April 2007 Archives

Ricardo -- Airborne!!


Ricardo no Ar

Ricardo Shimosakai is a Brazilian consultant on Inclusive Tourism who regularly provides material to the Rolling Rains Report.

Here is what he also provided to the Brazilian travel agent's association professional magazine. Looks like fun, amigo!

Accessible Portugal


magazine cover

The new issue of Accessible Portugal is out. See it here.


Hirotada Ototake is a author of the international bestseller "No One's Perfect." He is also an elementary school teacher:

"There are things that only I, because of my situation, can teach children, unlike other teachers," he said, adding that those things, such as respect and acceptance, won't come from any textbook.

"By only looking at my body you would think it impossible to dribble and throw a ball. But if children could watch me and think, 'Wow, he must have worked hard to do that' they too may feel they can challenge themselves to do something without giving up."

"Instead of logically and conceptually teaching children by words that discrimination is a bad thing, it is better to have them learn naturally through experience to coexist with a disabled child," he said.

And yet, I imagine he can tell you stories of how often it is easier to work with his sixth-graders than bus and taxi drivers, hotel staff, airlines and others in the service industry. Education is an ongoing process and travelers with disabilities are contantly in a teaching role.

Thank you Sensei Oto-san!

lowes logo

Lowe's continues its market-savvy leadership in the onloing home-building and home-retrofitting growth market. By aligning with Rebuilding Together they put further pressure on Tax Credit Housing to adopt Universal Design as the mainstreaming of Universal Design by LEED certification project of the U.S. Green Building Council, has done.

With all that momentum in the market how long can it be before the hospitality industry adopts Universal Design in hotels, resorts, and cuise ships?

Wouldn't it have been extraordinary if FEMA had been as insghtful as Lowe's in the post-Katrina to rebuild Livable Communities together using the off-the-shelf materials already available and requiring mobile home makers to have made slight adjustments to their manufactuting templates that would make all FEMA-funded post-Katrina modular housing be Visitable?

Fema ignored market needs. It lost money.

Lowe's carefully researched needs. It is making money.

Does Universal Design fit into that equation somehwere?

“Don’t get me wrong, I had a great holiday and people are so friendly, but there were just some parts that proved challenging for me,” commented Peter Nolan from Co. Carlow. Peter, who uses a wheelchair, reported that "being a tourist in New York had its ups and downs."

In the Irish Voice read April Drew's article "Disabled Tourist Rates New York" for some stories that reveal NYC through the eyes of an irish St. Patrick's Day visitor.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Tohoku University's conference, "The Future of Aging Society," in Menlo Park, California at the invitation of my colleague Richard Adler. More on his panel and the conference content later. First a reflection on a theme running through the informal conversations.

The travel budget for this one-day event must have been enormous as nearly half of the several hundred in attendance were from Japan. The comment I heard repeatedly from those who wereUS citizens was how events like this and their professional travel have introduced them to a dynamism driving centers of innovation outside the US that surpases what they find in the US. Particularly fascinating to me is the way that Japanese manufacturers, having fully appropriated Universal Design, are introducing the concept to American thought leaders who do not realize that it evolved from the US disability rights experience of Ron Mace and company.

Here at the Rolling Rains Report you read about the tourism industry adopting Universal Design. In the area of Inclusive Destination Development the convergence with eco sensitive building practice is very encouraging -- the work of Multi: Design for All in the Virgin Islands and the work of the International Institute od Disabilty and Inclusive Development in the Southern Cone of South America are bright lights in that area. Green Globe International is an important player in the sustainable tourism certification field.



The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced a major initiative in eTD (electronic Tourism for
Development). The announcement did not specify the degree of accessibility to be designed into this tool.

The Travel With A Purpose: Disability and International Educational
Educational Exchange (TWAP) Yahoo Group
is a forum to discuss issues of
disability and international education, including study, work, volunteer,
research, intercultural, and intern abroad programs.

