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By Mark Dyer, Associate Director - Destination Development at Red Sea Global

Published

16 May 2024

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Accessibility at the Forefront: Inclusion of persons with disabilities

Published

16 May 2024

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By Mark Dyer, Associate Director - Destination Development at Red Sea Global


For those who don’t know me, I joined Red Sea Global (RSG) as Accessibility Director around eight weeks ago. I am also a paraplegic. You might have seen me in my wheelchair at the bottom of a ramp, waiting for a friendly passerby to give me a push. Being an independent wheelchair user is challenging, but since I arrived in Riyadh, I have been struck by the locals’ warmth and generosity of spirit.

I’ve noticed the same willingness and commitment from my colleagues. I’ve also been touched by the personal experiences co-workers have shared. Some face their own daily challenges, such as those who, after long hours at work, take on caregiving roles at home.

The importance of accessibility, disability, and inclusion presents a significant question: how does such a large organization ensure consistency in such a specific area? It also creates an opportunity to lead in this field – locally, regionally, and globally – by delivering destinations that enhance the experiences of our guests and visitors of all abilities.

Creating an environment that works for all – guests, visitors, and employees – is a unique privilege. As such, our designs are meant to be both awe-inspiring and functional, embedding accessibility from the outset to align with and even exceed the world’s best practices. This approach ensures that our facilities are usable by everyone, enhancing the overall guest experience.

Although it's impossible to foresee every individual requirement, our goal is to provide clear and accurate information about what guests can expect, enabling them to make informed decisions. Going on vacation should be relaxing, but for many with disabilities, it often involves anxiety and challenges. From the airport experience to accommodations and accessing pools, each step can impact their confidence and experience.

Delivering tailored experiences for individuals with specific needs in a safe and dignified manner requires thoughtful planning throughout our development phases. To that end, through our awareness and training programs, we’re deepening our understanding of the needs of disabled guests by asking the right questions. Often, the needs of many disabled individuals can be met with minimal additional infrastructure or cost, significantly enhancing their enjoyment. It's also crucial to consider our aging population, which also benefits greatly from accessible environments.

The commitment to enhance facilities and services for disabled guests is deeply rooted in RSG’s core values. This focus not only creates inclusive environments but also resonates with our broader community. When we design with accessibility in mind, we foster inclusivity that extends beyond individuals with disabilities. Families and friends who travel together share enriching experiences, building memories at destinations that cater thoughtfully to all needs. This inclusiveness also cultivates loyalty among guests who value thoughtful design and exceptional service.

As we expand our range of accessible activities and services, we're not only meeting but also exceeding expectations, pushing boundaries, and leading innovation in accessibility. Our ongoing commitment to inclusive travel helps to position RSG as a global leader in the sector, drawing attention and setting industry standards.

Accessibility is a collective responsibility across our business. To deliver a seamless journey for disabled people on the ground, we must stay connected and committed internally, setting benchmarks not just within the Kingdom, but for the region and beyond.

As RSG grows, so too do our aspirations for defining the global standard in inclusive destinations. This pursuit not only attracts interest and curiosity but also invites greater scrutiny, challenging us to innovate and improve continually. With the commitment I see already across our organization, I am confident that we will meet these challenges and establish a legacy of inclusivity of which RSG can be proud.

About Red Sea Global

Red Sea Global (RSG - www.redseaglobal.com ) is a closed joint-stockcompany wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of SaudiArabia. It is a vertically integrated real estate developer with adiverse portfolio across tourism, residential, experiences,infrastructure, transport, healthcare, and services. This includes theluxury regenerative tourism destinations The Red Sea, which beganwelcoming guests in 2023, and AMAALA, which remains on track to welcomefirst guests in 2025. A third destination, Thuwal Private Retreat, willopen this year, and RSG has also been entrusted with refurbishment worksat Al Wajh Airport, focused on upgrading the existing terminal andinfrastructure, and building a new international terminal. RSG is acornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s ambition to diversify its economy. Acrossits growing portfolio of destinations, subsidiaries and businesses, RSGseeks to lead the world towards a more sustainable future, showing howresponsible development can uplift communities, drive economies, andenhance the environment.

RSG is the visionary company behind some of the world’s most ambitious development ventures, including luxury regenerative tourism destinations such as The Red Sea and AMAALA.

Across its portfolio, RSG leverages the most innovative concepts, strategies, and technologies to deliver projects that actively enhance the wellbeing of customers, communities, and environments.

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