February 2008 Archives

"“Factors of Success and Actions to Increase Quality in Accessible Tourism for All in Germany" is the name of a breakout session” at ITB 2008 in Berlin. The German Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, Ernst Hinsken, MdB, extends his invitation to a German speaking conference „Accessible Tourism for All“. The conference will be held in conjunction with ITB in Berlin on March 6th, from 14:00 – 16:00 in the ICC, Room 43.

During this conference the initial results of the fundamental study „Analysis of factors of success and development of actions to increase the quality of Accessible Tourism for All in Germany“ will be presented and, as a first result, a Germany-wide Working Group “Accessible Destinations of Germany” established.

Commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, the new study will be developed by the Department of Geography at the University of Münster and PROJECT M GmbH from Berlin.

With the new study the work on the study „Economic Impulses for Accessible Tourism for All in Germany“ will be continued (which was commissioned by the Ministry of Economics in 2003).

Further details regarding agenda and content of the conference will be provided by Peter Neumann: peter.neumann@uni-muenster.de

Changemakers - Open Source Social Solutions

From the "Fun with Widgets File" comes this little gizmo that can be added to an email, dropped onto your desktop, or plopped into your blog so you can keep up with what is being said about the Inclusive Tourism Centers of Excellence Proposal under consideration at the Ashoka Changemaker Geotourism Challenge:

Scroll down to see all the comments. You will find the Inclusive Tourism centers of Excellence Proposal here:


Desenho universal completa o desenho verde. Os dois falam da sustentabilitdade - o verde do meio ambiente o universal da sustentabilitdade social da inclusão.

Hoje o pioneiro Brasileiro de turismo adaptado, Ricardo Shimosakai, mostra a conexão e lança nova coluna no sitio Turismo Responsavel aqui.

Parabems Ricardo!

A ONG Aventura Especial (www.aventuraespecial.org.br ) trabalha para a inclusão de mais de 24,5 milhões de pessoas com algum tipo de deficiência, só no Brasil, no fascinante mundo do ecoturismo e do turismo de aventura.

O grande passo foi dado graças à realização do projeto Aventureiros Especiais, em convênio com o Ministério do Turismo, quando foram feitos vários testes de campo reunindo pessoas com deficiências física, sensorial, mental e múltipla. Entre eles, um amputado, um paraplégico, um tetraplégico, um visual, um surdocego, um com paralisia cerebral, um atáxico e um com Síndrome de Down. Todos praticaram modalidades de atividades de aventura, como rapel, rafting, tirolesa, bóia-cross, acqua-ride e off-road, com o intuito de apurar as necessidades de adaptações e condutas a serem seguidas pelos profissionais do turismo.

Fonte: Revista Hotelaria - 19-02-08

The European Network for Accessible Tourism, ENAT, is maturing organizationally. It has gained status as the European Union's non-profit organization promoting inclusion in tourism. The press release below illustrates how organizations promoting travel with a sensitivity to disability share a similar agenda worldwide that converges around standards informed by the participation of people with disabilities and disabled peoples organizations.

Over at Advertising to Baby Boomers Chuck Nyren included a flattering profile of the Rolling Rains blog and this sage advice on Boomeropia:

The name Boomeropia is abominable. In my book I warn against calling Boomers Boomers and naming anything “Boomer-whatever”. But they’ll find out soon enough. When I see “Boomeropia” I think of those neologism contests, mostly blends. Boomeropia sounds to me like a blend of boomer and myopia - a term boomer-bashers (a neoligism! as is 'baby boomers') might come up with:

Boomeropia: A psychological disorder prevalent in Baby Boomers who have convinced themselves that they are the only generation of any importance. In advanced stages of the disease, patients believe that there is only one generation - Baby Boomers. All other generations are merely cohorts and wannabes. Also known as “The Me Generation”.)

Source: http://advertisingtobabyboomers.blogspot.com/2008/02/boomertopia.html

It would be very helpful to see other nations replicate this study for their tourism industry web sites.

New research commissioned by Travolution magazine has found that major UK travel firms are failing to make their online services accessible to disabled people.

The research was carried out by digital design agency Fortune Cookie (www.fortunecookie.co.uk) which tested a number of UK travel websites for accessibility to the UK’s 10 million disabled people.

