News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) has joined forces with the Bermuda office of the global architecture firm OBMI. The goal of the partnership is to equip individuals and organisations with the tools to upgrade local facilities and meet accessibility needs of the community. The Accessibility Solutions Information sessions will soon be underway as part of the collaboration with OBMI. Through its program, Accessible Solutions, OBMI has created a focus on inclusivity for those with physical impediments and have assembled a team whose stated mission is “to create improved accessibility for those who live, work and visit Bermuda”.

The Bermuda National Tourism Plan includes a focus on Infrastructure and a mandate to build frictionless experiences from arrival to departure, which is complemented by OBMI’s advocacy for a barrier-free Bermuda. As internationally recognized accessibility design professionals, and recipients of the Bermuda Building Design Award and Built Environment Access Award, this partnership has the potential to elevate Bermuda’s hospitality businesses with modern, accessible infrastructure and design support.

Accessible Solutions will provide each building with a design to best fit their budget. Upgrades can be minor, depending on the client’s needs. Examples include automatic push door openers, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, offices and retail space, sturdy handrails and more. Workshop participants will understand their role in providing positive experiences for individuals with physical or intellectual challenges while working in a new environment that can appropriately cater to the individual needs of clients with disabilities.

OBMI will ensure that all upgrades are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Ministry of Health guidelines and recommendations.

In 2019, the Accessibility Working Group (AWG) was convened to deliver frictionless experiences for travellers with disabilities. The group, led by Minister Tinée Furbert, and accessibility advocate Keith Simmons, is focused on outcomes that afford a barrier-free and enjoyable experience accessible to all. Accessibility considerations include those with a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial appliances or devices. The AWG recently launched the Accessibility Awareness training and sensitivity sessions for customer service professionals and those on Bermuda’s service frontlines. The Accessible Solutions workshops, formed in partnership with OBMI, cover infrastructure and design considerations for landscapes, building interior and exterior spaces and complement the Accessibility Awareness training.

OBMI Business Operations and Marketing Associate, Bobbi Singh says “Given the parallel commitment between those outlined in the National Tourism Plan and the OBMI pledge to improve accessibility, we are proud to collaborate with the BTA in their efforts to promote and grow accessibility across the island. Accessible Solutions brings together our team of experienced architects, interior and landscape designers who are focused on creating improved accessibility for businesses and residences in Bermuda.”

Davida O’Brien, Tourism Standards & Training Specialist, said, “For us, the accessibility initiative has always centred around community. From the beginning, we sought input from Bermuda’s disabled community, our Accessibility Working Group, and private and public sector entities who share our vision of a more accessible Bermuda. We’re proud of the tools we have created to educate and equip subscribers and are confident that it will play a role in the development of a more accessible island for us all. Whether you are on the frontline of tourism, serving the Bermuda public or want to be prepared for any uncertainty, we invite you to sign up for our accessibility workshops today. You’ll be informed and empowered.”

Accessibility Awareness training sessions are ongoing and can be booked online. Participant fees are $65, and payments are accepted online.

Accessible Solutions Information Sessions start April 21, are free of charge and can be booked online.