GRCVB's Continued Commitment to Accessibility
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 7am by Julie Brakenbury, CGSP®
You’ve heard us talk about accessibility a lot in the past. As recently as Dec. 2020 we hosted Episode Three of our Meeting Professionals Summit Virtual Series, “From Leaders in the Field: Practical tips for making in-person and virtual events accessible.” In that episode, we featured leaders in cultural access and user experts from around the country and the world who talked about best practices for hosting attendees with accessibility challenges.
Pre-COVID, GRCVB hosted All Access Wake County, a day-long accessibility training event for hospitality partners (an effort that positioned our DMO to win the coveted Stella Award for Best CVB/DMO in the Southeast). In conjunction with All Access Wake County, our Bureau implemented AudioEye, an important tool that allows website users to access the official tourism website more easily. Area visitors can now access great tools on our website including “Things to Do for Visitors with Disabilities,” and our partners can access helpful resources on the website like these.
We’re also proud of our hospitality partners who have done and continue to pave the way for visitors with disabilities to have great experiences within our destination. The Exceeding Expectations page on visitRaleigh.com tells the stories of some of those partners. And our Marketing team has highlighted other partners like VAE Raleigh in articles on the site.
We don’t want our destination’s accessibility efforts to end where we left off before COVID hit. We know that, as our hospitality partners emerge from COVID impacts, you have a lot going on to accomplish recovery for your business. We encourage you to keep accessibility as part of your staff training and hospitality plans as you move forward.
We need and want all our visitors to return to Wake County! This includes those with disabilities, and it means striving to do more than meet the minimum Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Help us to create a destination where all those visitors coming back feel that it’s safe to visit, meet and compete in Wake County, regardless of their ability levels.
Incidentally, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has launched the UNWTO Inclusive Recovery Guide suggesting measures hospitality partners can take to reopen well after COVID-19 and become more accessible and more competitive.
Author: Julie Brakenbury, CGSP®
Julie Brakenbury, CGSP®, serves as director of destination services for GRCVB, a role she has filled since 2007, and as 2021 president of ESPA, the Event Service Professionals Association. She is a veteran of both the hotel and CVB worlds and has a passion for visitor services. Learn more