Indian Country Inclusion

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I still recall the shock I felt on my first visit to a Las Vegas mega-casino along the Strip. "Wow," I thought, there are more people in wheelchairs here than in any hospital I've ever been to!"

Today we visited the Pala nation to study the ambitious long-distance wireless network they have created connecting 18 tribes. We also visited the economic mainspring of the region -- the casino.

I stumbled across a back issue of Native Peoples magazine. It was the March/April 2003 annual Travel issue. There was nothing on inclusive travel and a call to the editor confirmed that there is nothing on the topic scheduled for the 2005 season either.

Too bad. As the hard economic data on the consumer power of this niche market is being acted upon by destination developers, hotel chains, and tour operators it would be a shame to see Indian Country fall behind in capturing its market share.

They already have a huge, loyal customer base among seniors and people with disabilities. Their facilities already inciorporate elements of Universal Design. They need to takle the next step to what Peter Rice calls "Universal Management" in order to become models of Inclusive Destination Development.

Further Reading:

Payback for Pala
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050227-9999-1n27pala.html

Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia
http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/000170.html

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