P.E.I. website woos tourists with disabilities
P.E.I. has launched a website to make its tourism industry more accessible to people with disabilities.
Accessadvisor.ca will soon use the internet, smartphone apps and GPS downloads to help people with disabilities find the places that can serve them best.
Hotels will be ranked with four designations — limited accessibility, full mobile accessibility, sight accessibility and hearing accessibility.
The federal and provincial governments are putting more than $100,000 into the project.
Murray MacPherson is the chairman of Quality Tourism Services, a non-profit company that inspects and grades tourism properties.
"Accessibility is going to be a very important part of our market in years to come because we're all getting older and a large part of our market is going to be over 65 and they have a lot of disposable income," he said Monday.
Mixed results from pilot program
The program was tested for a year with 130 Island businesses. Investigators found that national chains did a good job of consistently offering accessibility, but when it came to locally owned businesses, results were mixed.
Accessadvisor.ca will also educate Islanders and consultants will make on-site visits.
Paul Cudmore, executive director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, said it would help business owners, too.
"I always say accessibility is in the eye of the beholder and this is going to be a tool for people to use to realize what is accessible and what is not accessible," he said.
"A lot of people want to make the place wheelchair accessible, but they don't really understand how to do it."
Organizers intend to expand into Nova Scotia and across the Maritimes eventually. The website is online but under construction. Accessibility ratings for island business will start appearing on it in a few weeks.