April 2005 Archives

Join the Discussion Sessions for the 2005 Conference on Accessible Travel .

Respond to the conference questions below and I will see to it that your ideas get a hearing as the Asia Pacific Accessible Travel League is launched at the Taipei Conference.

South Africa Freedom Day -- Or Not?

Looks like South Africa is learning about some of the gaps in their efforts toward Inclusive Destination Development.

National Council on Disability Seeks
Americans with Disabilities Act Impact Testimony

WASHINGTONThe National Council on Disability (NCD) is collecting
written testimony from people with disabilities, their families,
and their advocates on the impact the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) of 1990 has had on their lives.


I am deeply indebted to Mr Richard Thompson, creator of the Good Access Guide for alerting me to the European Union's One-Stop Shop for Accessible Tourism in Europe (OSSATE). Note that OSSATE will hold its first international workshop 12-13 May 2005 in London.

I am pleased to make this preliminary announcement of a new multi lingual resource at www.eTur.com.br. The section, entitled "Turismo e Inclusão Social" (Tourism and Social Inclusion), will test your digital skills as you register. (Believe me, even my Portuguese-speaking colleagues tell me it's a challenge.). However, if you persevere, you will find documents and conversation from around the world.

Further details will appear in a future post but I wish to offer my profound gratitude to Valerie Fletcher and the crew at Adaptive Environments. Without their solid support of my workshop at Designing for the 21st Century III in Rio de Janeiro last December this project simply would not have evolved.

"Turismo e Inclusão Social at eTur: www.etur.com.br/menu/inclusaosocial

Bo Beolens' Style Accessible Birding

The article "Bo Beolens' Style Accessible Birding" (reprinted below) appeared on March 12, 2005 at the Travel & Disability section of Suite 101.com. For a complete list of articles see the column to the left or go to the welcome page at http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/travel_with_disabilities

Inclusive Travel: Hong Kong

Here is an example where public/private sector collaboration works to facilitate Inclusive Destination Development.

The Tourism Board of Hong Kong maintains a helpful site for tourists with disabilities and seniors at http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/travelneeds/disabled/index.jhtml

Notice how the links they include are provided by social service agencies.

Disability Access Symbols

There is a sub-group of researchers and practitioners on inclusive travel who I refer to, in my own private shorthand, as "The Iconographers." These are unusually motivated individuals who are tackling the nexus of problems associated with wayfinding, visual representation of information, databases of information on venue access, and a host of related issues.

The new guide for seniors in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Viva Feliz, also includes information of interest to travelers with disabilities. It is available around town. I have not heard whether or not an English language version is planned.

See the press release (Portuguese):


Documents such as the Biwako Millenium Framework below provide the rights-based approach which undergirds and stabilizes Inclusive Destination Development initiatives. The work leading up to such a document makes possible the current progress in Inclusive Destination Development in Asia.

In preparation for the 2005 Conference on Accessible Tourism in Taipei, Taiwan May 5-8, I have been reviewing abstracts of the presenters:

  • Cheung Wai-leung, "Accessible Tourism in Hong Kong"
  • Yutaka Takamine, "Accessible Tourism in the Asian and Pacific Region"
  • Aqeel Mohammed, "Accessible Transportation in India"
  • J. B. (John Baldwin) Munro, "New Zealand/Aotearoa Country Report"
  • Makoto Yamamoto, "Town-Building in the Retirement and Tourism City of Takayama"
  • Suporntum Mongkolsawadi, "2005 International Accessible Tourism Conference Country Report: Thailand"

    • This will be a watershed event.

2005 Conference on Accessible Travel

The 2005 Conference on Accessible Travel will be held May 5 -8 in Taipei, Taiwan.

I am honored to be have been invited. The item below in Chinese is the abstract of my first presentation on May 5.

Download file as .pdf

Design for Everybody

Universal design in the single family home market is not something limited to Canada, Japan, the EU, the US, or Australia as one might assume from the examples given at The Rolling Rains Report. The first model Universal Design home in Brazil is being showcased by Marcondes Perito and features design solutions from around the world.

