Australia’s specialist tour operator in blind and low vision travel Cocky Guides recognised alongside industry giants via a virtual ceremony broadcast on Thursday 3 February.
Cocky Guides has created a purpose-built accessible tourism business for blind and low vision Australians, offering fully immersive and engaging sensory experiences to more than 50 destinations across the country.
Owner and founder of Cocky Guides, Buck McFarlane, reckons, “It’s great that the state’s peak tourism organisation, NSW Tourism Industry Council, promote Excellence in Accessible Tourism via the annual NSW Tourism Awards. I created Cocky Guides to deliver destinations differently to an unserved market of over 575,000 blind and low vision Australians. Our small team of dedicated trip leaders were ecstatic when Cocky Guide received the Bronze Award for Excellence in Accessible Tourism.”
James Sardisco, a regular traveller with low vision, who joined the team for the broadcast, believes, “Cocky Guides are changing people’s lives! They help me build my confidence and discover new places that I never thought I’d get to experience, like Fraser Island in Queensland and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. I’m now exploring my own country with a sense of independence, knowing that Cocky Guides will include plenty of tactile and high sensory elements that will keep me engaged.”
Buck says, “I’ve spent over ten years in tourism roles in Australia and Europe. Not once had I met a blind traveller. I found this very surprising considering the number of blind and low vision Australians. I launched Cocky Guides to make travel fun, safe and accessible for the blind and low vision community. Our success in the 2021 NSW Tourism Awards will make it easier to start conversations about small incremental improvements tourism businesses can make to be more inclusive and accessible. Just like the Gold Award recipient Riverside Holiday Resort Urunga and Silver Award recipient Seafarers Diamond Beach.”
Cocky Guides run tactile and sensory group adventures all around Australia. You can find out about upcoming experiences and register for their newsletter online at cockyguides.com.au or by calling 1300 657 640.