Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Access Means Business

Photo credit: Disability Action Center NW
Current demographics show that not only are Baby Boomers an economic force, they also indicate that one in ten Idahoans (read: potential customers and tourists) lives with some type of mobility impairment. Nearly 22,000 Idahoans living with a disability earn more than $50,000/yr. This means communities with accessible and inclusive housing, retail, public and recreational spaces will be the winners moving forward.

Wheelchair users are mobile, and they're looking for travel and adventure opportunities like anyone else. It pays to make them feel welcome.

More online resources are available every day to these travelers, whether aimed at historic tourism, zip-line courses, skiing and boating...not to mention hunting and fishing. Idaho should be a draw to these visitors (we have the best of all these, right?), but only if we begin to think about access in our planning process. If you aren't convinced that wheelchair users are pushing the envelope, check out this video.

One of the best sites to illustrate access-related travel reviews is The site provides travel tips on air and ground transportation, lodging and inclusive tour options or travel packages. An example of one such review can be found here; a wheelchair POV video of the trip is here. Big props to WCT's Creatrix Ashley Lyn Olson for her amazing documentary skills. What would Ashley have to say about your town?

Our group would love to talk with local businesses, planners, chambers and leadership to assess the visitor-readiness of your streets and spaces, and help you gain some traction towards increased economic activity and compliance with existing laws. Visit us on Facebook or email to let us know how we can help.

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