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New partnership aims to make BC’s tourism industry more accessible – Nelson Star

Ahead of what is expected to be a busy travel summer in the province, Destination BC and Spinal Cord Injury BC have announced a partnership to create and promote accessible tourism.

As part of the partnership, announced Wednesday (June 1), Spinal Cord Injury BC will conduct face-to-face assessments of various tourism businesses in the Lower Mainland, Sea-to-Sky and Sunshine Coast and provide advice on how to improve access and inclusion can for people with disabilities.

Participating companies will also update their accessibility listings on HelloBC.com’s consumer travel planning site so that visitors can easily find accessible accommodations, attractions, activities and experiences.

“Our collaboration with Spinal Cord Injury BC will help tourism businesses in the region benchmark their experience offerings so more visitors can enjoy them, creating a more inclusive visitor experience and more growth opportunities within the sector,” said Jody Young, manager at Vancouver Tourism Region coast & mountains.

According to Nancy Harris, a regional development liaison at Spinal Cord Injury BC, the accessibility gaps in the Vancouver, Coastal & Mountains tourism region are similar to those in the rest of the province.

These gaps include basic accessibility issues such as the lack of ramps and elevators, but they also extend to the basic organization of many tourism businesses.

Harris told Black Press Media that because most tourism companies have not designed their services with accessibility in mind, they will likely struggle to modify their spaces and programs to accommodate people with disabilities.

That’s why the organization has taken matters into their own hands when it comes to offering summer adventures and sports for their customers and the community, such as their recently launched accessible cycling program.

“There seems to be a huge lack of understanding of why these things matter and what it means to be accessible,” Harris said.

Accessibility takes many forms, but the core principle is enabling people with disabilities to live with dignity and participate actively in their communities, she said, adding that getting tourism businesses to to recognize and accept their own shortcomings in order to raise awareness and welcome people with disabilities to their sites.

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