Fortune Cookie’s Accessibility Expert Rune Leth Andersen said: “There are a number of ways of testing the accessibility of a website. Run it through an automated accessibility checking tool (www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/complete). But beware, automated tools detect only some accessibility problems and can produce false positives. Another approach is to commission a web accessibility expert to audit the site and provide recommendations. And you can undertake user testing involving disabled people.”

Source: Press Release - 25 February 2008

Air Passenger Rights in Pretoria?

As a frequent speaker and flier the following article probably would have never caught my attention had I been in Pretoria reading the newspaper yesterday. I may have paused for a moment wondering why an editor would think such an everyday occurrence as being left behind on an airplane without bathroom access or having your wheelchair lost or destroyed was newsworthy. It is helpful to have non-disabled friends who remind me that such things are not their experience:

A disabled Pretoria man was left on a South African Airways aircraft for more than an hour at OR Tambo International Airport while he waited for Swissport to provide a passenger aid unit (PAU) so he could disembark.

In that time the man, who does not want to be named, needed the toilet, had to insert a catheter to relieve himself and, after disembarking he and airport officials searched for a further two hours to find his wheelchair.

Why Wireless is an Inclusive Travel Issue

Wireless technology and its impact on people with disabilities is the focus of study for the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC). Below is a press release explaining results from a new survey they have done. For the purposes of the Rolling Rains' central topic -- travel, disability, & Universal Design -- this finding seemed key:

* Explaining why wireless devices are important to them, survey participants cited convenience and a sense of security - much like the general population. But they also noted that wireless devices often serve as assistive technologies. For example, one respondent noted, “The camera helps me remember things.” Another participant reported that with the texting feature, “I can communicate with hearing people, like hearing people use cell phones.”

The Perrin Post blog brings Inclusive Tourism incrementally closer to mainstream with this entry called Renting a Different Kind of Wheels in France.

Is Tourism Accessible in Sri Lanka?

I have been working with Dr Ajith Perera of Idiraya in Sri Lanka to create educational materials on Inclusive Tourism. Needs are still great there for accessible infrastructure rebuilding following the tsunami. Progress toward accessibility seems quite slow from reports received. So, maybe the Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry would like to hear of positive experiences by travelers with disabilities who have visited the beautiful island:

Please note that a major web upgrading initiative of Sri Lanka Tourism is also underway. We call on all tourism industry stakeholders to keep sending us snippets of news so we could include them in the weekly newsletters, we will bring to you on an improved format.

Sri Lanka Tourism wishes to thank all stakeholders for their wonderful support and assistance and wishes to invite them to get involved with 'Sri Lanka calling'. Please send your articles to stories@srilanka.travel


A big "Thank you!" to those who heeded the call to nominate projects for the Geotourism Challenge. The Rolling Rains Report was also nominated. I used the opportunity to recount some successes and draw attention to the project proposal being evaluated by Echoing Green.

Those who want to read the Geotourism Challenge entry can find it here:


Comments are encouraged in the section below the project description. Keep nominating good Inclusive Tourism projects!

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism has invested $R1.3 million (Reis) in projects of the initiative Aventura Segura (safe Adventure). One portion will go to the town of Socorro top make it a destination of choice for tourists with disabilities. Minister Marta Suplicy participated in the official launch of that project known as “Socorro Acessível” (Accessible Socorro). She explained:

"The Ministry of Tourism is investing $R 447,000 in Socorro Acessível, a project which aims to make the city the first tourist destination in the country adapted to people with disabilities. Our actions aimed at mapping and diagnosis of accessibility in the municipality of Socorro, the mobilization of civil society organisations, monitoring and supervision of works, creation of accessible routes of tourism, the certification of service providers and creation of technical material. We a making here a big leap in the quality of care for people with disabilities."

Aventura Segura was created as a partnership of the Ministry of Tourism with the Brazilian Association of Business Travel Adventure and Ecotourism (Abeta) and Sebrae. Other cities participating in Aventuera Segura include: Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Bonito, Chapada Diamantina, Chapada dos Veadeiros, Florianópolis, Vale Alto Ribeira, Serra do Cipó, Foz do Iguaçu, Serra Gaúcha, Brotas, Serra dos Órgãos, Manaus, Recife e Lençóis Maranhenses.

O Ministério do Turismo investe R$ 1,3 milhão em ações do projeto Socorro Acessível, do programa Aventura Segura e em obras de adaptação em passeios e edifícios públicos, visando oferecer acessibilidade às pessoas com deficiência, e ainda na implantação de sinalização turística. Nesta quarta-feira (20) a ministra Marta Suplicy participou do lançamento oficial das ações do projeto. Ela também assinou repasses de recursos para a Prefeitura realizar as obras e fazer a sinalização turística.


