News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Department of Marine and Ports personnel have completed a series of training sessions designed by the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) on Accessibility Awareness.
The organisation has renewed its push for sensitivity training to elevate the visitor experience for people with disabilities while improving accessibility for residents who use the services.
The customised Training Workshops equip participants to understand their role in making Bermuda more accessible and create positive experiences for commuters. The three-hour interactive training session was developed by the Tourism Standards & Training Division of the BTA.
Tracy Berkeley, Chief Administration Officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, oversees the division and explained: “Elevating customer service standards in Bermuda is a priority for our team at the BTA, and broadening accessibility awareness to all those on the frontline of tourism is the key element of that goal. We are encouraged by the positive responses to our programme and look forward to welcoming even more organisations to the course.”
This initiative was borne out of the National Tourism Plan’s Accessibility Working Group (AWG) formed in 2019, which was led by Minister Tinée Furbert and accessibility advocate Keith Simmons.
The AWG advocates for Universal Access which aligns with the National Tourism Plan mission to offer frictionless experiences from arrival through departure in a way that not only satisfies visitors, but adds to their positive experience of the country.
Accessibility for all is a vital pillar of that mission. The training will not take the place of regulations, legislation or building codes; still, it is designed to work in tandem with national efforts, to stimulate conversation and help create inclusive environments that consider the dignity of those within them.
The training was designed to help define a path to make Bermuda a welcoming destination through customer service. The three-hour training session enlightens participants on the power of empathetic language. The facilitator helped identify hurtful words to avoid reinforcing negative perceptions and stereotypes. Likewise, participants were empowered to use person-first language that focused on the person instead of their disability.
Marine & Ports personnel mark the successful completion of the BTA Accessibility Awareness Training alongside David O’Brien, Tourism Standards & Training Manager and Minister Tinée Furbert, Chair of the BTA Accessibility Working Group Bermuda Tourism Authority
The sessions were facilitated by Jodi Virgil, founder of Organised Solutions Bermuda and led by the Tourism Standards & Training Division of the BTA. The programme taught skills required to identify barriers faced by individuals, understand how accessibility impacts those with physical or intellectual challenges, and define an array of disabilities.
Jodi Virgil said: “Through experiential activities, sharing real-life experiences, and critical thinking discussions, we empower participants to self-reflect and raise their awareness of the experiences of those with disabilities. In a judgement-free environment, we consider various perspectives, challenge beliefs and inspire participants to proactively prepare to deliver elevated customer service for all of our visitors and residents.”
Davida O’Brien, Tourism Standards & Training Manager, added: “We urge all businesses to register for our awareness training as a crucial step forward in making Bermuda more inclusive. The team at Marine & Ports were very receptive to the training and saw the importance of enhancing the experience for everyone as they travel on their vessels.
The participants should feel empowered to serve with confidence while creating change that will positively impact us now and in the future. While Bermuda does have accessibility gaps, our customer service training and accessibility awarreness will help to close many of them.
Individuals or businesses are encouraged to register for the course. The cost is $65 per person, and participants can email to sign up at [email protected]
Top Feature Photo: Maquel Bailey, Ferry Services Coordinator, Warren Foggo ,Leading Seaman, Torian Morrissey Sr. Ferry Master, of Marine & Ports join Davida O’Brien, Tourism Standards & Training Manager, BTA and Minister Tinée Furbert, Chair of BTA Accessibility Working Group