Easter Seals Canada Wins New Accessible Tourism Award

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is happy to announce Easter Seals Canada as the winner of the Tourism Industry Award of Excellence for Accessible Tourism. This award is new to the program this year, and celebrates efforts made to make tourism businesses and destinations available to all Ontarians. 

Easter Seals Canada is dedicated to fully enhancing the quality of life, self-esteem, and self-determination of Canadians with disabilities. Implementing inclusive and accessible services is the cornerstone of the programs offered by Easter Seals Canada, such as the Access 2 Entertainment and Disability Travel Card programs, which work with the transportation, entertainment and tourism sectors to implement accessible service action plans. Both programs provide a customer service policy for patrons with disabilities, specifically those individuals who require the assistance of a support person.

The Access 2 and Disability Travel Cards are easily recognizable by frontline staff, simplifying the ticketing process for their customers with disabilities. The Access 2 card is valid at over 95 per cent of movie theatres and hundreds of attractions — cultural, tourist, recreational, and entertainment venues — across Canada, and the Disability Travel Card is valid when travelling with Via Rail, Greyhound Bus or Coach Canada. Available data shows that in 2013, the Access 2 card alone recorded over 200,000 individual uses.

In addition to these two successful programs, Easter Seals Canada is also fully compliant with regulations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA); in fact, the Access 2 Entertainment and Disability Travel Card programs' customer service policies were based on AODA standards.

TIAO is proud to present Easter Seals Canada with this important new award. Through its proven commitment to accessibility, Easter Seals acts as an inspiration for all tourism businesses, destinations and operators to become more inclusive of visitors from across the province and beyond.

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario is recognized as the umbrella organization for leading associations, destination marketing organizations and regional tourism organizations serving Ontario's diverse tourism industry. Collectively representing 149,000 businesses and 305,000 employees dedicated to promoting and operating the province's powerful tourism infrastructure, TIAO provides a strong, unified voice for the sector and advocates the importance of tourism to all levels of government in order to help the industry grow and prosper. The Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence recognize leaders in innovation, events, volunteering, sustainability and accessibility within Ontario's vibrant tourism industry.

Quotes

"Accessible tourism has become a major trend in both Ontario and Canada. One in seven Ontarians has a disability, and that number is expected to rise over the next 20 years. Easter Seals Canada is ahead of the curve in creating services for this market, and TIAO is thrilled to present them with our newest award."

Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

Image with caption: "Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (CNW Group/Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141114_C6682_PHOTO_EN_8046.jpg

SOURCE: Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

For further information: Catarina Xhuli, Manager, Executive Office, Membership & Industry Relations, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, 416.305.8249, cxhuli@tiaontario.ca

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www.tiaontario.ca

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