Dança em Cadeira de Rodas (Portuguese)

Importante ferramenta de reabilitação física e social de pessoas com
deficiência através da arte.
A exploração dos movimentos que mostram a eficiência da pessoa e não
somente a limitação, já que esta é óbvia.
"O grande barato, cara, é a gente além de se mostrar, conquistar!".

Changemaker's Geotourism Competition


Changemakers, a project of Ashoka, launched their Geotourism Challenge on January 31, 2008. There are many Rolling Rains Report readers who will know of and may even run projects that would be excellent nominees for this project.

Head over to their nomination form and let them know about Inclusive Tourism by adding your nomination:


"Nominate your favorite example of geotourism -- defined by National Geographic as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place: its environment, heritage, culture, aesthetics, and the well-being of its residents."

Try to Catch Johnny Jet!

Doing some travel planning and have access to the Internet but maybe not all the time you need? See if Johnny Jet's list of Online Travel Resources has what you need:


Trends: UD, Housing, and Gerontechnology

One of the theses of this site is that as Universal Design moves into the mainstream it will have wider social impact than ever imagined when it was invented as part of the civil rights era in the US.

As a philosophy of liberation at its core that should not be surprising but the actual interplay of historical factors shaping the development and spread of his approach to building for humans-as-they-are is fascinating. I have written an article, Culture and the Future of Universal Design, for Design for All India on the need to study how various cultures accept, reject, or transform Universal Design. The following entry from the AGIS site entitled Housing and Technology illustrates one example of Universal Design become situated in broader historical trends. Here UD is placed in a discussion of aging, smart homes, and gerontechnology:

Each generation or cohort of aging individuals reaching older adulthood will also bring their experience, education, lifestyle, human associations and connections, and their needs and desires with them as they age. Computerphobia, and technophobia in general, will eventually evaporate, even if it remains in the post–World War II generation. Indeed, discretionary income among older adults is generally high, and housing purchases of single-family dwellings at the upper end of the price spectrum is, and will remain, a purchase made mainly by older adults. With those housing purchases come all of the opportunities for technology; both that which is part of the original purchase and that acquired after purchase. Technology and affluence go hand-in-hand. The acquisition of goods and services, however, is made by older adults only if they meet certain lifestyle requirements.

Meet Nilesh Singit and Abhisek Ray co-founders of Disability Research and Design Foundation (DRDF). DRDF qualifies as the sort of "Knockout Idea" that Ashoka Foundation looks for in selecting social entrepreneurs:

The Knockout Test: A New Idea

Ashoka cannot elect someone to the Fellowship unless he or she is possessed by a new idea—a new solution or approach to a social problem—that will change the pattern in a field, be it human rights, the environment, or any other. We evaluate the idea historically and against its contemporaries in the field, looking for innovation and real change potential.

The also select on creativity, social impact, ethical fiber, and entrepreneurial quality:

Perhaps our most important criterion, entrepreneurial quality is the defining characteristic of first class entrepreneurs. It defines leaders who see opportunities for change and innovation and devote themselves entirely to making that change happen. These leaders often have little interest in anything beyond their mission, and they are willing to spend the next ten to fifteen years making a historical development take place. This total absorption is critical to transforming a new idea into reality, and it is for this reason that Ashoka insists that candidates commit themselves full-time to their ideas during the launch phase.

Ashoka is looking for the Andrew Carnegies, Henry Fords, and Steve Jobses of the citizen sector.

If you know someone pursuing a project that fits these criteria nominate them here: http://ashoka.org/support/nominate

Segway & Disability in San Francisco

I could no longer stand the constant confrontations, and reluctantly taped a bright blue handicapped logo squarely on the front of my Segway. I thought that people would see the logo and understand that I was not just some lazy rich guy. But I was wrong.
When we talk about travel with "invisible disabilities" or the stigma of medical equipment we don't often think of the flip side -- the inconvenience of the "cool factor":

Sometimes, people come up to me just to say that the Segway is cool. Others are curious about how it works. I hope that more people, able-bodied and disabled, adopt and accept the Segway as an alternative mobility device. Until then, I have a simple plea: Please don't push me off my Segway.