Notice that their definition of Universal Design (Desenho Universal) includes Visitability:
"Freqüentável por visitantes - Todo ambiente construído é usado por dois grupos, os que o usam e os que o visitam."

It is also justified by the aging-in-place argument:

Também a população brasileira está envelhecendo e nossos idosos querem continuar vivendo em suas próprias casas, inseridos na comunidade à qual estão acostumados, o que é muito saudável, pois, essa permanência na casa, além de manter a integração social dos mais velhos, diminuindo a segregação e o preconceito, coloca no mercado consumidor essa crescente e importante parcela da população.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Disability in the Brazilian Context

As we launch the Forum on Inclusive Travel at eTur.com.br (in Portuguese), I find myself more frequently checking the site of Temple University student, Jared Goyette -- Disability in the Brazilian Context http://bahiadisabilitystudy.blogspot.com/ -- and appreciating his work and insights.

This Forum is going to fly -- thanks to the work of Brazilian Catharina de Medeiros Lacerda from the Sorbonne, Paris (the French version; undergoing translation to English), the backoffice IT work and tourism and disability writing of Hugo Côrtes de Paula, together with Cristiane Guimarães (vacationing somewhere in Aracaju and causing me to turn exquisite shades of chartruese-green with "ciumes"/envy!)

Brazilian Disability Law

Below, in Portuguese, is an excerpt from the charter of rights protecting persons with disabilities in Brazil and addressing squarely issues of inclusive tourism and Inclusive Destination Development. The URL for the complete t ext follows the selection.

Dubai, the United Arab Emirates

The Rolling Rains Report has readers in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Over the years, the representatives of Air Emirates that I have met at travel expos as well as the airline's word-of-mouth reputation among travelers with disabilities has made a positive impression.

So, I was surprised to read this monring at Inclusion International that the UAR does not have much of a disability rights infrastructure. Could it be that the 1997 entry at Inclusion International needs updating? News from a redaer in the United Arab Emirates would apprectiated; srains@oco.net

It is with gratitude that I publish for you, below, the work of Brazilian tourism student, Catharina de Medeiros Lacerda.

Catharina is a student of the prestigious Sorbonne (IREST – Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne). Her generosity reaches beyond sharing this work with readers of the Rolling Rains Report. She, together with Hugo Côrtes de Paula and Cristiane Guimarães, are the intellectual muscle behind a Forum on inclusive travel to be launched next week at eTur.com.br. Catharina's post on disability and travel (in Portuguese; http://www.etur.com.br/conteudocompleto.asp?IDConteudo=6160) has brought to light an desire for professional development on the topic among the Brazilian tourism students using eTur.com.br.

We wish you success in your career. A career launched with this spirit of professional service is a bright spot on the horizon.

Research on Place and Space

This far-ranging site is very useful for those with an academic bent. It serves as a portal to resources offering a theoretical examination of travel, migration, and tourism -- movement studies. The Rolling Rains Report is the only resource listed that takes a Universal Design and/or Disability Studies approach. Nevertheless, Research on Place and Space remains a rich source for the researcher.

Research on Place and Space

Will Jordan adopt Inclusive Destination Development? With King Abdullah the Second behind the concept, perhaps.

King Abdullah received the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award in New York, on March , 2005.

Abdullah, noting that the 60th anniversary of Roosevelt's death was only a few weeks away, called him "a man who - from the prison [sic] of his own leg-braces - championed global freedom."

"In the largest sense, Roosevelt understood that if this earth is to prosper and thrive, all people must have access to the promise. He worked to create a better life, not for himself alone, or his country alone, but for the people of the world," the king said.

He said Roosevelt's philosophy was the centerpiece of Jordan's commitment to the disabled.

"We know that free and successful societies must open the doors to opportunity and hope for all, because every person has a right to make the most of their life. And every person has a contribution to make to their nation," he said.

Abdullah said a key milestone was Jordan's 1993 law affirming the rights of the disabled. The country also gives free health insurance cards to the disabled, pays 90 percent of university tuition for disabled students who pass the secondary school exam, has a special enforcement unit to oversee job opportunities, and uses sign language on national television and in mosques.