This group is moderated by the National Clearinghouse on Disability and
, a comprehensive resource for people with disabilities and
organizations interested in "travel with a purpose". The NCDE is a project
of Mobility International USA and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of
The site is open to individuals with disabilities and international exchange and
disability organizations to join for discussions about choosing a
program, problem-solving disability-related questions, and sharing
information about international experiences.



The US State Department Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities will
take place on May 2, 2007 and is open to anyone who is interested in attending.

Tourists love New Zealand. It should be no surprise that some of those tourists have disabilities.

So perhaps the Disability Research Placement Programme is a possible career-builder for a young researcher interested in disability and able to make a persuasive case for the study of tourism and disability in New Zealand.

The 2007 Caribbean Tourism Media Awards recognize journalists for excellence in reporting on Caribbean tourism. Perhaps this year we will see something on the accessibility of Caribbean tourism products and destinations.

These new publications are available from the World Bank and can be downloaded at

book cover

Measuring Disability Prevalence
Social Protection Discussion Paper

By Daniel Mont, World Bank

Social Analysis and Disability: A Guidance Note - Incorporating
Disability-Inclusive Development into Bank-Supported Projects

By Social Development Department and Disability and Development Team,
World Bank

Making Inclusion Operational
Law & Development Working Paper Series No.1

By Katherine Guernsey, Marco Nicoli, Alberto Ninio, World Bank

The following press release was received:

The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and Fundación ONCE (The ONCE Foundation for the Cooperation and Social Integration of People with Disabilities) invite you to participate in the forthcoming ENAT International Tourism for All Congress; which will be hosted in MARINA D’OR, Region of Valencia, Spain in November 2007.

Open Call:
ENAT International Tourism for All Congress.
Organized by Fundación ONCE.
Supported by European Commission.
21st – 23rd November, 2007
Region of Valencia,

Over the years, very slowly, systems for accommmodating air travelers with disabilities have improved. Below is a copy of the set of questions that come up when you choose to identify yourself as disabled at Oritz.com.


It was my pleasure to meet Aqeel Qureshi in Taipei at the first International Accessible Tourism Conference. Now we all have an opportunity to share in his work through Disability News India.


Always attuned to the development of Inclusive Tourism, Aqueel leads the April issue with "The Magnificent Taj Mahal eludes 'Persons with Disabilities' – based on personal experience of C. Mahesh"

Mahesh Chandrasekar has written about, and equally as important, has illustrated with photographs the famously inaccessible Taj Mahal.

"Hominess", Hotels, and PERSONA


xx hotel has taken on the niche of emphasizing the "hominess" of their product.

The European Commission has launch a project to bring intelligence into environments to augement social inclusion of seniors.

As home, and the comforts of home include more "smart appliance" and Universal Design, so will hotels, resorts, cruise ships and tourist destinations.

The Commission's PERSON projec seeks:

to provide the aging population with systems that could foster the different facets in the perception of quality of life of a person, improving the level of independence, promoting the social relationships, leveraging the immersion in the environments, and encouraging the psychological and physical state of the person.

Malcolm Noden Speaks Out


Malcolm A. Noden is a retired faculty member from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

With a well-deserved tip of his hat to Candy Harrington's Emerging Horizons magazine he writes:

What does all of this mean for our community? First, we should be very grateful to those who have reviewed and facilitated general accessibility for our community and visitors alike. We should also congratulate those who were responsible for the creation and maintenance of the beach access easements that are located at frequent intervals along the oceanfront roads on the island. Many other oceanside communities are struggling with trying to arrange such access, and in many cases, even when they succeed with limited access, it is not handicapped accessible.

access logo

You may want to take a look at the Access Adventure website and all they offer.

"We focus on what is possible, not on what we have lost. The worst disability is a bad attitude," says Michael Muir Director Access Adventure and great-great grandson of the naturalist John Muir.

