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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The National Accessible Scheme

The National Accessible Scheme (NAS) aims to help service providers within the tourism industry make their services more accessible, allowing more disabled people to use them.

The scheme and its associated standards

The NAS is a voluntary scheme in which accommodation providers can participate, in order to accurately promote the facilities they offer to disabled guests or older visitors.

The NAS identifies how accessible the accommodation is to people who may have difficulty walking, use a wheelchair, or have a sensory impairment.

The ratings are split into three categories, for:

  • mobility impaired people
  • blind or visually impaired people
  • deaf or hearing impaired people

The individual ratings are represented by symbols displayed on websites and used in promotional literature such as the Easy Access Britain guidebook.

Information about the scheme, including pictures and explanation of the symbols, is available on the enjoyEngland website, where you can also search for hotels, B&Bs, campsites and self-catering accommodation rated under the NAS.

Independent assessment

All properties that display an NAS symbol show that they meet the requirements of the NAS and have been independently audited by trained assessors.

Proprietors of accommodation taking part in the National Accessible Scheme have gone out of their way to ensure a comfortable stay for guests with hearing, visual or mobility needs.

Accessibility features may include handrails, ramps and step free entrances, level-access showers and colour contrast in the bathrooms.

Members of staff may have attended a disability awareness course and know what assistance will really be appreciated.

When you see one of the symbols, you can be sure that the accommodation and core facilities have been thoroughly assessed against demanding criteria. If you have additional needs or special requirements, you should make sure these can be met by your chosen establishment before you confirm your reservation.

Information for tourism accommodation providers

Detailed information for businesses, including how to apply, can be found on VisitEngland's tourism trade website.

Additionally, accommodation providers can download self survey documents in pdf format to assess the current status of their business.

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