Read Peter D. Poulos' article "Segway helps disabled man more than wheelchair"

From February 21 to 22 there will be a seminar on adventure tourism security and certification. Inclusive Tourism will be represented at a session on February 21 entitled "Our Future Client" (Nosso futuro cliente!).

The current issue of Turismo Polibea includes several interesting articles available in either English or Spanish:

Accessible Ibiza
Badajoz & Alentejo Accessible Route
Accessible Trails: Huesca
The Walls of Avila

Also an essay on air transport:


Gordon Rattray is an expert on travel in Africa. He also uses a wheelchair. As he explains here the wheelchair isn't always the most efficient way to get somewhere but, as he writes a guide on accessible travel in Africa, his experience reinforces one of the key values of disability culture -- interdependency:

There are distinct advantages to being disabled too; apart from the fact that enthusiastic and able help is often easier to find away from home, being reliant on people can even help bridge the usual gulf between us, the tourists, and them, the locals. I'm often forced to ask for assistance; and people, in turn, are interested to know what caused my disability and why western medicine can't cure me. This means there is a greater chance of more meaningful encounters and conversations, instead of the usual bartering with a market trader where both parties' motives are financial. Information I compile for Bradt guides is aimed mainly at people with physical disabilities, but some books also contain notes for those with sensory deficits, and it's not just disabled people who are seeking new trails; many older travellers worry about having to climb too many steps, availability of bathrooms or simply being able to regularly take a rest and sit down.

Meet Brazilians Eduardo Camara and Bianca Marotta in this interview from Programa Especial on TVE Brasil. You will find the blog here - http://www.oglobo.com.br/blogs/maonaroda

Disability in Indonesia

Bunga Sirait offers an insider's look at accessibility in Jakarta:

Back in 2000, former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) announced the start of a National Public Accessibility Movement, a government-backed drive to provide more access for people with disabilities. At the time, Gus Dur had personal experience of the difficulties faced by Jakarta’s disabled. He himself suffered impaired vision, while his wife, Sinta Nuriyah, had for some years been confined to a wheelchair following a serious traffic accident.

As a pilot project, Gambir train station was equipped with 21 standard facilities for disabled people. Ramps were installed, along with talking elevators, a ‘special help bell’, train schedules in Braille and lowered phone booths (for the wheelchair-bound). Toilets and parking spaces were reserved for people with disabilities.

Eight years on, and this is what you’ll find at Gambir: the elevators don’t even look like they’re working, let alone talking. Same thing with the dusty ‘special help bell’ hung on one of the entrance gates. An officer standing nearby points to a dark booth with the big sign ‘Customer Service’ written on it. ‘There,’ he says. ‘When this button is pushed, someone from the office is supposed to come and help. But I don’t think they’ve been doing that, not for a while.’ And if you’re looking for the schedules in Braille and the phones, good luck!

For the full article:

Estudios de Ocio banner

La Cátedra Ocio y Discapacidad, del Instituto de Estudios de Ocio de la Universidad de Deusto, organiza e imparte 28 Cursos de Formación sobre Turismo Accesible para profesionales, en 25 ciudades. Patrocinados por la Secretaría General de Turismo y el Fondo Social Europeo, los cursos son de carácter gratuito para los profesionales del sector turístico.

A quadriplegic in Florida is abused on videotape -- at the police station. (Note response received from Commissioner Al Higginbotham below.)

Rolling Rains Report on SlideShare.net

SlideShare.net began as an archive for posting and sharing digital slide shows. It quickly expanded into a social network with the capability to add sound to slide shows as SlideCasts. SlideShare is a valuable tool for virtualizing participation in conferences before, during, and after the event.

For example, I upload a slide show that I will use in a conference presentation so that I can either play it from the server or download it at the other end. I also extend the discussion from an event by forming a group such as the one to the right entitled "Universal Design."

Anthropometry and biomechanics lie behind the advances that Universal Design has offered society in general and that Inclusive Tourism has offered travelers in particular. For a handbook overview of the two fields this NASA site is helpful: http://msis.jsc.nasa.gov/sections/section03.htm

We received the following request for participants in a research project conducted by Anna Pakman entitled, Media Consumption & People with Disabilities.

Turismo Inclusivo em Socorro (Portuguese)

O EPTV.com promove o trabalho pioneiro de Dada Moreira em Socorro:


Do NOT Publish - Google Alerts


News on the Beijing Paralympics Games

This report on the Beijing Olympics from Daniel Schearf atVoice of America. Note that "for the first time in Paralympics history, the city will pay all travel expenses for disabled athletes and team officials."