Michael founded Access Adventure in 2005, after retiring as President of United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc. A lifelong horseman born in Dixon, CA in 1952, Michael has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for more than forty years. When he could no longer ride, he taught himself to drive the horses. Michael commented, "Even though I can’t ride anymore…when I put the reins in my hands, we start that great communication between man and horse. It’s the dance of life and I’m in it."

Michael Muir

Refusing to be daunted by the relentless course of his disease, Michael credits his life with horses and the ability to enjoy nature with keeping him active and strong. In 2001, he led an international group of horsemen and women with disabilities on a remarkable 3,000 mile, ten month Journey Across America, driving wheelchair accessible horsedrawn carriages from the Mission San Diego in California all the way to Washington, DC. In 2003 he and Cindy Goff, a paraplegic horsewoman from Kentucky drove a carriage, powered by Michael’s horse Domino, from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico along the same route John Muir traveled in 1867.


There are 802 travel photos over at the Rolling Rains photo-sharing site, Travel with a Disability. These have been contributed by 226 members. I see some good candidates there for a new photo contest. The World Tourism Day Photo Competition began March 8, 2007.

There are some intrepid women travelers who contribute to Travel With a Disability. This UN-sponsored event makes no mention of travelers with disabilities or PwD in the tourism industry -- so let's do our part and make sure that women with disabilities are front and center!

Detail here and below.

From CanadianArchitect.com:

OURTOPIAS: The DX National Design Conference

This conference takes place from June 14-16, 2007 at the Design Exchange (DX) in Toronto, and will examine the vital roles that cities play in the economic, social and cultural lives of societies. Original ideas, recent research and what’s new, related to the many facets of urban life, will be explored in seven major topics: Mass Media, Sustainability, Transportation and Movement, Technology, Infrastructure, Policy and Social Responsibility.

OURTOPIAS will examine the architectural and design culture of cities, densification, urban renewal, zoning, adaptive re-use, gentrification, social responsibility and historic preservation. Related relevant topics, such as green space in cities, infrastructure, technology, environmentalism, sustainability, brown-site rehabilitation, exurban growth, public transportation, universal design, street furnishings, climate change and disaster preparedness will also be addressed by more than 30 speakers.

All rightie then! Let's give Access Anything: I Can Do That! lead billing today. See their press release below.


The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) was formed in 2006 and continues to improve

They will launch new information service later this
month at http://www.europeforall.com

Here at the Rolling Rains Report you read about the tourism industry adopting Universal Design. In the area of Inclusive Destination Development the convergence with eco sensitive building practice is very encouraging -- the work of Multi: Design for All in the Virgin Islands and the work of the International Institute on Disabilty and Inclusive Development in the Southern Cone of South America are bright lights in that area. Green Globe International is an important player in the sustainable tourism certification field. See their press release.

aiko Aiko Akiyama and Dr. Suwit Yodmanee, Minister of Tourism & Sports

The Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism is tentatively scheduled for November 22-24, 2007 at UNCC, ESCAP in Bangkok.

Bangkok. April 12, 2007 at 10.30 am.

Topong Kulkhanchit (Regional Director of Disabledd People's International), Aiko Akiyama from ESCAP and other delegates met with Dr. Suwit Yodmanee, Minister of Tourism & Sports, and and relevant officials to discuss on promotion of barrier-free tourism.

Promotion of barrier-free tourism as well as Article 9 and Article 30 of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were also discussed in order to ensure the rights of PWDs to accessibility and recreation. The Minister agreed to co-host the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2007 in collaboration with UNESCAP, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Ministry of Social Development and DPI

Javed Abdi wrote an essay on disability in 2002 that still makes the rounds via email. The piece is called, This Minority is Invisible. Let's hope that the prominence of tourists with disabilities - their economic contribuition to local economies, and the infrastructure built to gain their business - is having some trickle down impact.

