The Frankston Visitor Information Centre supports tourism in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region. Over 95,000 people from all parts of Australia and overseas come into the Centre each year. The Centre is run by 4 paid staff (1 full time and 3 part-time) and 32 volunteers. The Centre has a paid up membership of 260. Members businesses are promoted and advertised by displaying their goods or brochures at the Centre.
The Frankston Visitor Information Centre has won both the RACV Victorian Tourism Award and the Australian Tourism Award for 2012 and 2013. Natalie Nash, the Visitor Information Centre Officer, spoke briefly about their journey to becoming accessible at the Victorian Tourism Summit in August 2013. Following that she received a number of enquiries from other Visitor Information Centres asking how they could become accessible. She has since been asked to present on becoming accessible at the next Victorian Tourism Summit in 2014.
To become communication accessible the Centre worked in partnership with Zita Canning from the Peninsula & South East Regional Communication Service.
The following steps were completed:
- Management completed the Self-Assessment Questionnaire to identify areas that needed to be improved to become communication accessible.
- Staff and volunteers attended a Listening and Learning to Communicate with Everyone (LACE) training session. This has improved customer service and staff confidence when interacting with people who have communication difficulties.
- Picture symbols were designed to extend the tourism symbol set already available. The Centre will be advocating to Victorian Tourism that the existing tourism symbol set be expanded and used consistently across the sector.
- 2 communication boards and an alphabet board were developed and produced. These are clearly displayed at the front desk and on the wall of the Centre.
- The physical layout of the Centre was improved by placing display stands, tables and shelves in a way that allows people to see everything without having to negotiate up and down aisles. Wheelchairs can now move freely through the Centre.
- The pamphlet display was grouped into categories which are identified by a picture symbol. This enables people to scan for the category they are interested in and then see all the businesses in the region they can access.
The staff and volunteers of the Frankston Visitor Information Centre reported that they had found the journey to becoming communication accessible an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
The Centre plans to promote to members that they become communication accessible. This would include staff training and developing resources such as communication boards, picture menus and ‘easy to read’ pamphlets.
By Zita Canning