to take a greater share of a market currently worth £12billion a year.” Under British Standards (BS8300:3018), 5% of bedrooms with en-suites should be wheelchair accessible; 1% should include a tracked hoist. Similarly, venues to which the public have access should provide an assisted accessible WC (aka a Changing Places toilet) in addition to wheelchair-accessible facilities. This latter is currently the subject of a Government consultation, which may see Changing Places made a compulsory requirement in large developments (new build or refurbishment).

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