March 2008 Archives

The 2000 Bali Conference on Inclusive Tourism was a watershed in the field. Below is the conference report.

From Australia ... from the USA ... from India ... from New Zealand ...
from Fiji ... from the Philippines ...

Writers and bloggers from around the world joined together to help celebrate and promote the first legally binding international human rights instrument to protect the rights of people with disabilities -- the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

They celebrated by writing blog posts for the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm
2008, which can now be read at
http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

What did they write about? Some of the topics include ...

... The story of one advocate who watched the birth of the CRPD among
grassroots advocates with disabilities and others in the 1990s ...
... How the CRPD could deliver new hope for people in India with mental
disabilities ...
... How the CRPD represents an evolution from the charity/medical model
of disability to the social or human rights-based model ...
... How the CRPD could make travel go a little more smoothly for
tourists with disabilities ...
... Why the CRPD matters for people who use personal assistance
services or who are seeking the freedom to explore their own sexual
expression ...
... An allegorical tale about farmers, spoons, and plows: Why the CRPD
is well worth celebrating and why our work isn't done just because the
CRPD is about to take full legal force ...
... And more ...

All at the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, and all available by
following the link to:

http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

Why Accessible Buses Are Important

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Mark Roger writes for Travel Agent Central. Fortunately for those of us with disabilities he has an ear for a good story -- and an eye for an interesting companion on a bus ride. I wonder how much better known the needs of travelers with disabilities would be if public transportation were accessible and conversation like this were taking place daily everywhere around the world:

I regularly attend travel forums and expos around the world. If I'm on my game, the morning bus ride from the hotel to the convention center can yield interesting conversations — sometimes the most interesting of the day. While attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Bangkok last month, my seat mate was Volker Posselt, managing director of RollOn Travel, a Germany-based company that specializes in handicapped travel to Thailand.

Posselt is a fierce advocate of accessible travel, with nine years in the tour business, having first starting in India. The disabled and their partners make up 90 percent of the company's tour participants. Posselt accompanies many of the tours himself and designs most of the programs, and has personally inspected every hotel and all the sightseeing experiences offered by RollOn Travel.

"It's my job to prepare tours so they move smoothlyV and the non-handicapped participants aren't frustrated," says Posselt.

Source:

http://www.travelagentcentral.com/travelagentcentral//article/articleDetail.jsp?ts=032808064307&id=491893

Michelle Daley serves the people of the United Kingdom through the government advisory committee Equality 2025

Interviewed by Jo Couzens in Sky News Online she explains

"I'm advising the Government on disability equality and ironically I was prevented from doing my job properly. That type of discrimination is just not on."

"They told me: 'We can't allow you on this flight because you are a health and safety risk'."

She added: "It was just humiliating and degrading. Just blatant discrimination."

Source: http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30400-1310802,00.html

The incident is reminiscent of the cases of Rajiv Rajan on JetLite (formerly Air Sahara) and Sminu Jindal on Jet Airways and an unreported recent case of ten persons with deafness traveling together i the Philippines whose travel plans were disrupted by airline officials based on discriminatory practices.

"Sorry Mate, Wheelchairs Only"

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Air Passenger Rights in the UK?

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Richard Rieser, Director, Disability Equality in Education (DEE) has written the article at Inclusion Week entitled The Social Model of Disability. I think some of the ideas contained in it will gain some new press coverage as one of his travel companions textmailed me a moment ago with Twitter-like reflexes:

" Scott - Watch out for a press release. A member of Equality 2025 was taken off a plane and refused a flight by air france from london to belfast..."

Reiser begins his article with a review of the damage caused by the medical model and the absolution it promises to those who then fail to perceive any social responsibility to adopt Universal Design:

The 'medical model' of disability sees the disabled person as the problem.

We are to be adapted to fit into the world as it is. If this is not possible, then we are shut away in some specialised institution or isolated at home, where only our most basic needs are met. The emphasis is on dependence, backed up by the stereotypes of disability that call forth pity, fear and patronising attitudes.

Usually the focus is on the impairment rather than the needs of the person. The power to change us seems to lie within the medical and associated professions, with their talk of cures, normalisation and science. Often our lives are handed over to them.

