The Biggest Barriers for Travelers With Disabilities (MMGY Global Report)

Courtesy of Wheel the World

MMGY Global released its latest report on the travel industry, called Portrait of Travelers with Disabilities: Mobility and Accessibility, reporting that the top two barriers for travelers with disabilities remain, as ever, accommodations and transportation. The report aims to showcase to the travel industry the needs of millions of individuals across the globe who find that their mobility impairments can also impair their ability to travel. The numbers are indicative of the truth: 96 percent of all respondents have faced a problem with accessible accommodations while traveling; 86 percent have faced difficulties with air travel, and 79 percent have also experienced transportation problems while in their destination. These are startlingly high percentages, considering travelers with mobility impairments spend about $58.2 billion annually on travel and consistently take about the same number of trips annually as an able-bodied individual. The research found that 54 percent of respondents had been given a room upon check-in to their accommodation that didn’t match the room they booked, which can cause accessibility issues to occur. The research found that 81 percent of travelers who were surveyed struggled with inaccessible showers or tubs. Fifty-two percent have also experienced having beds that were too high for them to easily access. Transportation issues continue to occur among travelers with mobility issues, too. Six in ten respondents have experienced extended wait times at the airport before or after their flight waiting for mobility assistance, while forty percent have had their mobility aid lost or damaged during air travel. The report also asked travelers what could benefit them in the future. Over eighty percent of respondents all agreed on three key things: increased promotion of accessible accommodations increased maintenance of ramps, sidewalks and mobile lifts and increased accessibility information on a destination’s website. The report surveyed 2,375 adults with disabilities who utilize mobility aids, as well as 414 caregivers or companions of someone with a mobility impairment. 1,761 had traveled in the past twelve months. MMGY Global worked with a committee of disability advocates, senior business leaders of travel companies who serve and support disabled travelers, destination marketing organizations and more. MMGY Global will be donating all proceeds from sales of the report to the United Spinal Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including veterans, to live successful and fulfilling lives.

New-York Historical Society Showcases Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite

Beginning August 19, 2022, the New-York Historical Society is the exclusive New York City venue for the traveling exhibition Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, the first major show dedicated to this pivotal figure who helped launch and popularize the “Black Is Beautiful” movement of the 1960s. On view through January 15, 2023, the exhibition features 40 large-scale color and black-and-white photographs that document how Brathwaite helped change America’s political and cultural landscape during the so-called Second Harlem Renaissance, using his art to affirm Black physical beauty, celebrate African American community and identity, and reflect the vibrancy of Harlem’s jazz scene, local businesses, and events. “We are thrilled to bring this exhibition to New York City, Kwame Brathwaite’s hometown and the location of many of his most powerful images,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “His work is a testament to the power of a visual medium to impact the movement towards racial equity. We hope Kwame Brathwaite’s photographs inspire a deeper understanding of the Black empowerment movement and how its legacy resonates today.” The exhibition chronicles Brathwaite’s evolution as an activist and artist. Born in Brooklyn in 1938, and raised in the Bronx, Brathwaite was still a teenager when he saw the horrific photographs of Emmett Till in his open casket published in Jet magazine in 1955. For Brathwaite, as for so many people, the impact of those photographs was decisive. As the son of a Caribbean American family, Brathwaite was also greatly influenced by the ongoing Pan-Africanist legacy of the Jamaican-born activist Marcus Garvey. With his brother Elombe, Brathwaite founded the African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS) and organized concerts featuring jazz luminaries such as Miles Davis, Abbey Lincoln, and Max Roach. In addition to promoting musical events, the group advanced a message of economic empowerment and political consciousness in the Harlem community, emphasizing the power of self-presentation and style. “Think Black, Buy Black” became a rallying cry. In the 1960s, Brathwaite and his collective also sought to address how white conceptions of beauty and body image affected Black women and culture. To do so they popularized the transformative idea “Black Is Beautiful” and founded Grandassa Models, a group of Black women of varying backgrounds from the community who embraced natural hairstyles and their African ancestry. The modeling troupe sought to counter both the slight, androgynous figure made famous by 1960s British supermodels Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy and the ubiquity of lighter-complexioned, straight-haired Black models in Black-owned publications such as Ebony. Alongside striking photographs of Grandassa models, the exhibition features several dresses and pieces of jewelry worn by the women. Special to New-York Historical’s display of the exhibition is a new audio guide available on the Bloomberg Connects app. The audio provides context about the “Black Is Beautiful” movement, the African Jazz-Art Society & Studios, and the Grandassa Models. The audio guide also explores other topics explored in the exhibition including jazz, Black activism, natural beauty, fashion, and Harlem during the time period depicted in Brathwaite’s photographs. Organized by Aperture in partnership with Kwame S. Brathwaite, Brathwaite’s son and director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive, the photographs—mostly shot in Harlem and the Bronx—tell a story of a movement and a time. Following its presentation at New-York Historical, the exhibition travels to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts in February 2023. The exhibition is accompanied by the first monograph dedicated to Kwame Brathwaite. Featuring essays by Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis and more than 80 images, Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019) offers a long-overdue exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work and is available from the NYHistory Store. For more info, visit nyhistory.org.