(source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1111634305447

Karen Hanson @ Fresno, California

Karen Hanson is a volunteer who is redeveloping a playground in Fresno, California. Her story is told today at the Fresno's KFSN ABC web site

From Fresno, California, with Karen and Santa Cruz California with the Shared Adventures volunteers, it seems that grassroots Inclusive Destination Development is radiating out from this corner of the world.

Abaixo anexo uma bibliografia de publicações e sitios que ajudem no projeitação de Inclusive Destination Development (IDD). A definição do IDD esta a eTur.com.br - "Analise da Programa de Roteirização"

Below I have listed a basic bibliography of publications and web sites that may be of use when planning Incusive Destination Development (IDD). A definition of IDD can be found at - "Getting the Design Right - Inclusive Destination Development" http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/18423/115176

Independent Living Institute - Sweden

Students with disabilities who wish to undertake study travel abroad will find useful information in the current issue of the newsletter circulated by Dr. Adolf Ratzka, Director of the Swedish Independent Living Institute.

A Travel Wiki by Jorge Gobbi

For those on the road, and with facility in Spanish, Jorge Gobbi has developed an interactive site (a wiki). The site, Wiki Nomade, allows travelers to post about conditions in the locations they visit. His focus is on South America.

Neither this nor Jorge's other site, "Blog de Viajes", is specifically deveoted to inclusive travel but Jorge has been a valuable collaborator since the launch of the Rolling Rains Report and travelers with disabilities should feel comfortable posting their insights at the new site: Wiki Nomade

Turismo e Deficiência

Several articles have appeared on the Brazilian tourism portal, eTur.com, related to inclusive travel this month.

Inclusive travel and, to a lesser extent (because it is a newer phenomenon), Inclusive Destination Development have their heroes. Heroes, especially when they are out of the spotlight, often teach us something unique and valuable about how to live.

I have not given enough praise to someone whose vision and accomplishments raise him to that high status in both travel and destination development: Iichiro Kusanagi.

So, I was very pleased to see him quoted in Asahi Weekly in an article released only an hour ago entitled, "Freedom to Travel a Right to be Enjoyed by All"

In the past, an overseas trip was a bit of a risky gamble for people with disabilities,'' said Iichiro Kusanagi of Japan Tourism Marketing Co.'s Universally Designed Tourism Center. ``Nowadays, many people with disabilities go wherever they want to go, not just where they can go."

Barrierefreier Tourismus

Just for the record, one of the keywords for researching inclusive travel in German is "Barrierefreier Tourismus."

Here's one example of what you will find:

Topic of the Month April: Barrier Free Tourism

Thema des Monats April: Barrierefreier Tourismus


Think Globally, Act Locally -- NAG!

Disability has lately been a constant in the US news: Pope John Paul II, Terri Schaivo, and Christopher Reeve drew attention to end-of-life issues.

This near perfect storm encircling the drama of death has provided a wealth of intelligent writing from the disability community. What has become available, for those who know to look for it, is a fascinating anthology of thought and commentary presenting mainstream and dissenting opinion within disability culture.

The saga of Janeal Lee, Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin, has the advantage of moving public attention closer to issues of social participation on the daily level – much like the lawsuit before the Supreme Court about disability discrimination on sea cruises, Spector et. al vs. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., has done.

But I give this week’s Think Globally - Act Locally! Award to what is, literally, a more pedestrian project – The Neighborhood Access Group. Yes, appropriately enough, that’s “NAG.”

What this group is doing is an inexpensive addition to anyone’s “inclusive development toolbag” and ought to be replicated widely.

Holland America Line undertook the Shore Tender Accessibility Project, with Cap Sante Marine, Inc. of Anacortes, WA to provide wheelchair access to tenders. The prototype was installed on the Statendam for its 2000 Alaska season.

While the cited press release claims:

"Holland America Line has long been at the forefront of accessible ship design, and has always maintained a high percentage of handicap-accessible staterooms across all price categories on its vessels."

This has been proven to be false by the editor of the Rolling Rains Report through shipboard inspections revealing a lack of high-end accessible cabins on even its most recent ships. Their Tender Project has not yet spawned a thorough rethinking of ship design.

