March 2004 Archives

Cruising Baby Boomers

More reason for the cruise industry to incorporate universal design - family travel.

According to the professional organization Cruise Line International Association ,

Baby Boomers are the heart of the cruise market. Thirty-four percent of cruisers are between the ages of 35 and 54. Three in four (76 percent) cruisers are married, and two in five (44 percent) are college graduates. Only one in four (25 percent) cruisers is retired. Families are an important segment of the cruise market. While a spouse is the most likely cruise companion, 16 percent of cruisers bring children under age 18 along on a cruise.

San Jose, Costa Rica hosts the first International Symposium on the "International Standards for the Meeting Industry" March 31 through April 2, 2004.

Weekly Review

The quality of the travel experience is an underlying theme at this site.

Author Phil Cousineau, in his book The Art of Pilgrimage offers an excercise in attending to and recalling one's travel. He suggested to a friend that he write a poem each day while on the road. While that proved impractical for his friend it was something he did during one week of the journey.

To this day, his memories of that time are the fondest of all his travels because, as he has told me, "When everything is a possible poem, the word is suddenly more interesting."

This past week:


Concrete Change is an organization that promote the standard known as visitability.

Destination Management Principles

A Career in Inclusive Tourism?

The complete course of preparation for the student pursuing inclusive travel has yet to appear. For those with mastery of the basics there are some resources for specialization.

Funding for Universal Design Research

The National Institute on Disabilityand Rehabiltation Research has released their proposed funding priorities. The Public Comment period for these proposed priorities ends March 29, 2004.

CNNfn Covers Disabled Travel Market

Eric Lipp, Director of the Open Doors Organization will be interviewed on CNNfn's "Smart Assets" program this Thursday March 25th at 10:30am CST.

He will speak about his organization and travelers with disabilities during the live interview. Excerpts will air throughout the week on Headline

Sandra Vassallo of in Australia agreed to help me think through strategies for engaging the travel and hospitality industry in a dialogue on universal design.

Readers are adding their own insights under Comments below. Initial interviews with Tourism Board representatives from various nations can be found in the February 28, 2004 post.

Curiosity's Path

If there's a trick to soulful travel, it is learning to see for yourself. The difference between pilgrim and tourist is the intention of attention; the quality of curiosity.

from: The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau

This week - Some who serve with attentiveness and some whose diservice caught our attention:

Mi Guatemala


Jorge Gobbi, with a post on his always informative site Blog de Viajes, brings to our attention a tourism resource on Guatemala.
Mi Guate.jpg

Martin @ Egypt for All

Logo for Egypt for All wheelchair accessible tours
Martin Gaballa at Egypt for All tours sent an announcement that passage on a wheelcahir accessible Nile cruise has unexpectedly re-opened.

Max Hopper, one of the developers of the Sabre air reservation system was interviewed on changes is airfare pricing. He offers a concise behind-the-scenes glimpse of the forces that are changing the industry.

53nd PATA Annual Conference

Pacific Asia Travel Association Annual Conference 2004 Logo
"Tourism is Everybody's Business" -- is the theme for Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Conference 2004.

Notice how the PATA theme reiterates what Sandra Vassallo (Australia), Dave Player (Portugal), and others around the world have written in "What Does It Take to Create Inclusive Travel?"

SkyWest won its court appeal dismissing a lawsuit brought against the
commuter airline by a blind passenger who suffers from a lung ailment.

This week I found an example of universal design close to home. It was a bitterweet experience.

This morning I completed the booking for four clients scheduled to take Radisson's Inside Passage cruise this June. An instructive incident occurred as I was doing diligence to see that the three disabled passengers were properly accommodated.

Week in Review

Topics appearing this week ranged from new sites, through news cites, and on to spiritual insights.

This week:

  • Hospitality & Spirituality by Prof. James Spillane, S.J.

  • Anxiety to Access by Simon Darcy -- Universal design & travel research at its best

  • Top Designers create a new hotel experience

  • TRANSED 2004 the International Conference on Accessible Transportation and Mobility

  • Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health

  • The Code Connection online resource by Terry Welker
  • Terry Welker @ Code Connection

    This week I've had the privilege of corresponding with Terry Welker. His new web site, Code Connection, is an ambitious and very well-documented site on building codes. Grounded in Terry's Ohio context the site includes discussion of international codes. It has a prominent section on the Americans with Disabilities Act and building code.

    Code Connection has laid the foundation to be the best "one stop shop" on ADA I've seen for those in construction.

    The Language of Inclusion

    How do we hold together the argument that inclusive travel is a social benefit and a worthwhile business goal?

    To some degree we start with a shared vocabulary. Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health by the World Health Organization, (Geneva, 2002) is that starting point.

    Understanding this document is especially important for those in the US. It defines disability differently than it is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act -- and opens new possibilities for inclusion.