St. Kitts Tourism Authority Appoints Mia Lange as First Chief Marketing Officer

The St. Kitts Tourism Authority has announced the appointment of Mia Lange as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This is a new role at the Tourism Authority, created to further strengthen the destination’s presence in key international source markets. Lange will oversee the strategic direction and implementation of all global marketing and branding efforts and will manage St. Kitts’ various international agencies. She will also lead the on-shore public relations and marketing team in St. Kitts to ensure the seamless promotion of the island to citizens and residents. “Ms. Lange brings more than two decades of Caribbean destination messaging and marketing experience. She has proven success in launching key advertising and branding strategies that in turn have increased tourism and tangible economic development,” said Nick Menon, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Mia Lange’s experience working within the Caribbean and truly understanding our target audience will allow her to create destination campaigns that will keep St. Kitts top-of-mind among travelers,” added Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Her distinctive insights and approach will bring St. Kitts to the forefront as travelers plan their long-awaited vacations.” Lange will lean on her knowledge, global experience, and her passion for the tourism industry and the region to build brand awareness for the island of St. Kitts. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with destinations to create branding and external messaging with the intent to increase awareness among key audiences, in addition to navigating multiple channels including digital, social and traditional media to drive consumer engagement. “I am eager to continue immersing myself in the island, getting to know the people and experiences while embarking on this new challenge,” said Lange. “St. Kitts has a strong foundation and is poised for continued growth. I look forward to showing the world the destination’s exceptional offerings.” Most recently, Ms. Lange served as Executive Director of Global Communications for The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. In this role, she managed the Ministry’s key agencies of record, strategic planning, budget management, crisis communications, organizational messaging, and leadership of the Communication teams.  She served several roles for The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism such as Senior Director of Global Communications, Senior Manager of Advertising and Branding, Manager of Cruise Development, Sales and Marketing Executive and more, and worked in The Bahamas, England, Germany, France and the United States. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn

