Giving Scotland’s tourist attractions dementia-friendly status could boost visitor numbers and cash in on ‘baby boomer’ wealth, it is being claimed.

A national register of attractions could also encourage other businesses to improve their facilities, positioning Scotland on the tourism map as a dementia-friendly destination.

Scottish Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton is calling for a national accreditation scheme for dementia-friendly tourist attractions, claiming it could help open the market to 1.7 million UK dementia patients and their carers.

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She has also urged the Scottish Government to offer support to businesses which want to become more accessible for dementia sufferers.

Dementia – the name given to a range of symptoms and diseases which typically affect older people – is a growing issue, with an estimated 850,000 people in the UK affected, of which 90,000 are Scots.

It’s thought the UK figure will increase to over one million by 2025.

Ms Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: “Creating a list of accredited dementia-friendly tourist sites would be of benefit to everyone. It would make a day out or short holiday for those living with the condition far more accessible and enjoyable, and of course would be of benefit to their carers.

“And it would immediately open the market to 1.7 million people in the UK, if you consider each visitor with dementia would likely have a carer accompanying too.”

Dementia-friendly improvements to attractions could include quiet rooms for patients to take “time out” during a visit, clearer signs for directions and advice, and changing the colour of doors to make them easier to locate.

“With the support of the Scottish Government and the input of charities, it would be relatively inexpensive for a tourist attraction to become officially dementia-friendly,” said Ms Hamilton.

Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Research at Alzheimer’s Scotland, said a shift towards more dementia-friendly tourist attractions would make sense for businesses, as well as benefitting patients.

“The number of people whose lives are impacted by dementia make up a significant part of the tourism market," he added.

"It makes business sense to be able to see if you can offer a good and positive experience for those visitors.

“Baby boomers are the richest generation, and that’s the group coming to the age where dementia is an increasing concern.

“We would support any initiatives that would enhance people’s experience so they feel part of the community and just the same as any other citizen.

“Dementia-friendly initiatives are a positive step forward, but there must also be real improvements in how we support people in the community.

“Initiatives like this can’t transform lives alone, they must be hand in hand with deeper investment.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said it is “taking a lead" on tackling the effects of dementia.

He added: "Our new strategy states our commitment to creating more dementia-enabled communities.

“Whilst there is no specific tourist guidance on this issue, VisitScotland already encourages businesses to think about a wider audience when they are writing their access guidance, which is a tool to highlight visitor accessibility. We are in regular dialogue with the tourism industry and other interested parties and are always ready to work with them on suggestions to improve Scotland for dementia sufferers – both residents and visitors alike.”