    Logo for the TRANSED 2004 conference in Hamamatsu, Japan May 23 -24

    The theme of TRANSED 2004 is Universal Transportation and Road Design: Strategies for Success

    Several readers of this blog will be attending as organizers, presenters or participants. We look forward to an informative debriefing and many positive follow-on projects.

    "Designer" Universal Design?

    USA Today had a report on the rise of designer-driven hotel chains.

    There is Donatella Versace's, Palazzo Versace, Ferragamo's, Lungarno Alberghi hotel division, Milan's upcoming Bulgari Hotel near the La Scala opera house and Giorgio Armani has his eye on a project involving several hotels and resorts.

    Simon Darcy on Inclusive Travel

    Author & speaker Candy Harrington cites an important study in her reflection on the question "What Does it Take to Create Inclusive Travel?" That seminal study, Anxiety to Access, was undertaken by Simon Darcy in New South Wales, Australia in 1998.

    It is a "must read" for those who follow the discussion here at Rolling Rains Report. Below is an excerpt from chapter 8 debunking myths about people with disabilities as travelers:

    Many of the posts here talk about sustainability -- sustainability in economic terms.

    Profit is a necesssary, but insufficient, component of sustainability. Any business, but especially one in the service sector, must address issues of meaning and of the value of human beings. Clients -- and workers -- demand nothing less.

    Professor of business management James Spillane has prepared a far-ranging overview of the purpose and value of the hospitality industry. In the paper, Spirituality of Work in the Hospitality Industry he writes:

    Sabbath Summary

    We rolled through another week. Here are the bullet points:

    ∑ Tips on how to file a complaint against an airline
    ∑ Figures on disability from Microsoft and on the ageing of Boomers from Harry Wolfe
    ∑ A dissertation on disability and the hospitality industry
    ∑ Notes on Japanís tourism campaign
    ∑ The Curb Cut Learning site
    ∑ A classic article on blogging
    ∑ The US Disability Rights Movement exhibit at the Smithsonian
    ∑ More insight into what it takes to create inclusive travel
    Universal Design from the perspective of Ron Mace

    Ron Mace on Universal Design

    The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University makes available online an edited version of an important public address on universal design.

    Delivered by one of its foremost developers, Ron Mace, this presentation was delivered at the first international conference on universal design - Designing for the 21st Century I. The dialogue continues at the third international conference in Rio de Janeiro December 2004 -- Designing for the 21st Century III.

    Here's a link to the virtual version of Smithsonian Museums' exhibit on the Disability Rights Movement in the USA.

    The activist focus is on Justin Dart and ADAPT. With no photos of ADAPT's first national gathering of disability activists in Denver and our actions at McDonald's restaurants I don't show up in the exhibit. That was back in the days when jails were still inaccessible and getting in was a little harder.

    What is a blog?

    Well, it's about time to post a link to the classic (in Internet years) article on blogging, My Blog, My Outboard Brain. Enjoy!

    E-Turbo News reports that the World Tourism Organization (the "other "WTO") has recently completed its first-stage WTO Code of Ethics implemenation process at an international meeting held in Rome.

    From the article:

    Why "Curb Cut Learning"?

    The blog Curb Cut Learning is a singular voice in the blogosphere. Begun in 2003 the site takes a barrier-free design approach to distance learning. While not dealing with travel, Curb Cut Learning introduces resources that may prove useful to those who could integrate them into a universal design approach to travel and hospitality.

    From the Curb Cut Learnig blog:

    Attracting Tourism to Japan

    Not that I endorse the "medical model" of disability over "universal design" but it does seem that the Japanese tourism industry had a 2 + 2 equation that is not summing up to "4". A recent study suggests two distinct ways to reach out to the senior and disabled market sectors. It does not appear that they have done so yet.

    E-TurboNews reports:

    Linda Hanna has posted excerpts from here study of the accessibility of London conference hotels at Lin's Accessibility Research Page. The interviews listed were done in 1995. A follow-on study would be instructive.

    Here is a quote from the site describing the purpose of the project:

    International Figures: Aging Boomers

    The figures below, researched by Harry P. Wolfe, provide a tool for long-range planning. What will the impact of these numbers be on travel?

    Inclusive travel and infrastructure policy that is designed today will have a direct impact on the travel and hospitality industries of that time. Forethought can provide the economic sustainability we are seeking.

    On February 2 Microsoft released the results of a research study, commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Forrester Data, documenting the widespread need and expanding market for accessible and assistive technology.

    Will rising awareness in the high tech sector, and the implementation practices developed there, carry over into similar accommodation of this demographic within the travel and hospitality industry?

    From the press release:

    Chris Woodyard often writes articles that are helpful to senior travelers and those with disabiities. Here's one that addresses a perrennial issue: complaints!

    Read Speak up: How to file your airline complaints