Other people's assessments of us, usually non-disabled professionals, are used to determine where we go
to school, what support we get and what type of education; where we live; whether or not we can work and what type of work we can do and indeed whether or not we are born at all, or are even allowed to procreate. Similar control is exercised over us by the design of the built environment presenting us with many barriers, thereby making it difficult or impossible for our needs to be met and curtailing our life chances. Whether in work, school, leisure and entertainment facilities, transport, training and higher education, housing or in personal, family and social life, it is practices and attitudes that disable us.

Those who want to contribute to the Blog Swarm on the CRPD still have a chance. For those who are procrastinating there is a sneak preview here.
Readers of Rolling Rains blog should be aware of the uniqueness of this document:

The CRPD is unique in that it is the first international human rights treaty to deal explicitly with tourism and persons with disability. This has extra significance because the document is also a legitimate expression of the political will of the worldwide disability community having arisen out of a laborious but transparent and participatory process. The kernel of the CRPD argument for full inclusion in tourism is Article 30 entitled, “Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport.” Paragraph 5 reads in part:

5. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:

(c) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
(e) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to services from those involved in the organization of recreational, tourism, leisure and sporting activities.

This treaty establishes in international law the principle that Inclusive Tourism means physical accessibility and program accessibility.

The Trend Toward Meaningful Travel

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Over at Conde Nast Jill Culora validates what we know about trends in tourism that are being drien by the aging of Boomers -- purpose-drive travel and travel for learning. Her article Twenty Trips doesn't make the obvious link to the principles of Inclusive Travel but that too is to be expected. In its current phase, with the explicit emphasis on the industry transformations necessary to accommodate those with disabilities, Boomers will not self-identify as disabled. They will demand the same transformations but shun the stigma of disability.

From Culora's article on the trend to meaningful travel:

Learning a new skill or delving into an area of interest—whether the French Resistance or Renaissance painting—while on vacation is the latest indulgence in travel. A recent Travel Industry Association survey reports 56 percent of travelers would like to take an educational trip—outranking interest even in spa and family travel—and ShawGuides.com, an Internet directory for travel learning opportunities, cites an increase in site traffic of between 10 and 15 percent annually. "More Americans than ever are looking for self-improvement," says Kristin Lamoureux, tourism studies director at George Washington University. "That's why we're seeing such growth in educational travel and experiential learning." The participants, she says, are mainly from among the 78 million baby boomers who make up more than 40 percent of all leisure travelers and who now have their families and finances in order and are eager to take up new challenges.

Universal Design Boom: REACT Survey

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What happens in home trends gets carried over to hotels, resorts, and cruise ships:



Universal design booming: The baby boom generation and those planning for retirement are driving demand for easy-to-use features and floor plans. Sixty five percent of agents in the REACT survey said that the number of buyers looking for universal design features, such as a master bedroom on the main floor or a single story home, has increased in the last few years.

Freedom By Design

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Architectural Record notes the Freedom by Design project to bring Universal Desgn experience to a new generation of architects:

Michael Graves, FAIA, has channeled many avatars during his career, from one of the academically minded New York Five in the 1970s, to a populist product designer for the retailer Target. After a bacterial infection paralyzed him from the waist down in 2003, the now wheelchair-bound (sic) architect works to be a champion of universal design, a movement that advocates creating spaces and products that any person, regardless of physical ability, can use.

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) recently appointed Graves as the honorary chair of its “Beyond Architecture” campaign, which seeks to establish a $2 million endowment to support its Freedom By Design program (FBD), among other initiatives. FBD enlists architecture students to renovate houses for low-income and disabled people. The AIAS had already raised half of its goal as of January, when Graves joined, and it hopes that his affiliation will be a driving force in raising the remaining amount.

New Dehli Adds New Low-Floor Busses

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Since 2002 the Indian non-profit organization Samarthyam has been working to improve New Dehli's transit accessibility. On April 1, 2008 their work will see the light of day with the launch of a new Bus Rapid Transit System corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand. Recently Anjilee Agarwal and Sanjeev Sachdeva of non-government Samarthyam demonstrated the system at a press conference.

Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni today said that any proposal for inclusion of disability studies in academic discipline should be supported as it will create an awareness in society about the needs and rights of the physically challenged.

Inaugurating a three-day National Congress on Disability Studies in Secondary and Higher Education in India here, Soni said: Attitude has to be changed towards the physically challenged persons as they are challenged in a limited sense only and can do wonders in other areas of their expertise or interests.

People at work place, society and in the country as a whole must be sensitized about the needs of the physically challenged and their rights within the Constitutional framework, Soni added.

Referring to the socially and economically disadvantaged groups in the country, she said that we must work towards creating an inclusive society where every person would contribute to the growth and development of the country.

Public awareness campaign for creating such an inclusive growth is the need of the hour, she added.
She said the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture is sensitive to the special needs of challenged people.

The Minister further added that all the world heritage sites are in the process of providing special facilities for such people.

Other important monuments will also be provided with facilities, which would improve access to these monuments to people with special needs. This would enable them to appreciate the heritage of this country in the same manner as other citizens, she said.

The Tourism Ministry is also encouraging the hotels and other tourism related infrastructure to be developed in a manner that people with special needs could also use them as effectively as others.

Source: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/lifestyle/people-must-sensitize-themselves-to-the-needs-of-the-physically-challenged-soni_10029132.html

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a historic document because of the prominence that it gives to Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

To hone in on those topics when reading the CRPD head straight for Chapter 30 entitled, Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport. Then backtrack to Chapters 18 through 21 for Liberty of Movement and Nationality through Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information.)

The manual Human Rights. Yes! published by the University of Minnesota provides simple analyses and is helpful for those preparing to advocate for ratification of CRPD. Chapter 14 The Right to Sport and Culture has a section called Tourism that is its module on disability and travel.

Before I offer a critique let me begin by noting that two of the three citations for the section are my research and admit that this section could have been better if my original work had provided the authors with a more well-rounded argument. Specifically, my work would have been more adequate if it had clearly distinguished between physical accessibility to venues, fixtures, and facilities and program accessibility to services and other non-physical entities. Only when both are addressed is inclusion possible.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been called the pinnacle of legal accomplishments protecting the rights of individuals. It is well on its way to ratification. It is also the subject of an upcoming blog swarm (blog carnival/festchrift). The Rolling Rains Report will contribute on the subject of travel and disability:


The rights to participate in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport are reflected in a number of international human rights law instruments, including, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Specialized conventions also reflect these rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)...

While reflected in various human rights instruments, these rights are not as well-developed as other human rights and are often forgotten. The right of persons with disabilities to participate in a wide array of cultural, recreational, sporting, and leisure activities is recognized as central to full inclusion for disabled people and is therefore defined in some detail in Article 30 of the CRPD. For this reason the CRPD is an important development in human rights law on participation in culture, sport, recreation and related activities.

While the incident involving India's para Olympic shotput champion Malti Hola took place in February it was not reported in the press until March 19. The Times Now reports:

The incident occurred on February 20 on a flight to Delhi from Bangalore. Hola says after a two and a half hour flight, she was made to wait for another one and a half hours on the plane due to a delay in the arrival of the special chair which would take her out of the plane. The athlete did not receive any aid from the crew to visit the lavatory on the plane, resulting in an embarrassing situation for her.

But the problems did not end there. Malvi recalled her ordeal in an interview to TIMES NOW:

"The total journey was almost 2 and a half hours. They made me sit for one more hour and a half because of the 'in chair' (aisle chair) that had not arrived - there was a big communication gap between the cabin crew and the ground staff. The in chair is directly wheeled to the seat and the passenger transferred to her seat. By the time this arrived, I had developed internal problems since I had not been able to go to the toilet. My bladder was full so I started wetting my clothes.

In an effort to catch up with the years of strategic advantage in product design enjoyed by world-class innovators in Universal Design in Japan, Korea, and other nations AT&T has released a simple restatement of Universal Design principles.