Baja-Inspired Spa Treatments at Mexico Grand Hotels

As travelers are looking to make up for lost time, wellness on vacation is no longer a splurge – it’s a must-have. According to a survey by Expedia, 38% of travelers are prioritizing relaxation as they plan their next trip. This summer, vacationers can enjoy specialized Baja-inspired treatments at Milagro Wellness Spa at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences and Amura Spa at Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa. Located at the Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences, the Milagro Wellness Spa has a variety of offerings based on Mexican rituals. Guests can book treatments named after the beautiful flowers of Mexico, including the dahlia, amaranth, sunflower, and cempasuchil. After a treatment, spa-goers can head to the spa’s open-air pool for views of the ocean and mountains. Treatments include a lava shell massage, an agave and tepezcohuite peel-off mask, an energizing xocolatt (chocolate) body wrap, and tequila & salt exfoliation. Another guest favorite is the Mayan Massage, a deep massage incorporating ancient Mayan techniques to heal the mind, body and energy. The Ancient Mayan practice of temazcal is another wellness ritual available through the Milagro Wellness Spa. The temazcal, a traditional steam house, can be found on the premises of Hacienda Encantada Resort & Residences. Guests can experience this ritual, led by a temazcalero, or shaman, that features singing, herbs, steam, and intentions, combined with the power of the four elements, to purify the body, mind, and spirit. Guests staying at Marina Fiesta Resort can visit the new Amura Spa, inspired by the Sea of Cortez. Visitors looking to immerse themselves in the sand and sea of Cabo San Lucas can schedule the Seashells of the Desert ritual. The innovative experience features a massage with warm seashells, filled with minerals, sea salt, and essential oils, all inspired by the gorgeous Mexican landscape. Amura Spa offers a range of other facial and body treatments ready to fit the needs of all guests. After a day by the pool, guests can enjoy the rejuvenating After Sun Facial to soothe, hydrate, and restore the skin. For more information and reservations, visit www.mexicograndhotels.com or call (624) 163-5555.

City of Alexandria’s Freedom House Museum Reopened with Three Powerful New Exhibitions

Old Town Alexandria, VA’s Freedom House Museum  CREDIT-Adedayo-Dayo-Kosoko-for-Visit-Alexandria

The City of Alexandria, VA announced that the Freedom House Museum at 1315 Duke Street reopened in May, with three new exhibitions showcasing Alexandria’s Black history and the Black experience in America. The museum is open to the public Friday through Monday. Due to high demand and limited capacity, it is highly recommended that guests reserve tickets in advance online. The National Historic Landmark is what remains of a large complex dedicated to trafficking thousands of Black men, women and children between 1828 and 1861. The museum honors the lives and experiences of the enslaved and free Black people who lived in–and were trafficked through–Alexandria. This museum seeks to reframe white supremacist history and provide visitors opportunities to learn, reflect and advocate for change. The exhibits depict the roles of the historic site and Alexandria in the domestic slave trade, and share inspiring stories of African Americans in the community on three floors of the museum: 1315 Duke Street highlights the stories of those who were brought from the Chesapeake Bay area, moved through 1315 Duke Street, and forced into slave markets in the deep South; Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality, a traveling exhibition from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, traces four centuries of Black history in Virginia through stories of extraordinary individuals who struggled for equality and, in the process, profoundly shaped the nature of American society and the meaning of our collective ideals. Determined in Alexandria is a companion exhibition about Black Alexandrians who built the foundations of our community while fighting for equality; Before the Spirits Are Swept Away is a series of paintings of African American sites by the late Sherry Z. Sanabria. The third floor also includes a reflection space with a bronze model (or maquette) of Alexandria’s well known Edmonson Sisters sculpture by artist Erik Blome, a gift to the Office of Historic Alexandria from former City Manager Mark Jinks and his wife, Eileen Jinks. The Freedom House Museum site is integral to the understanding of Black history in Alexandria and the United States and is part of Alexandria’s large collection of historic sites, tours, markers and more that depict stories of the Colonial era, through the Civil War and Civil Rights eras, to today. Visit alexandriava.gov/FreedomHouse for more information.

