VisitAble Program Expanding Disability Awareness Among Richmond Region Attractions
A year-long program between VisitAble and Richmond Region Tourism (RRT) is increasing disability awareness and inclusion at hospitality and tourism partners in the Greater Richmond area. The region’s tourism marketer engaged VisitAble, a startup based in Central Virginia, 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. The CDC estimates that about 61 million Americans have a disability. A recent study by the United States Department of Transportation found that people with disabilities make fewer trips away from home on average than people without disabilities. Positively changing the general public’s perspective on disabilities through increased awareness of best practices in accessibility and inclusion signals a community’s commitment to being welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities. VisitAble is working to improve accessibility and disability inclusion by engaging employers, organizations, and institutions in its Advocate Certification program. The certification process includes training 80% of an organization’s existing staff with VisitAble’s disability inclusion and awareness training as well as making this training part of the onboarding process for new employees. Through the Richmond Region Tourism program, VisitAble has worked with numerous attraction partners in the area, including the Poe Museum, The Valentine, St. John’s Church, and Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown. Wonders Within Reach, a popular family blog focused on accessible adventures, named the Richmond Region its “Most Progressive Destination” in 2022 thanks to the collaboration with VisitAble. More information on accessible travel in the Richmond Region is available at visitrichmondva.com/plan/accessibility-richmond-va/.