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PCB training initiative to boost disability access

THE Perth Convention Bureau plans to run a series of training programs for the tourism industry aimed at making Western Australian tourist destinations more ‘disability friendly’. The bureau held its first course last week, which focused on providing insight to the requirements and needs of disabled people, and included staff from the bureau, the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, and local professional conference management company EventEdge. The course has been endorsed by the national disability organisation ACROD, the Disability Services Commission, and Recreation Networks. As part of the Beyond Compliance joint venture initiative between the bureau, the Disability Services Commission and Curtin University, the courses will promote WA as a disability friendly destination for tourists. The next course will be held on April 21 and will be centred on audiovisual elements of catering to disability needs. Together with the training initiative the bureau has developed a number of partnerships with European disabled organisations, such as the British Council for the Disabled, and expects these associations will help it bid for disabled conferences. These partnerships will coordinate support bidding between different international organisations to ensure they are successful, according to the bureau. The bureau’s research manager, Scott Campbell, who coordinates the Beyond Compliance project, said the program hoped to foster a local culture that was sensitive to the needs of disabled people. “In order to grow this side of tourism, we said let’s see how we can work and develop with industry to prove it’s commercially viable. We aim to get this off the ground as an industry driven initiative,” Mr Campbell said. He said increasing accessibility for the disabled was especially relevant for the ageing population. Among the events already secured by the bureau are: the Congress of the International Federation of Disability Sailing at the Royal Perth Yacht Club in 2006; the Australian Nursing Homes and Extended Care Association National Conference, to be held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre; and the Australian Society for the Study of Disability Conference. The bureau has secured seven conferences since launching the Beyond Compliance partnership. The three events are expected to attract 2,160 delegates and generate $3.86 million for the State’s economy.

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