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WESTIN HOTELS & RESORTS STRIVES TO BECOME BARRIER-FREE; COMMEMORATES AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

 SEATTLE, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Westin Hotels & Resorts it will commemorate the first anniversary of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at all 36 of its hotels and resorts in the United States, the company said today. Title III of the ADA is designed to provide access to public accommodations to persons with disabilities. On this occasion, Westin Hotels & Resorts will make a public commitment to becoming "barrier-free" within five years.
 "Westin Hotels & Resorts recognizes that the 43 million people in America who have disabilities are entitled to ease of access to all hospitality services and equal employment opportunities," said Jim Treadway, president of Westin North America. "Westin is commemorating the ADA on this day to reaffirm its commitment to eliminate 'barriers,' whether physical or otherwise, in accordance with the ADA until all Westin hotels and resorts are fully accessible," he said.
 Many Westin hotels will be hosting ADA-related events in an effort to gain further knowledge from people with disabilities about providing "barrier-free" access. The events will serve to create further awareness throughout Westin and among local communities of the challenges that face people with disabilities. In addition, Westin employees will wear ribbons on Jan. 26 in commemoration of the ADA and hotels will display a statement of commitment to become "barrier-free."
 "We have received nothing but encouragement and involvement from local and national organizations that support people with disabilities," Treadway said. David Kenney, past chairman of the American Hotel & Motel Association, and John Salmen, author of "Accommodating All Guests," will be attending the "sensitivity training" event at The Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett, a former U.S. Congressman and one of the sponsors of the ADA legislation, will be presented with an award of recognition at The Westin Hotel, Galleria.
 Westin hotels have taken a wide variety of actions to enhance their
accessibility. Examples include:
 -- Hotel entrances that are wheelchair accessible
 -- Hotel guest rooms that are accessible to guests who have hearing,
 sight or mobility impairments
 -- Lower control panels in hotel elevators
 -- Tactile (Braille and raised character) signage
 -- Lower registration counters for guests in wheelchairs to use
 when completing hotel registration forms
 -- Designated accessible parking spaces
 -- Telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs)
 -- Devices which denote sounds such as an activated smoke detector,
 alarm clock, telephone or doorbell
 -- Closed caption decoders for televisions
 -- Assistive listening devices for people with hearing impairments
 who are attending meetings
 -- Wheelchair accessible tables
 -- Braille materials such as restaurant menus and service
 directories
 -- Accessible restrooms that are designated with appropriate signage
 According to Treadway, "Westin will continue to vigorously support and comply with the ADA and educate employees in order to offer guests with disabilities full enjoyment and productivity during their visits."
 The ADA was enacted in 1990 and, among other things, prohibits discrimination against the disabled in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations offered to the general public by American businesses. It was also designed to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities in the work place. Two of the ADA's titles directly affect the lodging industry: Title III, which prohibits discrimination by public accommodations, and Title I, which prohibits discrimination in employment. Title I took effect on July 26, 1992.
 Westin Hotels & Resorts operates over 75 luxury hotels and resorts in 15 countries worldwide. Westin North America, one of four Westin subsidiaries, consists of 58 hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America.
 -0- 1/20/93
 /CONTACT: Elizabeth Vasey of Westin Hotels & Resorts, 206-443-5180/


CO: Westin Hotels & Resorts ST: Washington IN: LEI SU:

SW-LM -- SE008 -- 6902 01/20/93 12:58 EST
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Date:Jan 20, 1993
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