Tourism Toronto Goes Accessible

 

Tourism Toronto is the official destination, sales and marketing arm of the City of Toronto. It focuses on promoting and selling the city as a destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers. Officially operating as a not-for-profit agency, Tourism Toronto has more than 850 members in the greater Toronto area, and is a partnership of public and private sectors.

Tourism Toronto has announced its initiative to create a barrier-free city — both physically and attitudinally. With its new Director of Product Innovation, Catherine Smart, the initiative is not only new to Toronto, but also to the Canadian tourism industry.

According to the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) of New York, there are over 800 million people with disabilities in the world, and as the population increases, this number will increase. This market has a total income of $1-trillion U.S. dollars.

Tourism Toronto will start this initiative by informing and educating its tourism industry members, providing them with statistics and information so that they can make better business decisions through facilitating relationships and encouraging open lines of communication. Tourism Toronto recognizes the magnitude of this effort and embraces the potential impact of universal access within the city.

The promise from the Olympic 2008 bid office is that Toronto will be the most accessible city in the world by the time the games arrive. Tourism Toronto is moving very much in a similar direction and is committed to creating a city for everyone to enjoy, both as a resident and a visitor.

For more information about this new and exciting initiative, please e-mail Catherine Smart at smart@torcvb.com or Dana Iheme at iheme@torcvb.com, or refer to Tourism Toronto’s website at www.torontotourism.com.

TORONTO MAKES A “SMART” MOVE

Catherine Smart has been appointed the Director, Product Innovation, for Tourism Toronto. Catherine comes to Tourism Toronto from the Ontario March of Dimes, where she was Provincial Manager, Recreation and Integration Services, for 14 years.

In her new position, Catherine’s initial focus will be to develop strategies with Tourism Toronto members, industry members and associations to increase accessibility. Collectively, these positive improvements will make Toronto more attractive to the disability and mature travel sectors. The ultimate goal is to create a barrier-free city both physically and attitudinally.

“Catherine’s wealth of knowledge of the issues involved in dealing with the disability community and demonstrated analytic abilities will produce sound business cases for recommended actions. With Catherine Smart in this position, Tourism Toronto will be looking forward to assisting Toronto to reach its goal of becoming more accessible. Through her experiences, we can learn how to encourage mature persons and travellers with disabilities to visit Toronto,” stated Doug Fyfe, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto.

JEFF ADAMS ACCESS AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Tourism Toronto’s Jeff Adams Access Award of Excellence will be presented each year by Paralympian Jeff Adams to an organization or individual who is a member of Tourism Toronto and has demonstrated a significant contribution to the concept of Toronto being a barrier-free city.

Jeff Adams won five medals, including two gold medals and a silver, at the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000. He has held world records in two events and Canadian records in four events. Jeff also won gold in Atlanta in 1996, and has been awarded gold and silver medals at numerous world championships.

Jeff is an outstanding individual as well as an athlete. A virus at age nine was the cause of his ultimately requiring a wheelchair. “I have spent every day of my life fighting segregation, preconceptions and lack of access,” he says. “The sport I love has the potential to supersede all those issues.” In addition to being Chair of the Accessibility Committee for Toronto’s current Olympic bid, Jeff is also the official spokesperson for Tourism Toronto with regard to accessibility issues.

“The art of sport and the art of life are the same,” he says, “and I want to help make Toronto the world’s most accessible city by the year 2008.”

 

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