15 May 2018


BestCities Global Alliance is proud to announce a joint study project with Rehabilitation International and GainingEdge. With the goal of producing a reference for meetings organizers and the supplier community, the project aspires to remove barriers in meetings and conventions for delegates with special needs in a bid to make events more inclusive.

The report that is facilitated by GainingEdge will lay the background on accessibility issues in the meetings industry, focusing specifically on venues for meetings and conventions.

BestCities partners, as members of the world’s leading convention bureau alliance, will be leaders in the project, trailblazing the way for other destinations around the world to make significant improvements in accessibility. This will be achieved through knowledge sharing and robust case study examples on good practice on accessibility in the meetings industry.

Rehabilitation International, as a valuable partner in this project, will also be used as a source of research, acting as the ‘sounding board’ or technical advisor. The association’s world congress which took place in Edinburgh in 2016, and left a multitude of legacies, will be one of the key case studies to feature in the report.

With accessibility an emerging area of research and industry practice, the Project aims to comprehensively address the broader issues including visitor accessibility that can impact visitor experiences and capacity in the visitation industry for full economic and social benefit realisation.

Paul Vallee, BestCities Managing Director: “This project looks at sharing knowledge and best practices from BestCities destinations, which can then be utilised to support convention delegates with special needs. We’re always striving to improve the purpose of meetings and events and hope this campaign will educate many on the importance of accessibility. Creating inclusive environments should be a fundamental aspect in the management of events and we hope to see more incorporating this into their planning.

Gary Grimmer, CEO of GainingEdge agreed: “We recognise that convention bureaus and destination management organisations will have limited control over the accessibility situation in their cities. These issues are complex, multi-layered and involve stakeholders from commercial, governmental and meeting supply sectors. However, building an understanding of the broader issues of delegate accessibility will encourage the industry to cater better for people who have a range of needs.”

The report which is due to be completed in the autumn later this year.


UPDATE: Download the Executive Summary from here and download the full report from here.

Notes to editor

About BestCities

BestCities Global Alliance is an international network of 12 leading convention bureaus around the globe. They are distinguished by the commitment of partners to advancing the cause of meetings worldwide. Members include Berlin, Bogotá, Cape Town, Madrid, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Houston, Melbourne, Singapore, Tokyo and Vancouver.

Some examples of conference legacies that other association conference have delivered include:

  • Education of the next generation through specially designed school programs to run alongside a conference.
  • Capacity building in developing countries via a program of specialist training for delegates from these countries as part of the conference. These delegates can then return to their countries and train their counterparts, sharing their knowledge and improving the technical skills of a larger group.
  • Reducing the burden of disease by prevention through public education around so-called ‘lifestyle diseases’ such as diabetes and obesity.
  • Increasing social awareness and acceptance by reducing the stigma attached to diseases.

About Rehabilitation International

Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network and organization that promotes the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation in order to achieve a world in which all people can enjoy active participation and full human rights.


GainingEdge organises GainingConnections activities at trade shows and industry events during the year, such as IMEX Frankfurt and the ICCA Congress. These consist of:

- Educational events
- Business leads exchanges

Please contact us should you wish to participate in these events or would like to know when the next activities are taking place.