Saturday, 24 July 2010

Destination Accessibility: Paying Attention?

And I'm not just talking about air connections.

ADA: it's one of those things we kind of take for granted in the USA. We assume that because the Americans with Disabilities Act is law that it is followed by the hospitality industry. Truth is, it is often something that is enforced by watchdogs and event planners who are diligent about ensuring their attendees have an accessible experience. And not the kind of experience that makes special accommodations to single out those with mobility issues as 'more burden' and 'less human'. It's about providing an equal and dignified event experience. (Shout out to Patti Cameron - thanks for being such an advocate and the teaching you do!)

How many destinations consider this? How many convention services managers have ever attempted to navigate from their convention centre to a hotel in a wheelchair, or a scooter? Or get on a bus? Cross a street? Find a table in a restaurant? If you haven't I suggest you do. It's an enlightening experience that provides you with a whole new perspective of how someone else views your city, and how welcoming it is.

The Opening Door has a lengthy list of accessibility guides for different destinations, some produced by CVBs and DMOs, others independently. Minneapolis also has a good guide that is a few years old, which was recently used for an event I attended. Vancouver and Whistler are also good examples. And if you thought bungee jumping was not an accessible attraction...think again:

Please comment with other helpful accessibility guides and examples! Don't forget this stakeholder in your event plans and your destination development!

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