Written by St. Cloud State University student Taylor Mulcahy, B.A. in Psychology
DMCFinder can be used by people with disabilities as they plan their travel
Jo Joshi grew up in Nottingham, United Kingdom, and attended De Montfort University in Leicester. Her parents are her biggest inspiration who taught her that: “life is supposed to be a journey and not a final destination, keep learning, keep enjoying and always keep going.” She studied Computer Science and completed her MSC in E-Commerce Technology at the University of Derby.
While she enjoyed her time at University and never planned to be involved in the tourism industry, when she embarked on that journey, she loved it. Joshi worked in various hotels in the UK during the past 15 years in hospitality and corporate event roles. Pre-pandemic, she worked for a company where she represented global DMCs (Destination Management Companies) in the U.K.
A DMC is a professional company providing services in the travel industry. They possess specialized knowledge of local culture, activities, tours, resources, transportation and program planning logistics. DMCs are accredited by the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI), and held to high ethical standards by the Accredited Destination Management Company® (ADMC). These standards include accommodating the needs and goals of their clients and using their best efforts to meet those needs. Moreover, ADMCs administer surveys at the conclusion of programming in order to ensure quality control.
Joshi developed DMCFinder during the pandemic. It is a platform that easily connects event planners to global DMCs. They use it as a central database for key items such as venues and accommodations; to plan corporate conferences, festivals, sporting events, and more. DMCFinder boasts a very user-friendly interface with its virtual options. Additionally, the benefits of using DMCFinder is that it saves time and support is available every step of the way.
DMCFinder can be used to aid individuals with disabilities as they plan travel and search for accommodations. Event planners may need to find language interpreters, accessible hotels and those with modifications for Deaf or Hard of Hearing clients, amenities for travellers with developmental disabilities, adapted transportation, etc., and DMCFinder’s database will have that information which is easily accessible. While DMCFinder was not initially created for the disabled population, it is a site they will find extremely useful.
Joshi feels that travel is both an education and opportunity to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of ability, and as the pandemic adjusts the travel industry, it is a great time to push for inclusion and change. Businesses should consider everyone’s accessibility needs in order to make travel enjoyable and easier for all. She explains that, “After the pandemic, I think there will be a new way of thinking about how to move forward. Everyone has a right to be happy and to be included in all the opportunities life has to offer.”
There is a widespread misconception that making changes to infrastructure and other things within the tourism industry, so it will be more accessible, would have a high cost, but the more options there are available for travellers, regardless of their ability, the more profits the industry will enjoy because everyone can now be accommodated.
The biggest misperception is that it is difficult for people with disabilities to travel due to insufficient accessible resources, but this can be changed with consistent education and awareness. The United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore are some of the most accessible countries to travel to, in Joshi’s experience. She explains that creating more awareness about what the disability community wants from the travel sector, and how they can help to make their journey easier – in both the corporate and leisure sectors, could really inspire change. With this, Joshi concludes with her own advice: “I always feel you have to be grateful for life and you have to live it to the fullest everyday, and people with disabilities are no exception!”