Write for NZ on Wheels


If you live in New Zealand - or even if you are just visiting - consider adding your review of tourist destinations to the growing list at NZ on Wheels

Here is a link to how to write for NZ on Wheels

tour map

Mikail Davenport rode a hand cycle across the state of Texas to bring attention to several disability issues of importance to those living in his state and to others around the country. Davenport is 58 years of age and is a polio and cancer survivor. His 950 mile trek ran from El Paso to Beaumont Texas ran from March 4 to March 29th.

The event chronicle:

Assim Vivemos logo

From the press release:

Assim Vivemos - Brazil's 3rd International Disability Film Festival - Call for Entries

We are proud to announce Brazil's 3rd International Disability Film Festival 's call for for submissions. The Festival will take place from August 7th to 19th, 2007 in Rio de Janeiro and in Brasília from September 18th to 30th, 2007, at the CCBB (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil/Bank of Brazils Cultural Center).

The main objective of Brazil’'s 3rd International Disability Film Festival is to encourage new ways of seeing special needs and disabilities and stimulate discussions about inclusion of disabled people in society.

We accept works of any genre, length and year of production dealing with the theme of disabilities. For more details visit the site: www.assimvivemos.com.br, where you will find the rules and requirements, as well as the on line Submission Form.

The on-line submission deadline is April 2, 2007.

Namhae, Korea


Malaysia's energetically marketed tourism campaign, Malaysia My Second Home, is being a dealt a blow as the government ignores transportation needs of the group they are marketing to. International customers looking for retirement options are sophisticated consumers. National stability, health and transportation infrastructure are top criteria in their purchasing decisions.

It is disappointing to see Malaysia sabotage its tourism potential by recycling strategizes of patronization and dismissal of Malaysia's Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) as reported in Monster Blog.

Typical strategies of such short-sighted policy are requests that people with mobility limitations "be patient" together with platidues that "things cannot change overnight." Meanwhile, a 2006 statement " by RapidKL corporate communications division senior manager Katherine Chew said the 100 units of disabled-friendly buses would be delivered in batches from Europe soon. “We hope they will arrive by January [2007],” she said." While an April 4, 2007 article reports that the supplier is now China and that “For the time being, we will not be having special buses for the disabled who use wheelchairs.”

Intermodal transportation integration. Look up the phrase. You are going to be hearing more about it as airport access feeds into airplane access driving demand for hand-controlled auto rentals, wheelchair accessible hotel courtesy vans, seamless accessible public transit from airport to train, ferry, or bus stations.

In other words, "intermodal transportation integration" is related to what wheelchair users are familiar with at the personal level as "paths of travel." The difference is one of scale -- and social responsibiliy. With ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled you will see gaps in these paths of travel intentionally and sytematically targetted as unacceptable.

And that's a boon to travelers!

So is this development in Western Australia - the corner of the world that brought us the concept "Guestability":


IBM is innovating in accessibility with projects such as their WAT collaboration with SeniorNet and Easy Web Browsing. The IBM Academic Accessibility Initiative provides a repository of best practices as a resource for professional development.

The project site offers a summary of the need:

The population of software users with some sort of physical impairment is larger than most people realize:

* Almost 500 million people worldwide have some type of disability.
* According to the American Foundation for the Blind, approximately 1.5 million American computer users are blind or visually impaired.
* About 5.5% of the Web-surfing population is color blind, based on the proportion of the general public that is color blind.
* Approximately 420 million people worldwide are age 65 or older, and this number is expected to increase dramatically over the next two decades. Because vision and hearing decrease with time, older people often have technology needs similar to people with disabilities. This maturing population represents the first generation to have grown up with computers, who expect to continue to use computers in their daily lives.

Businesses today recognize the need to offer accessible products to:

* Meet the needs of their disabled or older customers.
* Enable older workers to continue employment if they choose.
* Hire and keep disabled employees.
* Meet legislation and purchasing requirements.

The Friendship Project



There's a new voice in the blogosphere taking note of travel accessibility.

Lisa Hazzell at the Friendship Project:


The Friendship Project is dedicated to providing parent education, resource and advocacy information that promotes parent, family and community involvement in caring for their special needs child.

