In the heart of Arizona, Mesa stands as a shining example of a destination committed to providing an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all travelers. Mesa takes pride in promoting accessibility through various initiatives and partnerships, ensuring that visitors of all abilities can explore and appreciate everything Mesa has to offer. Join Alison Brooks, Vice President of Destination Experience & Advocacy, at Visit Mesa, as she discusses the ways that their organization and city have helped pave the way for expanding accessibility in major destinations.
What does your destination have in place to ensure an inclusive experience for travelers with disabilities?
Mesa has implemented several groundbreaking programs and technologies to break down barriers for travelers with disabilities. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, Threshold 360 Virtual Tours, Aira, Wheel the World, and Able Vu partnerships, along with autism certification through IBCCES, showcase our dedication to ensuring a seamless visit for everyone. Additionally, our commitment to “drip learning” empowers our partners with quick access to resources, fostering a more inclusive approach to hospitality.
Virtual Tours and Multimedia Content:
How does your organization plan to integrate virtual tours that cater to travelers with disabilities, specifically provided through partnerships like Threshold 360 and AbleVu?
By integrating virtual tours provided by partners like Threshold 360 and AbleVu, we are making our website more accessible. These tours offer a unique perspective, highlighting the accessibility features of attractions, accommodations, and activities. We are also actively promoting these virtual experiences on social media to encourage a more inclusive audience.
Accommodation Accessibility Standards:
How does your destination ensure that accommodations, such as hotels and resorts, meet accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities?
Mesa ensures that accommodations, including hotels and resorts, meet accessibility standards through virtual tours that provide an “accessibility point of view.” Collaborating with Wheel the World, we offer thorough assessments and a library of training resources for our hoteliers. Our “drip learning” model continues to empower partners, making accessibility a priority in every aspect of their services.
What steps have been taken to make transportation within your destination accessible for individuals with mobility challenges or other disabilities?
While Mesa is already a fairly accessible destination for transportation, we are actively exploring partnerships with independent services to enhance accessibility further. Our goal is to provide reliable and accessible transportation options, especially when public transportation may not be the most suitable choice.
Accessible Attractions and Activities:
Can you provide information on the accessibility features and accommodations available at popular attractions and activities within your destination?
Mesa’s popular attractions, including I.D.E.A. and the Arizona Museum of Natural History, are autism certified, equipped with Threshold 360 tours, and actively participating in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program. We are dedicated to offering a wide range of inclusive experiences, with some attractions even providing EnChroma glasses for visitors who are colorblind.
Accessible Information Services:
How does your destination provide accessible information services, such as maps, brochures, and websites, to travelers with disabilities?
Utilizing our website, visitor’s guide, and social media platforms, we strive to provide accessible information services. There are challenges with communicating the available programs, but we are committed to spreading the word about these various programs and tools available to ensure that visitors and residents alike can make the most of Mesa’s offerings.
Collaboration with Local Businesses:
What initiatives are in place to encourage local businesses, including restaurants and shops, to adopt accessibility measures and cater to travelers with disabilities?
In our communication with local businesses, the message of “Live Life Limitless” resonates strongly. We actively encourage businesses, including restaurants and shops, to adopt accessibility measures, emphasizing that accessibility and inclusion are integral to Mesa’s identity.
Training for Tourism Industry Staff:
What training programs or initiatives are in place to ensure that tourism industry staff, including guides and hospitality professionals, are well-equipped to assist travelers with disabilities?
The “Elevate Academy” extranet serves as a comprehensive resource hub for our partners. Offering PDFs, video training, links to consultants, blogs, and more, this platform equips tourism industry staff with the knowledge and tools needed to assist travelers with disabilities effectively.
Community Engagement and Feedback:
How does your destination actively seek feedback from the disability community to improve and enhance accessibility measures?
Seeking continuous improvement, we actively gather feedback through our website’s feedback form. Additionally, we are initiating surveys with our partners, aiming to implement feedback received at their establishments to enhance accessibility measures throughout the city.
At Visit Mesa, we are committed to creating a city where every individual can experience the richness of our community without limitations. Our journey toward inclusivity is ongoing, and we invite everyone to join us as we strive to make Mesa a destination that truly knows no bounds.