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Sep 12th 2010

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Sydney for all wins global innovation award

Dr Simon Darcy has led a team of academics, government providers and private sector businesses to win the World Leisure Organisations Innovation Prize for 2010, presented in South Korea this month.

The World Leisure International Innovation Prize recognises organisations that have implemented creative solutions which foster local, national or international leisure opportunities for the benefit and development of individuals and communities. Its particular focus is on the social and cultural aspects of leisure and it represents the use of leisure as a creative solution to enhancing the social, cultural, environmental, and economic quality of life in an area.

The Visitor Accessibility and Sydney for All project team was lead by Darcy as part of a Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre grant with Tourism NSW, Tourism and Transport NSW, the University of NSW and NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, and twenty industry tourism experience providers.

Their project focused on accessible tourism – covering visitors with mobility, vision or hearing impairments or learning difficulties – who are estimated to account for 11% of Australia’s tourism income.

The goal was to discover the quintessential experiences of Sydney from the point of view of the accessible tourism market.

The findings were broad-ranging, and in some instances, ground-breaking. The report considered not simply what accessible tourists ‘can’ or ‘can’t do’, but the quality of experience they have when they do their tourist thing in and around Sydney’s central business district, Rocks area and the Sydney Harbour foreshore. The aim was to create a process incorporating universal design and inclusive practice for developing information, marketing and promotion approaches that would provide tourists with access needs with a framework to make informed choices for their tourism itineries. A report on the project and its findings, featuring a video interview with Dr Darcy, was featured on business21c earlier this year.

Founded in 1952, World Leisure, is a world-wide, non-governmental association of individuals and organisations dedicated to discovering and fostering conditions best permitting leisure to serve as a force for human growth, development and well-being. The assessment panel included judges from China, Canada, the Seychelles, Australia and the United States of America.

The website, has also won recognition through a Vision Australia’s Making a difference award, in 2009.


  1. Congratulations Simon and UTS. The thinking behind this project would make a great presentation to our membership. Australia has many examples of innovation of world standard, we need to publicize them more. Well done B21c
  2. Its such an important topic and ignored by plenty of people, even professionals. I thank you for your help making people more aware of that subject.
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  4. Well done Simon! Its great to know that the Southern Countries can take the lead! We in South Africa can certainly learn from your experience, and we are very grateful for your support offered. I think we should be looking at more formal interaction between our 2 countries in this sphere. Looking forward to sharing our knowledge in creating a better world for ALL.
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