By branding UD as somehow proprietary to AT&T this cultural product of the Disability Rights Movement created and promoted by quadriplegic architect Ron Mace of North Carolina and further developed since its creation in the 1970's now seems to have achieved the same degree of ubiquity that leads to "greenwashing" marketing strategies.

Universal Design is a set of principles that launch the long hard process of good design not a "let-me-on-the-bandwagon-too" marketing campaign. The generation that invented Universal Design and the Disability Rights Movement - Baby Boomers - is well represented in the 36,200 references that come up when you Google the phrase "I hate my cell phone." AT&T, the future of your product line depends on getting UD right.

Botton line? Show us full lines of universally designed mobile phones operating on US networks - now!

"It is our goal that the concept of 'design for all' is not viewed as a constraint but as a catalyst for innovation across the industry," said Carlton Hill, vice president of Marketing for AT&T's mobile unit. "We believe that, by making our methodology on Universal Design available for all to see, we can show the importance and value of creating wireless products and services that are usable and beneficial to as many people as possible. The end result will be more choices for more consumers."
Source: FierceWireless

Wellington City Council is hosting an Accessible Wellington Forum on
Tourism for disabled people and seniors
on 11 April, 2008. Dr Sandra
Rhodda
, author of “Tourism for visitors to New Zealand with mobility
problems: a West Coast perspective” April 2007
http://www.taipoutini.ac.nz/taipoutini/report.asp?id=4#item , will speak
on the economic value to New Zealand business of catering for disabled
people and seniors. The Mayor of Wellington, Kerry Prendergast and the
CEO of Wellington City Council, Gary Poole will also speak.

Victor G. Walther has created a site for amputees who ride mountain bikes. He includes tips for riding, photos, links, and events

MTB-Amputee is currently working on establishing a week long clinic for amputee mountain bikers to be held on Mount Washington in July 2008.

As Kevin Connolly travels around the world on a skateboard documenting photos of what he encounters as a travelers with no legs, Keese Buchanan reflects on an encounter with a un-named disabled African man in "Remembering Why I Travel":

There are few wheelchairs in Africa and even fewer wheel-chair accessible areas so people who can't walk will buy flip flops and put their hands in them, using them to drag themselves along through mud, garbage and crowds of people's feet. It always breaks my heart, imagine all day scuffling along without anyone to even look into your eyes as they step over you.

A man like this was dressed in a suit, the navy blue sleeves skimming through piles of garbage. He pulled himself up to the table I was at. I bought him and myself some steaming french fries (chips) wrapped, as usual, in someone's old math homework on notebook paper.

Maybe it is hard to travel the way I do, but I travel more to meet people than to see sights, and traveling alone I have opportunities I would never have if I always took solace in other travelers. ... It is scary and lonely sometimes, well, a lot of the time. But in the end, I know traveling this way is the most powerful way to travel. It gets me under the skin of a culture- blisters and all.

And hopefully the reason you write is to open the world that only you see to the rest of us. Thanks, for sharing lunch, Keese. It fed multitudes.

El Ciudadano del famoso destino turistico Bariloche report del Plan Nacional de Accesibilidad:

¿Qué es el plan?

Es un marco estratégico para promover y dar coherencia a las acciones que las Gestiones de Gobierno conjuntamente con otras administraciones y entidades públicas o privadas han de realizar con el objetivo común de suprimir barreras e implantar el denominado Diseño Universal.

Se entiende por Diseño Universal a la actividad por la que cualquier bien o servicio es concebido o proyectado desde su origen para ser utilizado por todas las personas, o el mayor número de ellas posible.

Es también un instrumento posible de ejecutar para poder ampliar el ámbito de la Ley Nacional Nº 24.314 de Accesibilidad de Personas con Movilidad Reducida, para que desde el Gobierno de la Nación se propicie su aplicación; es decir, para favorecer la equiparación de oportunidades de las personas con movilidad y/o comunicación reducida promoviendo a la vez una mayor calidad de vida en toda la población.

