Last week, the region’s largest bus company, Go North East, was recognised at the North East Tourism Awards, picking up silver in the accessibility and inclusive tourism category.
At what is a difficult time for the tourism industry with the current coronavirus crisis, the virtual awards celebrated businesses ranging from visitor attractions to hotels and pubs for their contribution to the region’s tourism offering.
Go North East was recognised for its commitment to providing memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements.
Though things are different at the moment, the bus company would usually run its own key tourism services from this time of year, including the Toon Tour and AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus, on top of other services that allow people to visit the region’s tourist and leisure attractions.
Accessibility is very much at the forefront of what goes on at Go North East, with all buses fully accessible, an easy access guarantee for wheelchair users, and around 60% of its buses now having next-stop audio-visual announcements on board.
Go North East bus drivers also undergo disability awareness training, and over the last few years the company has worked in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to support their ‘Dementia Friends’ programme, which includes training for all its bus drivers so they can spot behaviours of dementia sufferers and deal with their needs.
Additionally, the bus operator has just launched a new website that comes with many accessibility benefits, including ‘Recite Me’ which allows website visitors to have content read out to them, as well as having the ability to customise the site colours and appearance in a way that works best for them.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East, said: “It’s great to be recognised as a company that provides memorable experiences for our customers, particularly at this difficult time when things are very different and equally difficult for the tourism industry.
“We’re looking forward to when things can begin to slowly return to normal and we can again help transport people across our beautiful region to the many amazing attractions that are on offer.”
To find out more about Go North East, visit www.gonortheast.co.uk.