Pride in Provincetown

Pride Month kicks off this weekend in Provincetown, the queer capital of the United States. The 5th annual Provincetown Pride focuses on LGBTQ+ awareness, empowerment, and diversity, with a bevy of parties, drag shows and dancing. For early weekend arrivals on Thursday June 2, there’s Taproom Talk @ The Fine Arts Work Center – Right on Q: Identity & Understanding Around the Word ‘Queer’ as well as the Underwear Party @ Red Room – Pride Edition. Revelers traveling from Boston on Friday June 3rd can hop a festive ferry with the Special Pride-Edition Crossing on Bay State Cruise Company for a day packed with activities, starting with the Dedication of Rainbow Crosswalk and the Pride Proclamation with the Gilbert Baker Foundation. The evening’s highlight is Provincetown Follies – Pride Edition @ The Crown & Anchor. Dubbed” The Gayest Show in Town,” it’s a cabaret with a bit of Vegas, Follies Bergere and Moulin Rouge. Then move on to the Pride Kickoff Party @ Red Room at 10pm. Saturday June 4th starts with the Pride Drag Brunch @ Pilgrim House, Provincetown’s Longest-Running Drag Brunch. For those in need of beaty boost, it’s time to head over to ‘Beat’ Booth – Makeup & Flair Station by House of La Rue. Dog lovers can check out the Yappy Hour – Hosted by Puppy Play. Later in the day, it will be time to attend the Pride Rally at Town Hall & ‘Sashay’ to Tea. There’s a Teaside Garden Party @ Somerset House Inn, a Waterfront Event @ East End Books – “Furnace Creek” by Joe Boone, and the Pride Queer Comedy Showcase Presented by the PBG & Fruit Basket with queer stand-up comics Franqi French, Jaye McBride, Sam Morrison, Kristen Becker & Anddy Egan-Thorpe. On Sunday, close out Provincetown’s 5th Annual Pride Weekend with Feet Over Front Street 5K – Pride Run & Walk, a fun event with the LGBTQ+ community. June also marks the start of the newLGBTQ+ History Trolley Tours of Provincetown with Anne Hutchinson. This new hour-long tour has “all the answers you need to get your gay history straight.” Tours run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June, and on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday in July and August. Tours can also be booked independently. As if all of this isn’t enough, Tea Dance at The Boatslip is back with resident DJ Maryalice, who has been spinning the tunes for nearly three decades. Tea Dance happens from 4pm to 7pm every afternoon through Labor Day. Getting to Provincetown from Boston and New York City just got a lot faster and easier this summer with the advent of Tailwind, which is offering seaplane service from Boston’s Fan Pier Marina to Provincetown, promising a 35-minute trip. There is also new service from Manhattan’s SkyPort Marina on the East River to Provincetown via Fan Pier. For more on lodging, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and activities, go to Provincetown Tourism.

Visit Lauderdale Launches VisitLauderdale.com Website with Accessibility Microsite

Visit Lauderdale launched its new VisitLauderdale.com destination website that includes an accessibility microsite in recognition of the tourism bureau’s new focus on accessible travel as part of its well-established inclusion commitment. Visit Lauderdale, formerly known as Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, launched the new Visit Lauderdale name and brand slogan “Everyone Under the Sun” last year. The slogan is a nod to the destination’s residential diversity and lengthy involvement with inclusive travel marketing. Work has been underway with Simpleview since the brand launch on the new destination site. Meanwhile, Visit Lauderdale staff has been working to increase awareness of existing accessibility offerings in the destination and to help area businesses provide enhanced offerings for travelers with both visible and hidden disabilities. “Accessible tourism is not only about human rights, but also an opportunity to embrace and educate all visitors,” said Richard Gray, Visit Lauderdale’s SVP of Inclusion & Accessibility. “We embrace all visitors with wide open, welcoming arms and we are dedicated to increasing awareness of accessibility features throughout the destination.” Greater Fort Lauderdale hotels, restaurants and attractions create a welcoming space for every guest. Many provide accessible amenities including handicap accessible rooms – some specially equipped for the hearing-impaired – as well as wheelchair ramps, accessible outdoor dining spaces including spacious outdoor patios, special sensory-inclusive websites, and sensory-sensitive live performances such as those at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) utilizes the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program with a mission to provide a discreet way for adults and children with hidden disabilities to show they need additional support or just a little more time with airport processes. Free sunflower identifying lanyards and pins are available via advance email request at contactfll@broward.org. Area resources listed on the site include information on where to find wheelchair accessible beaches, and about the Fort Lauderdale-based Special Needs Group, which provides a wide range of equipment including rentals of wheelchairs, scooter, audio and visual aid necessities and other essentials. Equipment is delivered directly to cruise ship staterooms at Port Everglades, hotels, attractions, or the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Visit Lauderdale’s new brand identity and colors are now in use across the visitlauderdale.com website along with new user-friendly features. Find the accessibility microsite at visitlauderdale.com/accessibility.