How's this for inclusive "street theater" -- I mean "theatre"? I bet it will play better in Peoria than in Laurent, SD.


From Digital Lifestyles:

Talking Street Created By Living Streets In London

by Mike Slocombe and Simon Perry

Living Streets, a national charity, launched its election campaign, "Talk to me about streets", by making street items like paving and signs talk back to passers-by in Meard Street, Soho, London.

The charity is campaigning for the need make streets and public spaces safer for residents and available to local communities for socialising and play - in our eyes a worthy cause.

At the risk of giving acid flashbacks to aging hippies wandering by, the charity installed micro-electronics to animate everyday objects in an attempt to get across their message.

The Rolling Rains Report entry "Analise da Programa de Roteirização" has been published at eTur.com.br.

ETUR is a vibrant portal frequented by Brazilian tourism students featuring articles, reference works, and interactive tools serving the Brazilan tourism sector. Many members will attend the Salão de Turismo 2005 - Programa de Roteirização, in São Paulo this June.



I have published a new article at Suite 101.com in the Travel & Disability section, "Getting the Design Right - Inclusive Destination Development."

This, and many of the posts here at the Rolling Rains Report are either syndicated or reference the tag "inclusive destination development" at Technorati.

To view the feeds to this tag go to

Note also the change to the Rolling Rains Report home page. You may subcribe to the free Rolling Rains Newsletter in the left column above the calendar. or simply by emailing

Analise da Programa de Roteirizacao

Que sera o resultado da confluencia destes dois correntes turisticos no Brasil?

Regionalizacao �

o ordenamento da oferta tur�stica com �nfase no turismo integrado, tendo, por princ�pio, a descentraliza��o. Seu objetivo � motivar o visitante a permanecer na regi�o, oferecendo-lhes uma gama de atrativos.

Inclusive Destination Development �

o ordenamento, por os princ�pios de desenho universal, da infrastrutura e oferta tur�stica a um turismo sem barreiras ao nivel de destino ou regi�o. Seu objetivo � atrair o visitante ja disposto a permanecer na regi�o.

O comportamento consumidor da turitsta portador de deficiencias fisicas foi divulgado nas obras de Simon Darcy e Eric Lipp. A nova pesquisa da ultima se publicara em maio 2005. O que chama a aten��o � a disponibilidade de recursos financeiros aliado ao desejo dos portadores de necessidades especiais de viajar. Este fato despertou a ind�stria tur�stica mundial deste mercado tur�stico espec�fico.

Exemplos de s�nteses de roteiriza��o existentes em outros pa�ses, adaptados ao Desenho Universal, forne�am modelos para o Brasil no Programa de Roteiriza��o.

O Brasil esta pronto.

O que ser� desenvolvido? H� oportunidade de palestrar sobre o assunto em junho no Sal�o de Turismo 2005 - Programa de Roteiriza��o, a ser realizado em S�o Paulo.

Fr. Charles Curran of Loyola University, Chicago and founder of Community Language Learning used to tell a story about a visitor to his office.

One day a young woman came into his office. As she made her way to his desk from the doorway she seemed unusually interested in her surroundings -touching furniture, bookshelves, and walls as she entered.

Later, as they spoke he asked about her that behavior. "I have a disability," she replied, "sometimes my legs give out unexpectedly and I need to know what is solid enough to grab in an emergency."

Continuing their conversation she admitted that she found that her invisible disability caused her to have to constantly "teach a class about herself" in new situations. It was a task that consumed energy and attention which could be put to more productive use in a world where Universal Design and an aceptance of human variability was commonplace.

In conversation about disability I often encounter the knee-jerk response, "Oh, but aren't things so much better since the Americans with Disbailities Act?" The acceptable response to that rhetorical pseudo-question is, "Yes." The dilemma is, how does one "teach a class" on the reality of the situation when the apparent invitation to conversation is simply a deflection of the topic and coded so as to change the subject?

