BestCities Global Alliance, GainingEdge and Rehabilitation International unveiled new market-leading research into accessible meetings at the ICCA Congress in Dubai. The outcomes of the research promote awareness among the meetings community on what can be done to enforce universal accessibility for delegates with disabilities.
The research was conducted with key venues across the globe in BestCities destinations with each city providing insight on what it is doing to create a landscape that’s ‘accessible for all’.
The report highlights some best practices in areas that operators may not have prior considered, such as training for disability awareness and sensitivity training, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for handling requests involving participants with disabilities, and referring to standards concerning accessibility as guidelines. Introducing mandatory training sessions with frontline staff, setting operational accessibility manuals with procedures and regulations to work from, and referring to the standards laid out by the Community Development Authority are examples of how venues can meet the needs of all delegates.
The study details how universal accessibility in the meetings industry means contribution to business growth, knowledge sharing, an improved experience and increasing competitiveness in destinations. It explains how many people will benefit from these provisions in venues including the aging population, parents with prams, and those with reduced mobility. With an increasing number of venues putting this into practice means the inclusion of participants with disabilities and more diverse opportunities for businesses.
The report also makes a number of recommendations including self-education, establishing a tangible business case for accessible meetings, and universal accessibility certification. It provides case studies on how each of the 12 BestCities destinations are promoting accessibility in their regions.
Jeannie Lim, chair of BestCities Global Alliance, said: “It is our intention that BestCities bureaus, as partners of the world’s leading convention bureau alliance, will trail-blaze the way for other destinations around the world to make significant improvements in universal accessibility.”
Venus Ilagan, secretary general of Rehabilitation International, added: “Destinations should look into the concept of universal design. Universal design should be looked at from the beginning, not an after-thought.”
The report also offers some recommendations on how bureaus, suppliers and meeting planners can do their part to promote universal accessibility in the meetings industry.
The Universal Accessibility in Meetings report can be downloaded here: www.bestcities.net/universal-accessibility-in-meetings/