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Whistler for the Disabled goes multilingual

Website for disabled visitors to add Chinese, French and German languages

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For years Whistler’s Huey Tollett has worked to make Whistler more accessible to persons with disabilities. His latest project, adding foreign language capability to his website, will make Whistler more accessible to people who speak languages other than English.

“Foreign language capability is a natural progression for WFTD (Whistler for the Disabled),” he said. “You have to speak the language to give a positive visitor experience and provide one as well by making the trip and stay in Whistler easier and hassle-free, especially for disabled travelers.”

Tollett decided to expand the site back in March, when he hosted a media delegation from China that has resulted in dozens of follow-up stories in that country. The exposure has also increased communication between Tollett and other disability groups around the world.

“With some great media contacts already established and networks that have been built up with disabled organizations, local businesses, corporations, individuals and many others will help play a key role in the success of WFTD leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games for Whistler,” said Tollett, who is himself hard of hearing. “This can only be a benefit to everyone in Whistler and for accessible tourism worldwide.”

Whistler for the Disabled is a website that helps people with disabilities to book trips to Whistler, letting them know what hotel, restaurant and recreational facilities are available to cater to their specific disabilities. With the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program currently at capacity for ski and snowboard lessons and guides, and the Paralympics less than two years away, Tollett is already seeing an increase in interest in his website. A lot of that interest is from Canada and the U.S., but more and more visitors from around the world are also discovering the site.

Not all of the information on the website will be translated, but the basic information on how to get to Whistler, accessibility, resources available and networks will be posted, as well as contact information for local businesses that can provide them with service in various languages.

The first translations will be in Chinese, courtesy of website supporters in Japan, along with French and German. Next up will be Japanese and Spanish.

The Chinese government has also expressed an interest in working with WFTD to assist disabled travelers during the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing in September.

Stories from Chinese media have been posted on the website, www.whistlerforthedisabled.com.

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