China is preparing to hold its first Olympic Games this year, and along with it, the Paralympics Games for disabled athletes. Chinese officials acknowledge that they are far behind in providing equal access for the country's disabled citizens, and they hope the games will help improve the situation.

Beijing wants to host a festive Olympics this year and officials say the Paralympics should be equal in splendor.

Beijing has built new facilities for the games and for training China's disabled athletes.

Chinese officials say there are 83 million people with disabilities in China and two million of them play sports.

Cao Qiuping hopes to play basketball for the Chinese team. She says the Paralympic Games will help reduce prejudice in China against the disabled. "A lot of people take [disabled people] to be obedient and docile. In fact, it's not like this. Their understanding is wrong. We want to use this opportunity to show them the real appearance of handicapped people."

An estimated 4,000 athletes from 150 countries are expected in Beijing for the Paralympics.

Officials say they will provide them with the same quality services as Olympic athletes and should have no problem meeting their needs.

Beijing plans to provide accessible buses and subway cars for getting disabled athletes and spectators to the Paralympic events.

But most public transport still lacks access facilities, cutting disabled athletes off from most of the city when they visit for the games. Officials say they will make the city more accessible, but they warn that Beijing will likely lag behind cities in more developed nations.

"We hope through the work of preparing for the Paralympics we can in Beijing reach national standards. But quickly reaching common, but rather high, international standards is difficult for all places," says Tang Xiaoquan, who is a director with the China Disabled People's Federation.

Beijing says, for the first time in Paralympics history, the city will pay all travel expenses for disabled athletes and team officials.

Airline loyalty programs are an emotional issue for some people as they gather large sums of redeemable miles. Airline satisfaction levels seem to be at an all-time low. Here is an essay from ETN subtitled, "Airline Loyalty Or Just A "Hostage" Situation?":

James T. Kane, a corporate consultant on customer loyalty, has a news flash for his airline.

“I hate you, and I tell everybody I hate you,” he says. “You could not pay me to get on your airline if I didn’t have to. The reason you think I’m a happy customer is I flew 178,000 miles on you last year — but that’s because I didn’t have a choice.” Like many other frequent business travelers, he finds that there is only one airline whose flight schedule fits his needs.

“I’m not loyal,” he adds. “I’m just a hostage.”

For the full article:

One of the most important experiences of my teen years was as an exchange student in Guatemala. Later, in college in Brazil, I returned home leaving unused more than a year's scholarship at the University of Sao Paulo due to inaccessibility of the campus.

If you know anyone who is eligible for this wonderful opportunity to study in Central America pass it along:

Go Abroad with Mobility International USA June 27 to July 12, 2008

Application Deadline: Friday, March 28, 2008

Generous Scholarships Available!

Applications available online now

First time travelers with disabilities who are between 18-24 years old, from cultural minority and low-income backgrounds are encouraged to apply

For more information:
541-343-1284 (tel/tty)


DRA Logo

Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a California-based non-profit law firm, filed a class action complaint today in federal court challenging the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA) on behalf of visitors with disabilities. The complaint may be downloaded here.
The press release follows.

The article below was forwarded to me by Disabled People's International. It provides a useful introduction to the basics of Adaptive or "Assistive" Technology.

Turismo Adaptado (Portuguese)

Uma Entrevista de Ricardo Shimosakai falando sobre Turismo Adaptado no programa Estilo Saúde, da apresentadora Solange Frazão.

Backsliding on issues of air travel safety for people with disabilities has recently been a frequent issue here. One issue in India with Jet Airways has reached an unsatisfactory conclusion:

Ms. Sminu Jindal travelled by Jet Airways to Bangkok and back, on the Christmas vacations on 25th December 2007 and return on 01 Jan 2008. She was shocked to see the lack of sensitivity, ill-trained ground staff, absent essential services and above all how the Airliner like Jet Airways treat people with reduced mobility. Although Jet Airways issued a public apology, when media highlighted the incident, however, that doesn't solve the problem of millions of other people with disability whose voice doesn't reach the public/media.

Specifically, the apology indicates that Jet Airways will provide aisle chairs only on international flights. Such assurances by Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer certainly make for interesting case studies of worst practices in the anthology of business cases that I provide to faculty colleagues. However, I think he and I both share the ideal that such examples should be on the decrease rather than on the increase.

