Launch of accessible travel guides for the Vancouver Island region

The Vancouver Island region now has a series of accessible travel guides to serve travelers of all abilities.

The new accessible travel guides highlight accessible tourism products in 17 participating Vancouver Island communities, providing recommendations and sharing travel considerations.

With input from 4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island), Spinal Cord Injury BC, Destination British Columbia and a group of community destination management organizations, each guide was developed in consultation with travelers with visible and invisible disabilities.

“Meeting and engaging with a range of people to promote and connect on accessibility has been enlightening and motivating,” said Lexa Bergan, Project Manager and BC Disability Advocate. “Having experienced chronic illnesses and disabilities for many years of my life, I have an empathetic understanding of the challenges that can be encountered when accommodations are needed in everyday life and when travelling. As an advocate, I work to bring more equitable experiences to those who need accommodations in our community and culture so that we can all show up and live our most expansive lives.

The guides were funded through grants obtained by Community Destination Management Organizations and supported by 4VI as part of a commitment to building a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible tourism industry in the Vancouver Island region . Accessible travel guides serve to represent travelers with disabilities and support them with practical information that maintains their enjoyment and dignity during their visits. They also provide businesses with access to information and resources to better understand barrier-free access to their services.

“It is important to recognize that for many decades tourism marketing has focused almost exclusively on people without disabilities, which has created barriers to welcoming a valued and diverse variety of people,” said said Anthony Everett, President and CEO of 4VI. “The collaboration between 17 communities, Destination British Columbia and Spinal Cord Injury BC has been successful due to a common understanding that our approach to marketing must take into account the principles of inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility.

The information gathered in the accessible travel guides is based on consultations with accessibility experts and partners identified by destination management community organizations and first-hand experience while visiting each community. Experiences will be different for every traveler, but the information is intended to make trip planning easier and ensure that Vancouver Island is an inclusive travel destination with unforgettable vacation experiences for everyone.

Many participating destination management community organizations have already launched accessibility pages on their respective websites so that visitors can select the tourism and hospitality options that best suit them. Participating community partners include Comox Valley, Cowichan Region, Nanaimo, Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Tofino, Ucluelet, North Vancouver Islandand Victoria.

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