Mesa becomes 1st city verified by booking app for travelers with disabilities

Oct 18, 2023, 4:25 AM

PHOENIX — Mesa was recently named the first city to achieve recognition from Wheel the World as an accessible and inclusive destination for travelers with disabilities.

The Destination Verified Seal was given after the city partnered with the booking company to give travelers advanced and detailed information about accessible experiences in the area.

“This milestone not only demonstrates Mesa’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity but also marks a significant step forward in our collective mission to make travel accessible to all,” Camilo Navarro, Wheel the World co-founder and COO, said in a press release.

“Through our Destinations Verified Seal, we’re not just verifying destinations’ local partners; we’re verifying experiences that prioritize accessibility by assessing, promoting them and providing access to unlimited e-trainings, thereby empowering travelers and local communities alike.”

What makes Mesa a disability-friendly city?

To become a Destination Verified Seal city requires Wheel the World experts to visit and assess locations. Statistics are evaluated across 200 data points of accessibility-related information, and experts offer recommendations to travel service providers on enhancing infrastructure.

In Mesa, there are 10 hotels, 13 activities and 11 restaurants listed on the Wheel the World website that are accessibility-certified.

All hotels listed on the marketplace offer accommodations such as wheelchair-accessible rooms, roll-in showers with grab bars, lowered light switches and thermostats, and pools with lifts.

A range of activities, including a trip to the Mesa Arts Center, Superstition Mountain and Sloan Park, offer accessible seating, parking spots and restrooms.

For visitors wanting to explore the dining scene, there are restaurants with step-free entrances and accessible parking spots and bathrooms.

In time, more businesses will be added to the Wheel the World marketplace to expand options for visitors, Alison Brooks, vice president at Visit Mesa, said in the release.

What else has Mesa done to support those with disabilities?

City officials have been working over the last few years to make Mesa one of the most accessible places in the world.

In 2021, Mesa became the first city in the country to adopt the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, which was designed to discreetly identify travelers with disabilities. The sunflower acts as a visual cue to trained visitor industry staff to recognize if the traveler needs additional support during their visit.

Mesa was also the first location to be named an Autism Certified City by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards in 2019. About 60 businesses and organizations and 4,000 community members completed autism certification trainings to bring the initiative to life.

“For Mesa to achieve the Destination Verified Seal shows that we are dedicated to promoting inclusive travel and showcasing practices that embrace accessibility,” Brooks said.

“Partnering with Wheel the World has provided us with education, resources and guidance that will ultimately help us with our mission toward becoming one of the most accessible destinations in the country.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A woman will be arrested after a bomb was found at a Phoenix apartment complex on May 27, 2024. (AP...

Woman to be arrested for bomb threat at Phoenix apartment complex

A woman will be arrested for a bomb threat that was made at a Phoenix apartment complex on Monday, authorities said.

38 minutes ago

From left, alleged Arizona fake electors Michael and Kelli Ward appear with their attorney during t...

Kevin Stone

Poll: More Arizona voters think alleged fake GOP electors are guilty than innocent

The 11 Arizona Republicans charged in the state’s fake elector case appear to be losing in the court of public opinion, even within their own party, according to a new poll.

2 hours ago

Man dead after being struck by a vehicle in Goodyear...

Speed may have been factor in fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision in Goodyear

A pedestrian died after being struck by a vehicle that a juvenile was driving in Goodyear around 6 p.m. on Monday, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Southbound I-17 was closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix for a police situation on May 28, 2024....

Southbound I-17 reopened at Indian School Road in Phoenix after police situation

The southbound lanes of Interstate 17 were closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix on Tuesday morning for a police situation, authorities said.

5 hours ago

Refuge Fire: Arson suspect arrested, given multiple charges...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona man accused of starting fire in wildlife refuge near California border

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of starting the Refuge Fire near the Arizona-California border was arrested.

7 hours ago

A Porter Airlines plane soars above the clouds. The Canadian carrier will debut a Phoenix-Toronto r...

Kevin Stone

Canada-based Porter Airlines to make Arizona debut with Phoenix-Toronto route

Porter Airlines, a Canadian carrier, will make its Arizona debut later this year with a new nonstop route between Phoenix and Toronto.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Mesa becomes 1st city verified by booking app for travelers with disabilities