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Making BC more accessible for all travellers
Leading up to, and beyond, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 2010 Legacies Now worked with the Province of BC, Tourism BC, and numerous other partners to help make BC a premier travel destination for people with disabilities.
Accessible Tourism Strategy
With one in eight people worldwide living with a disability, travellers with disabilities make up one of the fastest growing tourism market opportunities. In North America alone, people with disabilities spend more than $13 billion each year on travel.
Using the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as a catalyst, the Accessible Tourism Strategy aimed to establish BC as a global leader in accessible tourism, and to help create lasting legacies in BC communities.
Tourism businesses could determine how accessible they were for people with disabilities by participating in an accessibility assessment. 2010 Legacies Now and its partners then recommended steps to improve accessibility. Often, it only takes simple, inexpensive changes to make businesses accessible for thousands more travellers.
Businesses rated accessible for visitors with mobility, visual or hearing impairments received icons displaying this information. The ratings below could be used in marketing the businesses to travellers worldwide.
Wheelchair accessibility - partially accessible
Business has no physical barriers limiting entry into the business; however, barriers are present in or around the business limiting access for people using wheelchairs.
Wheelchair accessibility - fully accessible
Business has no physical barriers into or around the building, or to key amenities and services, which would limit access for people using wheelchairs.
Business has appropriate emergency alarms and plans, and offers communication material in alternate formats accessible for people with visual impairments.
Business has appropriate emergency alarms and plans, and offers communication material in alternate formats accessible for people with hearing impairments.
Why does accessible tourism matter?
People with disabilities represent a growing population of travellers. There are:
- 638,000 British Columbians with disabilities
- 4.4 million people in Canada with disabilities
- 54 million people in the USA with disabilities
- 60 million people in Europe with disabilities
- 650 million people worldwide with disabilities
These numbers increase significantly when expanded to include seniors with accessibility needs; the friends, family and caretakers who travel with people with disabilities; and people with temporary accessibility needs such as injury, pregnancy and families using strollers.
Accessible tourism is tourism for all - and it benefits everyone:
- Consumers get more choice
- Businesses and communities access a significant and often underserved market
- BC demonstrates its commitment to equity and fairness
- People with disabilities become more engaged in community life
- Businesses have access to a larger number of employable people
Accessible Tourism information and resources
Accessible Tourism Market Research Summary PDF | in Word
Simple Changes for Accessibility PDF | in Word
Accessible Tourism partners
As a result of the legacy development work with Accessible Tourism, we have been awarded a Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Star. The Sustainability Star program recognizes Games-related sustainability innovations, focusing on social, economic or environmental benefit. Learn more about our organizations social sustainability.
The Accessible Tourism Strategy is a partnership between the Province of BC, Tourism BC, 2010 Legacies Now, and tourism and disability organizations throughout BC.