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Accessibility Initiatives in Arizona

Mesa and Prescott roll out new initiatives aimed at helping all travelers experience their destinations.

By Beth Buehler

It’s easy to assume that independent travelers or everyone in a group can have the same experience in a destination, but that’s not always true. Mesa and Prescott are two towns that have implemented accessibility initiatives in Arizona.

Visit Mesa is partnering with Wheel the World to ensure the Arizona community is regarded as one of the nation’s most accessible travel destinations. The program is designed to provide travelers with advanced information on accessible experiences in Mesa and connect them with suggested itineraries based on personal requirements. This free service is available to all visitors and groups and can be accessed through both organizations’ websites.

Family leaving accessible Arizona Museum of Natural History Museum, May2021
Family by Mesa’s Arizona Museum of Natural History Museum CREDIT Visit Mesa

On Wheel the World’s website, visitors create a personalized profile allowing the organization to recommend accommodations and activities in Mesa that are compatible with their travel aspirations and personal needs. The program also allows visitors to book hotels and tours and provides reliable accessibility information. Specialized customer support is also available.

This complimentary service is one of several accessibility initiatives that Visit Mesa is implementing to ensure all travelers feel welcome and to become the nations’ most accessible city. Additional programs supported by Visit Mesa include Aira, a guided visual interpretation service; Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program; and efforts surrounding the community’s designation as an Autism Certified City. The destination marketing organization also helped establish the Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion.

Women Walking at Dana Park Shopping Center in Mesa, Arizona, May 2021
Women Walking at Dana Park Shopping Center CREDIT Visit Mesa

Experience Prescott, the City of Prescott Office of Tourism, has teamed up with EnChroma to make seven of the community’s most popular tourist destinations accessible to people who are color blind. The city has purchased 52 pairs of EnChroma glasses for color-blind guests and the public to borrow, ensuring everyone can see colors clearly and vibrantly while visiting Prescott. Glasses are available at Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew Learning & Tribute Center, Museum of Indigenous People, Phippen Museum, Prescott Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center, Prescott Public Library, Sharlot Hall Museum, and Western Heritage Center.

Normal versus color-blind view of rainbow leggings, courtesy EnChroma
Normal versus color-blind view of rainbow leggings CREDIT EnChroma

One in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (0.5%) are color blind for a total of approximately 320,000 in Arizona alone, 13 million in the United States, and 350 million worldwide. EnChroma glasses enable people who are color blind to see an expanded range of colors perhaps for the first time. While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, those with red-green color vision deficiency only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades.

Watch for more accessibility initiatives coming online in Arizona.