"My Maps" at Google



With a mashup that lets you create interactive maps going mainstream at Google is there something useful for documenting Inclusive Travel? Take a look at Google Maps and click on the new My Maps tab:


Just some of the article that came across my desk in one day:

As boomers age, he helps their houses adjust

"The more I got to know this market, the more convinced I was I needed more professional designations," he said. "But the real eye-opener was the training I received to become an aging-in-place specialist. I was shocked to learn how much this service was needed."

When Boomers Age

You can tell a lot about certain classes of people by what other people try to sell them. The home builders have contemplated the now-retiring baby boomers and, although they put it more gently, have seen walkers, wheelchairs and general decrepitude, if not now, eventually. And they are designing houses that will allow creaky boomers to stay in them.

Magic Johnson wants to see more minority travel. Magic, we could use some celebrity support for accessible travel while you're at it.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Magic Johnson was known for his uncanny vision on the basketball court. Now a businessman with a stake in the travel industry, he has his sights set on making the leisure industry more accessible to minorities and their spending power.

"When you think about minorities, yes, we're traveling, but we could do it even more often if we have more minority buyers and sellers in the industry," Johnson said Friday to a group of cruise industry and travel agents at the cruise3sixty conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.. "We need more minorities selling travel."

Age-Friendly Cities


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities speaks to a subset of the aing population. Disability increases with age.

So the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Cites Project has a natural ally in the bloc of countries that have endorsed the UNCRPD. I will be reporting more on the Age Friendly Cities Project after hearing Dr. Alexandre Kalache's presentation on it at the Active Aging Conference in Korea next month. As cities design consciouslly for seniors they become more accessible to all -- and that's good for tourism:

The Age-Friendly Cities Project has two main objectives:

For WHO: to identify concrete indicators of an age-friendly city and produce a practical guide to stimulate and guide advocacy, community development and policy change to make urban communities age-friendly.

For participating cities: to increase awareness of local needs, gaps and good ideas for improvement in order to stimulate development of more age-friendly urban settings.

Sunday, 1, April, 2007 (13, Rabi` al-Awwal, 1428)

Kingdom and Six Arab States Sign UN Protocol
K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News

JEDDAH, 1 April 2007 Saudi Arabia, along with other countries, signed on Friday night the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol opened for signature by states and regional integration organizations at a solemn ceremony at the UN General Assembly hall in New York on Friday. Six Arab states including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were among more than 80 countries that took part in the signature ceremony.

"All the other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia will sign the treaty in the near future," Mukhtar Shibani of the Riyadh-based chair of the Arab region of one of RI's commissions International Commission on Technology and Accessibility (ICTA-RI), told Arab News yesterday.

Human 2.0 @ MIT Media Lab



The MIT Media Lab will present h2.0 on May 9, 2007. From the web site:

A science is emerging that combines a new understanding of how humans work to usher in a new generation of machines that mimic or aid human physical and mental capabilities. Some 150 million of us are over the age of 80, while 200 million of us suffer from severe cognitive, emotional, sensory, or physical disabilities. Giving all or even most of this population a quality of life beyond mere survival is both the scientific challenge of the epoch and the basis for a coming revolution over what it means to be human. To unleash this next stage in human development, our bodies will change, our minds will change, and our identities will change. The age of Human 2.0 is here.


Several years ago word came my way about widespread interest in Universal Design in Turkey to accommodate tourism and retirees from around Europe. Then there was a long hiatus of silence until this article in Today's Zaman:

Turkey targets disabled tourists, despite barriers

Tourism is already a vital part of the Turkish economy, and now Turkey wants to increase its share in revenue from disabled tourists, opening Turkish tourism to a global market worth 80 billion euros.

While the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is asking tourist sites to better organize their facilities to accommodate disabled visitors, a booklet titled "Barrier Free İstanbul for All" has been prepared in English and Turkish with the assistance of the Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TURSAB).