I would advise Jet Airways that their policy failure has already had negative impact on the company's international reputation. The smart business decision would be to consistently apply internationally recognized standards of non-discrimination and protect against further brand erosion.

Download apology from Jet Airways as .pdf

For more on this case see Svayam:

Rail Accessibility in the UK

Forty rail stations in the UK will be involved in the Department for Transport's Access for All project. Funded at £370 million the goal will be accessibility with upgrades such as zero-step access, better lighting, new timetable screens and improved facilities for people who use hearing aids.

The project is expected to be completed between 2012 and 2015.

Further information:



Fundaperdis de Caracas

Caracas, 1 Feb. ABN.- La Fundación para la Atención de las Personas con Discapacidad (Fundaperdis), adscrita a la Alcaldía Mayor, finalizó el ejercicio operativo 2007 con grandes logros para este sector de la comunidad metropolitana, beneficiando a más de 3 mil personas.

Esta fundación sin fines de lucro, creada como parte del programa de Gobierno del alcalde Juan Barreto Cipriani, tiene como misión proporcionar atención integral a este sector del Distrito Capital para facilitar su incorporación e integración a la comunidad de forma digna, productiva y participativa.

El presidente de Fundaperdis, Otto Tovar, dijo que durante 2007 beneficiaron a 3 mil 946 personas de las 32 parroquias caraqueña, con lo cual superó las metas fijadas en más de 60%.

Samarthya Logo

Anjilee Agarwal of the Samarthya National Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled Persons Accessible Delhi -- A Road Map for 2003-2008”

With a touch of humor and an artist's eye for economy of expression the attached .pdf document looks at culture along an East/West divide.

Download file

Revisão NBR 9050 CB - 40 PRÓXIMA REUNIÃO (19/02/08)

Nesta oportunidade, a pedido da Arq. Adriana de Almeida Prado, Coordenadora da Comissão de Estudo Acessibilidade à Edificação e ao Meio, venho convidá-los para participar da 2º reunião plenária para revisão da NBR 9050 Acessibilidade a edificações, mobiliário, espaços e equipamentos urbanos, a ser realizada conforme a seguir:

19 de fevereiro de 2008 (terça-feira)

Horário: 9:30 às 12:30 hs

Local: CEPAM - Fundação Prefeito Faria Lima
Rua Prof. Lineu Prestes, 915 - Cidade Universitária - São Paulo - SP

Excellent Award Logo visual description: A graphic that has the letter E in black on a background of white tilted on its axis facing right. Above it is the word Excellent. Below it is the phrase This blog is rated E for excellent.

The Rolling Rains Report has been awarded a big "E." (Technically, it would be called a "Lazy E" if it were a cattle brand. I'm not so handy as a cowboy on the ranch where I worked as teenager since I've become paralyzed so optometrists and computer manufacturers come to mind first now when I look at it. "Big E" works fine as a visual description for us city slickers.)

I have been socialized to prefer "A's", of course. (Except on the shipping boxes of my PCs and laptops where the previous vowel predominates.) Fortunately, this "E" stands for "excellent" as in the "Excellent Award." My gratitude to previous recipient Ruth Harrigan for the nomination.

The meme seems to be circulating through the Catholic bloggers circle so I am going to give it wider circulation as I follow the rules for accepting the award. But I am going to hold off posting who I award this to for a few days to give Rolling Rains readers the chance to submit sites that they think should also be rated "Excellent":

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want-even those that have received it already, but please award at least 10 people.

Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio will hold the Eighth Annual Multiple Perspectives On Access, Inclusion & Disability: Looking Back & Thinking Ahead at the Pfahl Executive Education and Conference Center. The pre-conference will be April 21 with the full conference following April 22-23, 2008.

Echoing Green Semi-Finalist

Our work together to date -- and my plans for future projects -- promoting Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development worldwide has won the affirmation of the Echoing Green Foundation. The dedication shown by those who read, contribute to, and are written about here at the Rolling Rains Report have been an encouragement for me to continue to the next phase of the competition.

Very briefly my proposal is to establish three Centers of Excellence in strategic locations around the world over the next two years.

The Centers of Excellence will gather industry, government, and disabled people (individual PwDs and their DPOs) into an action-oriented network to grow this market of travelers with disabilities. The Centers will gather the local tourism business eco-system to function as results-focused resource and a professional standard-setting body. As part of a coordinated international network these Centers are the launch of a new stage of industry maturity in service and marketing to this growing but underserved and eager-to-travel demographic.