Visit Natchez Celebrates Juneteenth with Special Programming

Natchez, Mississippi, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River, announces a multi-day celebration happening this Juneteenth to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Americans and embrace African American history, culture, creativity and liberty. This year’s featured event is the third annual Soul Food Fusion Festival, a culinary and cultural experience that highlights the aroma of traditional soul food cooking, fused with historic folklore, cultural arts and music from the diverse background of Natchez. “These programs in honor of Juneteenth are a wonderful way for our city to relish in the present moment, while remembering the work and sacrifices before us that made this celebration possible,” says Devin Heath, executive director of Visit Natchez. “We are going beyond commemorating the anniversary of emancipation by celebrating African American culture with events open to visitors and locals of all backgrounds who would like to honor those who fought for the rights and privileges held today in the United States.”

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Multicultural Travel News – News from Las Vegas, Greater Fort Lauderdale, Brooklyn and Tourism Diversity Matters

Multicultural Travel News – News from Las Vegas, Greater Fort Lauderdale, Brooklyn and Tourism Diversity Matters
News Briefs:
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Announces Partnership with KultureCity in Honor of Autism Acceptance Month and New Initiatives for 2022
Tourism Diversity Matters Celebrates First Anniversary and Welcomes New Board Members
Visit Lauderdale Champions Diversity and Acceptance with New “We Are” Campaign
NYC & Company Invites Visitors to Brooklyn Like a New Yorker
Las Vegas Shows Its Pride Year-Round with LGBTQ+ Events and Celebration
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Las Vegas Shows Its Pride Year-Round with LGBTQ+ Events and Celebrations

From annual events to amazing entertainment, Las Vegas proudly celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and empowers travelers to embrace who they are year-round. The destination recently launched a digital content series, How to Be 🌈 (in Vegas), which explores queer identity, self-acceptance, and everything a fabulously inclusive environment like Las Vegas can inspire. With the first trans woman to ever compete in the Miss USA pageant and the current Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez acting as host, this series allows Las Vegas to expand on the destination’s hard-fought inclusivity efforts, opening the city up to people around the world as a safe place to embrace their authentic selves. The first episode is now available on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and VisitLasVegas.com. The destination also boasts several venues where LGBTQ+ visitors can celebrate their pride with Only Vegas experiences. The Nevada Gay Rodeo Association’s most anticipated event of the year, the BigHorn Rodeo, will take place Friday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 18. The Henderson Pride Festival returns for a second year at Lake Las Vegas Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22, featuring a series of events focused on celebrating diversity, self-awareness, promoting health and wellness in all its forms. RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite Alyssa Edwards will bring her fierce looks and fabulous personality to House of Blues Las Vegas inside Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on June 13. The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference will take place Tuesday, Aug. 2 to Friday, Aug. 5, at Bellagio Resort & Casino. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the only advocacy organization for the LGBT business community. The International Gay Bowling Organization’s Las Vegas Showgirl Invitational Bowling Tournament is set for Saturday, Sept. 3 to Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. The biggest LGBTQ+ event of the year, Las Vegas PRIDE, returns for a weekend of fabulous fun celebrating the vibrant community in Las Vegas. Completely centered around pride and diversity, the annual event features a night parade through Downtown Las Vegas, Friday, Oct. 7. Out & Equal Workplace Advocates presents its Workplace Summit  Monday, Oct. 17 to Thursday, Oct. 20 at The Mirage. Out & Equal is the premier organization advocating for LGBTQ+ workplace equality. For more information, go to www.lvcva.comwww.visitlasvegas.com or www.vegasmeansbusiness.com.