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Richmond Region Tourism partners with VisitAble to offer disability awareness education to local hospitality community

A new partnership between Richmond Region Tourism and VisitAble is working to make the region more inclusive for visitors of all abilities.

Trevor Dickerson

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A new partnership between Richmond Region Tourism and VisitAble is working to make the region more inclusive for visitors of all abilities.

The region’s tourism marketer recently engaged VisitAble to provide free disability inclusion and awareness education programs to local businesses and organizations.

A startup based in Central Virginia, VisitAble works to improve accessibility and disability inclusion by engaging businesses, governments, and educational institutions in its Advocate+ Certification program. The process includes training 80% of staff on disability etiquette and inclusion, an accessibility test for public-facing locations, a mystery guest experience from an individual with a disability for staff to put their training intro practice, a report with feedback and advice from VisitAble and the mystery guest(s), and a website listing on VisitAble’s database of accessibility information to alleviate the uncertainty that may prevent customers and visitors from visiting.

After completing the certification process, hospitality partners will receive an Advocate+ Certification sticker for their door or window, a digital badge for use on their website, and recognition on Richmond Region Tourism’s website to broadcast the partner’s efforts and to further alleviate any uncertainty that potential tourists with disabilities may have.

“Our Advocate+ certification indicates an organization is actively working towards disability inclusion,” said VisitAble founder Joe Jamison. “Increased training, awareness, and transparency from the certification process helps organizations create a better experience for everyone. We’re thrilled to partner with the Richmond Region Tourism team to make a great impact on disability inclusion not only for tourists of the greater Richmond area, but also the greater Richmond community.”

“As we welcome new and returning travelers to the region every day, we’re constantly thinking about ways to improve the visitor experience while enhancing the quality of life for residents,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “We’re proud to offer these free education programs with VisitAble to hospitality partners to help improve accessibility and inclusion for everyone in the region.”

There are limited slots available for the initiative. Local hospitality-focused businesses and organizations interested in a free Advocate+ Certification from VisitAble can submit an application here.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.