AccessNow is on a mission to share accessibility information worldwide. Over the last several years the platform has grown into a global movement, partnering with influential brands like Google, and boasting insights about spaces and experiences in over 100 countries. 

For an inside look at the power and purpose behind AccessNow, we spoke with Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO. She is a globally recognized disability activist and renowned public speaker, recently named one of 14 influential voices in Accessible travel by Conde Nast.

Ziv shared her meaningful perspective on how destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) can create accountability and transparency within their hotels and attractions, as well as the top items they should keep in mind when it comes to accessible travel.

One of these DMOs is Destination Toronto. Learn about its journey with AccessNow.

Mayaan Ziv, Founder & CEO, AccessNow

Maayan Ziv
Founder & CEO, AccessNow

Q: Please give us a brief introduction to AccessNow.

AccessNow began with a simple yet powerful mission: to democratize accessibility information globally, empowering people with disabilities to explore confidently and independently. What was initially motivated by my personal journey navigating accessibility barriers in my wheelchair, AccessNow soon evolved into a global movement engaging governments, companies, and travelers.

From attractions and venues, parks and trails, pharmacies, libraries, transit, and everything in between, AccessNow has shared accessibility insights about entrances, restrooms, sensory experiences, and more. Present in over 100 countries, with millions of places mapped, we've created an invaluable grassroots resource of trustworthy, disability-vetted information.

But our purpose extends beyond providing answers to key accessibility questions. It's about fostering inclusivity and breaking down barriers. Every review shared and every accessibility feature documented contributes to a world where everyone can explore freely, making informed decisions.

Looking to the future, our goals remain ambitious yet unwavering. Through innovative technology, strategic partnerships, and relentless advocacy and education, we're on a mission to share accessibility insights worldwide so that every traveler feels empowered.

AccessNow is more than a platform; it's a catalyst for change, a channel for collaborative engagement, and a testament to the power of inclusivity. Together, we're not just exploring destinations — we're shaping spaces and conversations where everyone belongs.

Q: What did Destination Toronto want to accomplish and how did AccessNow help it in its journey?

Destination Toronto sought to enhance inclusivity and accessibility within its tourism offerings. By partnering with AccessNow, they gained access to real-time accessibility information about local venues, demonstrating their commitment to accessibility and setting themselves apart as a forward-thinking destination. AccessNow’s Verified Program enabled Destination Toronto to provide transparent, trustworthy insights about accessibility, directly integrating with their Simpleview-powered website and offering invaluable resources to visitors.


Q: ​What are the AccessNow badges and why are they important? 

The AccessNow Verified badge is the primary badge that partner listings can achieve verification for. This badge signifies that a venue's accessibility information has undergone a comprehensive assessment process with our expert community, ensuring its accuracy and reliability. It serves as a visual indicator of the venue's commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, providing travelers with confidence and peace of mind when planning their trips. The verified badge is important because it enhances the visibility and reputation of partner listings among travelers with and without disabilities, helping to make informed decisions about where to visit.

Q: ​​How does a partner become a verified location?

To become a verified location with AccessNow, partners can begin by claiming their listing at The steps to get verified include receiving an assessment of their location, obtaining a verified public listing with the AccessNow badge populated with complete accessibility information that includes images, access features and descriptions, and a branded presence. Once verified, partners gain ongoing opportunities to connect with our online community, further enhancing their visibility and engagement with travelers who prioritize accessibility when making decisions.

Q: ​​What are the top items that DMOs and CVBs should keep in mind when it comes to traveling for those with disabilities?

Accessibility should not be treated as a separate offering or an afterthought but should be woven seamlessly into all the operations of a DMO or CVB, from ongoing plans, services, and offerings, to hiring and marketing strategies, etc. By incorporating accessibility from the outset, destinations signal their commitment to accessibility and demonstrate that they are genuinely dedicated to welcoming travelers with disabilities.

One key aspect is ensuring representation. Including authentic images and stories of people with disabilities in marketing materials, for example, sends a powerful message and helps disabled travelers feel seen and valued. But those images need to be backed up by real content, and trustworthy data. Proactively providing comprehensive accessibility information for venues and attractions ensures that travelers can make informed decisions about where to visit.

Other aspects to consider include ensuring clear communication channels for travelers to provide feedback, and training staff members to become more knowledgeable about accessibility.

By integrating accessibility into their core efforts, DMOs and CVBs can work towards creating more inclusive tourism experiences that benefit all travelers.

Q: ​​How do you suggest DMOs and CVBs create accountability and transparency within their hotels and attractions when it comes to accessibility?

Creating accountability and transparency within hotels and attractions regarding accessibility requires proactive measures and collaboration. DMOs and CVBs can start by fostering meaningful partnerships with local disability organizations, as they play a crucial role in gaining insights into the specific needs and preferences of disabled travelers. These partnerships can help identify areas for improvement and collaborate on initiatives to enhance accessibility.

By partnering with AccessNow for example, destinations not only support visitors by sharing Verified information but also provide employment opportunities for local expert mappers with disabilities from our network who we engage. This collaborative approach enhances the visitor experience and contributes to creating regenerative opportunities that promote inclusivity at the grassroots level.

It’s about recognizing that this process is iterative and that education and direct engagement with disabled-led providers and experts is often the first step in creating a thoughtful plan with meaningful outcomes. 

Q: ​​What are some indicators you appreciate for gauging the effectiveness or areas needing improvement in accessibility efforts?

Transparent accessibility information and user feedback are invaluable indicators of the effectiveness of accessibility efforts. For us at AccessNow, we do this via our platform and community events that allow users to provide real-time feedback, enabling businesses and destinations to continuously improve their accessibility offerings and understanding. Additionally, metrics such as the number of verified venues and partnerships with disability advocacy groups demonstrate a commitment to progress and inclusivity.

Q: ​​If you could give one piece of advice to all DMOs and CVBs, what would it be?

My advice to all DMOs and CVBs is to recognize that accessibility is not just a checkbox; it's a business imperative and an innovation driver. Prioritizing accessibility isn't just about meeting compliance standards, it's about seizing a significant opportunity that benefits all people and creates a lasting impact. By embracing accessibility as a core value, destinations can tap into a $58 billion accessible tourism market and enhance the visitor experience for travelers with and without disabilities alike. It's not only the right thing to do but also a strategic advantage in today's diverse tourism landscape.

Learn more about AccessNow.

For more information about AccessNow or how to join the AccessNow Verified Program, please visit their website.

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