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Local tourism partnership aims to expand disability awareness, access at area attractions

The process includes training 80% of staff with VisitAble’s disability inclusion and awareness training and making this training part of the onboarding process for new employees.

Trevor Dickerson

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A year-long program between VisitAble and Richmond Region Tourism is increasing disability awareness and inclusion at attractions in the Greater Richmond area.

The region’s tourism marketer engaged VisitAble in 2022 to provide free disability inclusion and awareness education programs to local businesses and organizations.

More than 425 hospitality employees have engaged in the training, which is continuing in 2024.

“Our partnership with VisitAble is making a significant impact,” says RRT’s President & CEO, Jack Berry. “The partnership resulted in enhanced disability awareness and inclusion to improve experiences for incoming travelers to our destination, as well as for local community members. VisitAble’s thorough communication, flexibility, and punctuality made collaboration and coordination effortless as we worked with our tourism partners. Working with VisitAble is a no-brainer for Destination Marketing Organizations.”

The CDC estimates that about 61 million Americans have a disability. A recent study by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics found that people with disabilities make fewer trips away from home on average than people without disabilities.

Positively changing the perspective on disability through increased awareness on accessibility and disability inclusion best practices helps signal to people with disabilities that a community is committed to being welcoming and accessible, according to VisitAble.

VisitAble, a startup based in Central Virginia, works to improve accessibility and disability inclusion by engaging employers, organizations, and institutions in itsAdvocate Certification program.

The process includes training 80% of staff with VisitAble’s disability inclusion and awareness training and making this training part of the onboarding process for new employees.

Through the Richmond Region Tourism program, VisitAble worked with attraction partners like The Poe Museum, The Valentine, St. John’s Church, Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown and others.

Wonders Within Reach, a popular family blog focused on accessible adventures, named the Richmond Region as its “Most Progressive Destination” in 2022 driven by the collaboration with VisitAble.

“I am excited that this partnership has made an incredible impact in the Richmond community already,” said VisitAble founder Joe Jamison. “We believe, through our ongoing and recently renewed relationship with Richmond Region Tourism, we can make an even greater impact. We are so happy to have begun our global Destination Marketing Organization initiative with the City of Richmond,” says VisitAble’s Founder Joe Jamison.

Richmond Region Tourism provides information on accessible travel in Richmond on its website.

Learn more about VisitAble’s training and advocate certification at https ://www.visitable.io/apply-now.

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