Tripartite project launched to make events more inclusive for special needs delegates

BestCities Global Alliance, Rehabilitation International and GainingEdge have come together to conduct a joint study that aims at producing a reference for meetings organisers and suppliers to help remove barriers to participation in meetings and conventions for delegates with special needs.

To be facilitated by GainingEdge, the report will set the background on accessibility issues in the meetings industry, focusing specifically on venues for meetings and conventions.

Vallee: information will be used to make events more welcoming for attendees with special needs

BestCities partners, as members of the world’s leading convention bureau alliance, will lead the project, trailblazing the way for other destinations around the world to make significant improvements in accessibility. This will be achieved through knowledge sharing and robust case study examples on good practice on accessibility in the meetings industry.

Rehabilitation International, as a valuable partner in this project, will also be used as a source of research, acting as the technical advisor. The association’s world congress which took place in Edinburgh in 2016, and left a multitude of legacies, will be one of the key case studies to feature in the report.

With accessibility an emerging area of research and industry practice, the project aims to comprehensively address the broader issues including visitor accessibility that can impact visitor experiences and capacity in the visitation industry for full economic and social benefit realisation.

Paul Vallee, BestCities managing director, said: “This project looks at sharing knowledge and best practices from BestCities destinations, which can then be utilised to support convention delegates with special needs.

“We’re always striving to improve the purpose of meetings and events and hope this campaign will educate many on the importance of accessibility. Creating inclusive environments should be a fundamental aspect in the management of events and we hope to see more incorporating this into their planning.”

Gary Grimmer, CEO of GainingEdge, agreed: “We recognise that convention bureaus and destination management organisations will have limited control over the accessibility situation in their cities. These issues are complex, multi-layered and involve stakeholders from commercial, governmental and meeting supply sectors. However, building an understanding of the broader issues of delegate accessibility will encourage the industry to cater better for people who have a range of needs.”

The report is due to be completed later this year.

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