I am indebted to HolLynn D'Lil of Graton, California for "teaching the class" today. Note that, contrary to what most non-disabled people assume, this representative of Chapman College is, unfortunately, not a rare example of malicious ignorance. See D'Lil's opinion piece from the Desert Dispatch below.

There will be some good news on maritime access at La Feria de Turismo de la Comunidad Valenciana on April 7. Like the Insituto Pestalozzi conference on travel & disabiolity in Canelas, Brazil there will be an exposition on tourism and tourism products that accommodate people with disabilities.

When will India pick up on the trend?

SHIA is a Swedish organization supporting international development and focused on organizations of people with disabilities. Their web site does not specify whether or not they have funded inclusive destination development projects but their mandate would not seem to preclude it.

About SHIA: http://www.shia.se/index.php?l=en&p=about-shia

Audacity Magazine

The April edition of Audacity magainze is out. Nothing on Universal Design or travel this issue - unless you count telecommuting - but timely pieces on Terri Schaivo and Pope John Paul II.

See: http://audacitymagazine.com/audacity.php?op=issue&y=grfx&v=&i=24

Inclusion & Disability in Development

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies produced an exhaustive study on the work of the World Bank in relation to disability and development. The document set a baseline for future comparison. The first appendix provides a coherent discussion of the issue and was written as a primer. It is reproduced below with links to the full report.

The Ample Rambler

Occassionally, something important escapes my notice for far too long.

One such event is the Ample Rambler blog. It has been up for more than a month and I just found it.

See also:

Ample Traveler web site

Big Fat Blog

Ethics and Tourism

The Rolling Rains Report argues a moral imperative.

Implied in the philosophy of Universal Design and Visitability; articulated in the field of Disability Studies; and documented in industry best practices it opts for those who fall all the margins of the bell curve of capacity and function in the human population.

It also argues for the environment through the use of sustainable development and green business practices.

If you are ever in a position where it is necessary to fashion a coherent ethical stance as a professional in the travel and hospitality industry the Code of Ethics of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) provides a helpful framework to build upon.

The opening address of Francesco Frangialli at Forum Barcelona on July 14, 2004 is reproduced below. It provides insight into the WTO Ethics document.

I would like to invite readers of the Rolling Rains Report to contribute their knowledge and experience to the keynote address "The Globalization of Accessible Tourism."

Throughout the past six months I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of travelers, travel industry professionals, universal design practitioners, and sustainable development advocates.

We have corresponded from Santa Cruz, California to Zambia, Malaysia, Slovakia, Scotland, Argentina, Germany, South Africa, Nepal, and Colombia (and those were on the slow days!). We have met face-to-face at NICAN in Perth, Australia; at Shizuoka in Hamamatsu, Japan; RISD in Providence, Rhode Island; at FUNLAR and Designing for the 21st Centutry in Rio de Janeiro. We have held discussions over dinner in Hobart, Chicago, Tokyo, Seattle, Launceston, San Diego, Aptos, Seward, Watsonville, Washington DC, and Vancouver BC. The intelligence, passion and determination I have witnessed demonstrates the vitality of a movement to systematically develop inclusive tourism as both policy and product.

I would like to weave that wisdom, and more, into my keynote and closing remarks at the 2005 International Conference on Disability and Travel - Taipei, Taiwan.

In the Spirit of April Fools Day!

April Fools Day brings knowing smiles to the faces of several friends in Northern California.

Two years ago it was the day when an ill-fated whalewatching tour left Santa Cruz, California only to meet up with whale-sized swells -- and no whales. Seven of us in wheelchairs linked arms for the last 50 minutes of the trip in an attempt to keep the lightest of us from becoming airborne. It worked - sort of - only one person was thrown from his wheelchair and spent the final 30 minutes riding out the weather sprawled on the deck!

Today's Project for Public Spaces newsletter also makes me smile. For irony served up with photos see: Faking Places

Visit Kerala, South India

Allepey, Munnar and Kumarakom are popular travel destinatioins in Kerala. But who can tell me if the caves are wheelchair accessible in Thekkady - or if I need to bring my spelunking gear?

The Travel Expo 2005- India Tourism Festival at Hotel Residency is the place to find out.