Mas

The proposal to open three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism that is being considered by Echoing Green Foundation and publicy discussed at Ashoka's Changemakers' Geotourism Challenge has generated 80 comments from around the world here:

http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

USA Today on Inclusive Air Travel

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The story "Airlines Tackle Wheelchair Need" covers common themes here are RollingRains.com but gives them a much wider audience. Here are two champions of Inclusive Travel quoted in the well-researched report by Barbara De Lollis:

By 2030, Open Doors estimates that nearly 24% of the U.S. population will be disabled, and 15% severely disabled, resulting in about 53 million more disabled people than in 1997. The group estimates that around a third of adults with disabilities fly at least once every two years.

It's not just aging that contributes to the increase in travelers with disabilities. Medical technology allows people who have endured severe trauma from war, vehicle crashes and the like to travel with relative ease, says Kate Hunter-Zaworski, director of the National Center for Accessible Transportation at Oregon State University.

"We are facilitating living a fuller life, and air travel is essential to a full life," she says.

At JetBlue, the growth in passengers who request wheelchair assistance has outpaced overall passenger growth consistently since 2004. Last year, about 262,000 JetBlue passengers, or 1.2%, requested such assistance when making their reservations.

Charles Perry writes in the HeraldOnline:

Wylie Park doesn't offer something for everyone yet, Chester leaders say.

Sure, the 48-acre city park sports a miniature golf course, a rugged, mile-long nature trail and a pool. But the park doesn't have a place where someone in a wheelchair can travel or where mothers with strollers can pace.

Outdoor accessibility was considered a luxury when we began public advocacy for ubiquitous barrier-free environments in the 1970's. Today we see that it has rightly become a cornerstone of family values.

Thank you, Chester, South Carolina and all the visionary leaders who just keep "doing the right thing" day in and day out at the local level without fanfare and for the good of the entire community.

Universal Design builds up communities!

Full article:
http://www.heraldonline.com/109/story/423039.html

Indicorps

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Tourism and accessibility awareness are on the rise throughout India. Could a Rolling Rains reader become a 2008-2009 Indicorps Fellow and in the process gain the competencies needed to eventually develop a truly sustainable Inclusive Tourism project in India? Why not?

Indicorps is a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for aspiring young leaders of Indian-origin to engage in intense grassroots development projects through one or two-year public service fellowships. We are currently recruiting soon-to-be college graduates and professionals of Indian origin for our August 2008-2009 Fellowship.

Indicorps seeks to engage the most talented young Indians from around the world on the frontlines of India's most pressing challenges; in the process, we aim to nurture a new brand of socially conscious leaders with the character, knowledge, commitment, and vision to transform India and the world.

Walking the Talk in the UK

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The Times reports that government compliance with its own regulations on inclusion hit a hard patch. The original timeline seems rather aggressive for something so important and comprehensive. Still, justice delayed is justice denied:

The disclosure comes as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), chaired by Trevor Phillips, last week began its first inquiry into human rights in Britain. The commission was set up last year to replace the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Along with all other public bodies it was meant to implement an overarching equality scheme, setting out its position for its staff on race, gender, disability and other potential areas of discrimination by January 1 this year. It failed to do so, prompting ministers to lay a statutory instrument before Parliament, extending the deadline to April 1 this year.

Full article:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3524788.ece

WFTV in Florida reports on overzealous airport security in the US endangering the life of a traveler with a disability:


James Hoyne, 14, has a feeding tube in his stomach and carries a back-up in a sealed clear plastic bag. Hoyne said two weeks ago a TSA officer insisted on opening the sterile equipment, contaminating his back-up feeding tube which he later needed.

"I said 'Please don't open it' and she said 'I have to open it whether you like it or not. If I can't open it, I can't let you on the plane,'" Hoyne said of his conversation with the TSA screener.

Full story:
http://www.wftv.com/irresistible/15511359/detail.html



We gathered here in Kyoto to exchange ideas about the topic "Considerate and Decisive - Listen to the users and deliver."

In Yokohama in 2002, we identified that Universal Design is for the accomplishment of a society that places high value on the individual, and we recognized that it is an urgent task for us to establish the relationships between the users and providers/producers.

One year after the conference in Yokohama, The International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) was set up to accomplish and disseminate these ideals, to report our activities, and to consider the future direction, we organized the second conference for Universal Design.

