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Councils encouraged to boost hearing loss awareness for tourists

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Businesses in the south of England are being encouraged to improve their facilities so that deaf visitors can be more welcomed in the area, including adding services that will help tourists who have hearing difficulties.

Charity Action on Hearing Loss has joined forced with national tourist board VisitEngland to develop a free guide that will offer full support and advice for companies which want to become more accessible for visitors. The Listen Up booklet ensures that everyone is given full information and examples of how they can enjoy their local area whilst having a great experience in the process.

Paul Breckell, chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss, said: "We are delighted to be working with VisitEngland to publish the Listen Up guide. It will help tourism businesses to improve the accessibility of their services for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, invest in hearing loss support and generate more income."

Campaigners will hope that not only will more companies in the region take on the advice, but if the scheme is deemed a success, other local authorities may follow in tow. It is very important that beyond the personal improvements that individuals undergo, such as ear protection and hearing aids, that local companies invest in facilities that will make it easier for customers to connect with brands. A specific investment now may lead to a long-term boost to local economies.

This is especially the case for the southern region of England which attracts the most tourists from all over the world and the rest of the UK. In 2011, visitors to London ended up spending £9.4 billion, which is a little over half of the total amount that foreign visitors spent in the whole of the UK in the same year, according to VisitBritain figures.

The Listen Up booklet is available to view here.

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