4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island), Spinal Cord Injury BC, Destination British Columbia, and Community Destination Marketing Organization partners support region-wide project
Nov. 3, 2022, Nanaimo, BC, Canada – The Vancouver Island Region now has a series of Accessible Travel Guides to serve travellers of all abilities.
The new Accessible Travel Guides highlight accessible tourism products within 17 participating Vancouver Island communities, providing recommendations and sharing trip considerations.
With the support of 4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island), Spinal Cord Injury BC, Destination British Columbia, and a group of Community Destination Management Organizations, each guide was developed by working in collaboration with travellers with both visible and invisible disabilities.
“Meeting and engaging with a scope of individuals to promote and connect over accessibility has been enlightening and motivating,” said Lexa Bergan, project lead and a British Columbia-based disability advocate. “Having experienced chronic illness and disability for many years of my life, I have an empathetic understanding of the challenges one can experience when adaptations are required in day-to-day life and when travelling. As an advocate, I work to bring more equitable experiences for those requiring adaptations in our community and culture so that we may all show up and live our most expansive lives.”
The guides were funded through grants obtained by the Community Destination Management Organizations and supported by 4VI as part of our commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible tourism industry in the Vancouver Island Region. The Accessible Travel Guides serve to provide representation for travellers with disabilities and to support them with practical information that preserves their enjoyment and dignity while visiting. 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 been almost exclusively focused on those without disabilities and this has created barriers to welcoming a valued and diverse variety of people,” said Anthony Everett, President & CEO of 4VI. “The collaboration between 17 communities, Destination British Columbia, and Spinal Cord Injury BC was successful due to a shared understanding that our approach to marketing must consider principles of inclusiveness, diversity, equity, and accessibility.”
The information gathered in the Accessible Travel Guides is based on consultations with accessibility experts and partners identified by Community Destination Management Organizations and first-hand experience while visiting each community. The experiences will be different for each traveller, but the information is meant to ease trip planning and ensure that Vancouver Island is an inclusive travel destination with unforgettable vacation experiences for all.
Many of the participating Community Destination Management Organizations have already launched accessibility pages on their respective websites so that visitors can select the tourism and hospitality options that work best for them. Participating community partners include Comox Valley, Cowichan Region, Nanaimo, Parksville Qualicum Beach, Tofino, Ucluelet, Vancouver Island North, and Victoria.
4VI (formerly Tourism Vancouver Island) is a non-profit social enterprise organization, created to ensure that travel is a force for good for Vancouver Island – forever. The ‘4’ in its name captures its four key social commitments — to the community, business, culture, and the environment. This focus extends to the work the organization does each day. Every opportunity for 4VI now and in the future will align with these social goals. The team’s mandate is to deliver innovative tourism advisory services, working directly with communities on Vancouver Island to both identify opportunities for enhanced tourism experiences and deliver on them. 4VI is the first destination management organization of its kind to not just commit to changing how tourism is managed, but to developing the corporate structure as a social enterprise that drives needed change. Learn more at forvi.ca.
Brian Cant, VP, Business Impact & Engagement, 4VI: 250-888-8729 or [email protected]