It is now more recognized that cooperation between users and providers is vital to accomplish the needs of various types of users. Active participation of users in the process, introduction of Universal Design concepts to primary and secondary education, and government procurement of Universal Design products are examples of concrete moves toward the fulfillment of our goal.

We have to think over how our activities will contribute to the global challenge for the sustainable society, and how such activities will be evaluated in the long run.

I

Brussels, 5 March 2008 – Guaranteeing full accessibility of disabled passengers to the transport system and overcoming the existing barriers in Europe remain a priority for the European disability movement, but also for the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, as he expressed yesterday during a meeting with Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum (EDF): “I can guarantee you my full commitment to advance access of disabled people the transport system’, said the Commissioner.

Referring to the recent entering into force of the European Regulation on Air Passengers’ Rights, Barrot highlighted the importance of a proper implementation of this key text: "adopting the Regulation was only the first step; we will now use all our means to make sure that it is also correctly implemented, but most important, we need disabled users’ support to do it well”.

Call for Papers: Session Sponsored by the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, MLA Annual Convention, San Francisco, Calif. -- December 27-30, 2008

"Disability and Human Rights"

In recent years, disability scholars and activists have increasingly
turned to the language of human rights as a framework for advocating
and understanding the ethical claims of the disability rights movement
and the aims of politicizing disability as a social justice project.
For many, the appeal of such an approach lies in large part with its
explicitly inclusive reach; for to speak of "disability rights" as
"human rights" insists that disability matters are universal concerns
rather than "special needs."

The latest issue of Global Access News Travel E-Zine is out with this article entitled "New York City Buses" by Derek Guzman. Derek runs wheelchair accessible guided tours in Paris and New York City. I highlight this article because NYC can be rightly proud -- of doing what we did for the first time in history at home in Seattle:

As I left the bus I asked the driver about wheelchair accessibility on the city’s bus system. “Every bus in the system is accessible” he told me. Across the whole city? “All five boroughs, the whole city”. I was impressed. I thought of Seattle, which to this point operated my idea of the consummate bus system – every bus in King County Metro’s fleet is wheelchair-accessible. Indeed, Seattle’s was the nation’s first transit system to be able to make this claim. However, New York City is far bigger than Seattle, and the fact that the Metropolitan Transit Authority could also achieve 100% accessibility on its busses was doubly impressive to me.

For the full story:
http://www.globalaccessnews.com/newyorkguzman08.htm

>>> Communiqué de presse

Les droits des passagers handicapés, au cœur de l’agenda européenne

Rencontre hier à Bruxelles entre Jacques Barrot, Commissaire européen au Transport, et Yannis Vardakastanis, leader du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées


Bruxelles, 5 mars 2008 – Garantir une totale accessibilité des passagers handicapées au système de transport et surmonter les barrières existantes en Europe demeurent parmi les grandes priorités du mouvement européen des personnes handicapées, mais aussi parmi celles du Commissaire européen au Transport, Jacques Barrot, tel qu’il l’a exprimé hier lors de sa réunion avec le Président du Forum européen des personnes handicapées (FEPH), Yannis Vardaksatanis : “Je peux vous garantir mon engagement total afin de faire progresser l’accès des personnes handicapées au système des transports“, a déclaré le Commissaire.

Rail Travel Woes

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Until Universal Design is ubiquitous stories like these will continue where claims of accessibility turn out to be based on inadequate definitions of the word and explanations like "they needed someone with them to care for them" do not pass for acceptable customer service. Travel advice from Stuff.co.nz:

Shirley and Roy Dyer, who live in Rolleston, near Christchurch, said they could not even use the toilets on the 11-hour trip from Christchurch to Greymouth and back last Friday.

When the train pulled into the Greymouth railway station, Shirley Dyer said she and her husband did not want to get off because it was such a hassle getting back on. "It took about half an hour to get on the train in Christchurch so we didn't want to go through that again.


Read the full story here.

First the good news, this couple has been reimbursed their $85:

A blind couple are angry they were charged cleaning costs after spending their honeymoon with their two guide dogs in a Wellington hotel... the Central Terrace Heights serviced apartments.

