A new app is providing people with disability insight into the accessibility of a venue at the touch of a button.
Everywhere Venues is a rating app that allows patrons to determine whether a venue or space will suit their needs, based on accessibility, facilities and mobility requirements.
Going to a new place can be difficult as many venues are inaccessible or do not take into account the needs of people living with a disability, the elderly or those with severe injury.
The creator of the app, Zoe Hida, developed the four-point rating system after talking with local researchers and committees, and believes it provides transparent information to support “inclusive tourism and community involvement”.
“There was nothing in Australia that really demonstrated a simple, straight-forward, predictable accessibility rating system,” she says.
“It’s the sort of thing that can ruin someone’s day...There’s nothing worse than organising an event for your family and friends, then realising some of your friends can’t get up the stairs.”
The app allows users the opportunity to book a venue online based on their rating. Venues that are rated are not required to improve their accessibility if their rating is low; rather, it allows users to be informed of a venues facilities before making the decision to book.
While the launch of the app saw only individual and private businesses register on the database, one town in New South Wales’ Riverina believes ranking every venue in their area has huge benefits for tourism. The Temora City Council believes a unified platform will improve accessibility and foster social inclusion and community involvement.
Temora City Council Economic Development Manager, Craig Sinclair, says accessibility goes far beyond those living with a disability.
“It’s also [for] people that are elderly or infirmed, and that’s a large number of our population...the more accessible we seem, the more tourism we can get.”
The project “provides us with an avenue to take that information to the public in one portal, rather than multiple, when they need it,” he says.
Estimates from National Visitor Survey data, facilitated by Tourism Research Australia, place accessible tourism expenditure at around $3.2 billion annually, making Everywhere Venues a huge relief for those struggling to find appropriate venues during day trips, overnight stays or in their local area.
“Through collaborating with public and private venue owners, including local councils, universities, government agencies, not-for-profits, small businesses and community groups, we’re able to get optimum returns on their physical needs, provide easy and transparent management tools, and obtain greater accountability from guests,” Everywhere Venues’ website states.
The app and website is a positive step towards social inclusion for people living with disabilities, “making cities more livable, innovative, fair and profitable for local communities and visitors alike”.
For more information on Everywhere Venues, visit their website.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au.