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12 Feb 2018

Increase in dementia-friendly tourist attractions could boost Scottish tourism

The Scottish Government has been urged to create a register of accredited dementia-friendly attractions in the country to provide a boost to tourism and help families with members suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Conservative MSP and shadow culture secretary Rachael Hamilton has launched a campaign calling for a national accreditation scheme, stating that such a programme would help open Scottish tourism to the 1.7 million dementia patients and their carers in the UK.

In addition to helping people and families dealing with such conditions, the creation of a register would encourage other businesses to improve their facilities, according to the MSP, positioning Scotland as a leading player as a dementia-friendly destination.

“The tourism industry in Scotland is more reliant on elderly customers than perhaps many people realise,” said Hamilton.

“The sector, like everyone else, has a role to play in improving the lives of these vulnerable patients, and this would be a good way to do it.”

In addition to creating a register, Hamilton called on the government to help support businesses on a range of measures to make their attraction more accessible for dementia sufferers, such as helping to train staff in how to deal with challenges presented by visitors with dementia, and help in making necessary changes to any physical infrastructure. It has also been suggested that registered attractions could host memory cafés and workshops, also organising bespoke tours for care homes.

“Trips to these attractions could become more feasible, and that in turn helps with a degree of independent living and keeping up levels of physical exercise,” she said.

“I hope this is something all political parties in Scotland can get behind to make a positive difference for patients, carers and the tourism economy in general.”


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