They were shocked when they were charged $85 for professional carpet cleaning [for dog hairs], the Dominion Post reported...

Terrace Heights Serviced Apartments operations manager Rob Rameka said many Wellington hotels would not let guide dogs stay but the Central Group did not discriminate and did blind people a favour by accepting them.

"We did something nice for them because they wanted a harbour view, which I kinda thought was funny because they're blind ... but we put them in a nice room," he said.


The full article:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10491958

Reportaje sobre la vida (no) acessible en Uruguay en el diario El Pais Digital:

Aunque hay 65 mil personas con discapacidad motriz, sólo hay cuatro edificios, una calle y dos ómnibus pensados para ellos. Las barreras arquitectónicas discriminan tanto que únicamente el 16,5% de las personas en silla de ruedas tienen trabajo.

continúa

Wheel Me On - Hotel Rooms

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http://www.wheelmeon.org/lodging.html

Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management at Heritage<br />
Sites

The World Tourism Organization and UNESCO are jointly organising the
UNWTO/UNESCO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management at Heritage
Sites in Huangshan, China, on 24-27 March 2008.

The following document, known as The Cape Town Declaration, resulted from the 2002 Responsible Tourism in Destinations conference in Cape Town. The Second International Conference on Responsible Tourism will be held in Kochi, Kerala March 21-24, 2008

Elements of Responsible Tourism

  • Minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts
  • Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry
  • Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances

  • Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world's diversity

  • Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues

  • Provides access for physically challenged people

  • Is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence


cnvld logo


The Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled) (CNVLD) has caught the spirit of the Recommendations of the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism with its new National Disability Awards program.

HotelMarketing.com echoes the keynote address, "Inclusive Tourism: A New Strategic Alliance for the Disability Rights Movement" and the Conference Recommendations of the Second International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2007) held at the UN in Bangkok November 2007. It does so by quoting from the Travolution analysis of the recent UK website accessibility study done by Fortune Cookie. Standardization in the field of Inclusive Tourism is the order of the day from the construction of hotel rooms, treatment of airline passengers, to the construction of web sites:

Technology moves fast. How can accessibility - and disabled people - keep pace? The answer may lie in standardisation.

Now Travolution and Fortune Cookie have the opportunity to do something paradigm shifting. Here's how:

E-Access '08

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eaccess08 conference logo


Julie Howell, Director of Accessibility at digital design agency Fortune Cookie, will deliver the keynote speech at Headstar’s E-Access ’08 conference in London on 23 April 2008. Fortune Cookies has a specialty in travel web site development.

More about Julie at BBC's Ouch! - Close Up with Julie Howell

A revista Envolverde reporte:

ONU quer turismo contra pobreza no Brasil

Por Rafael Sampaio, do Pnud

PNUD pretende obter recursos do governo espanhol para projetos nessa área; proposta de apoio ao PAC também será discutida.

O PNUD vai propor ao governo espanhol acordos de cooperação para implantar projetos sociais na área de turismo no Brasil. A idéia é aproveitar o potencial do setor para desenvolver programas de capacitação, geração de emprego e preservação do meio ambiente. A proposta será apresentada nesta semana, durante reunião entre a Espanha e representantes de escritórios do PNUD na América Latina.

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Jenny Sullivan reports on the current Home Design Trends survey by the American Institute of Architects. The story continues to be that Universal Design and green design fit together:

Those consumers who are buying new or renovating their homes appear to be more budget conscious and environmentally minded than in years past. Renewable flooring and countertop materials ranked among most popular kitchen features in the latest poll (at 61 percent and 49 percent respectively), along with drinking water filtration systems (44 percent), and recycling centers (45 percent).

On the bathroom side, radiant heat flooring topped consumers' wish lists (at 60 percent), followed by multi-head showers (59 percent), doorless showers (59 percent), universal design elements (58 percent), low flow toilets (57 percent), hand showers (42 percent), and LED lighting (39 percent). These preferences indicate a similar greening of bathroom spaces, as well as mounting currency for accessible design features, no doubt fueled by the aging boomer population