December 2008 Archives

The North Block, in New Delhi, houses key gove...

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One of the most enjoyable of New Year's traditions is counting achievements and blessings. Here, from Shivani Gupta of India's AccessAbility in New Delhi, is just one example of how Inclusive Tourism is professionalizing and institutionalizing around the world. Watch for more in 2009!

It has been an exciting year for AccessAbility. Some of our key achievements in 2008 have been:

1. Launch of our Diversity Employment Initiative at that has brought together over 70 sensitised employers who regularly use this portal to recruit disabled job seekers. Working closely with CII & we hope to extend the reach of this initiative to a pan-India level.

2. Launch of Free2Wheel - - the first Indian tourist guide for disabled travelers. The travel portal is being advertised by the Ministry of Tourism on the Incredible India home page to promote India as an accessible destination.

3. Our Access Consultancy division has assisted premier brand names in the travel and hospitality industries, higher educational institutes, retail and office complexes and builders in incorporating disabled friendly infrastructure in their existing and upcoming properties. We have also had an opportunity to review and develop some path breaking policies with various Government Ministries.

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Jessica Cox: A Pilot with a Difference


Open green map.htm

Green Maps founder Wendy Brawer has been an enthusiastic supporter of any and all suggestions to improve their remarkable tool for the benefit of travelers with disabilities. Below is a recap of some of their recent accomplishments - and an appeal for support:

2008 has been an action-packed year. 88 new Green Map projects got started! This record-breaking number includes well-known cities like Austin Texas, Cape Town South Africa and Seoul Korea alongside lesser-known places like Sharon Ohio and Gandhinagar India. Each has something remarkable in common – they are changing for the better, and they want everyone to take part!

Our 'Open Green Map' participatory social mapping platform is creating a low-cost new way to promote, share and enhance the sites making progress toward sustainability as well as highlight the challenging places that can be turned around with community involvement. Green Map System has also created new youth tools, updated our globally designed iconography and much more to support locally-led Green Mapmaking projects. Click for 360 unique published editions and to explore the first 36 participatory maps now online at

Travel Weekly Cruise Club and Complete Cruise Solution members were asked what innovations they think passengers would value most on future ships.

“For regular cruisers quality is more important than gimmicks. Different types of restaurants gives people more variation. Smaller, more intimate restaurants could be introduced on more ships. It is a good idea to introduce more single cabins and I can see value in larger cabins for groups or families on a budget.” David Sixsmith, Personal Travel Advisor (part of Future Travel Group), Wigan

“I find the lack of single cabins on cruise ships appalling. It is an ideal holiday for single travellers, so why don’t other companies offer a special rate to single travellers instead of asking them to pay double?” Adele Parry, sales consultant, TR4 Travel, Holywell, Flintshire

“I would like to see larger dance floors, single cabins with no extra supplements, a reduced rate for carers who attend with a disabled passenger, and more choice for vegetarians. There should be a mobility co-ordination officer to meet disabled passengers.” Tracy McFall, sales consultant, Accessible Travel, Bath

"I think Cruise customers would welcome P&O Cruises' decision to incorporate 18 single cabins in their new build; a return to traditional values aboard cruise ships – courtesy, respect and not forever trying to squeeze the last penny out of folk in on-board spend; more new and different itineraries and ports of call, and more special interest cruises." Martin Hay, GoCruise, The Ribble Valley

"A number of clients have said the thing they would like most is a specialty fish restaurant with a wide menu choice. Perhaps celebrity chefs could be on board giving cookery demonstrations? Most gripes are for family cabins, and the price for single cabins is a big issue. They could have smaller cabins at a lesser cost. Also more regional departures would be welcomed by customers." Sandra Lines, Knowle Travel, Knowle, Solilhull

“The industry continues to introduce outstanding ships and deliver better service than any other holiday. Cruising is no longer one size fits all.”
Mark Pilkington, sales director, Complete Cruise Solution (TW Cruise Club sponsor)

General Dávila y Los Castros serán más accesibles antes del fin de 2009

Con el inicio del nuevo año, el Ayuntamiento de Santander pondrá en marcha el 'Plan Integral de Accesibilidad, Santander Diseño Universal', cuyo objetivo es hacer de la capital cántabra una ciudad totalmente accesible.
Así lo aseguraron ayer los concejales de Autonomía Personal, Roberto del Pozo, y de Infraestructuras, Vivienda y Urbanismo, César Díaz, quienes explicaron que los primeros trabajos comenzarán por General Dávila y Avenida de los Castros.

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Best Practices for Accessibility in Parks & Recreation is a workshop to be presented at the Indiana Park and Recreation Association state conference:

Jan 22 2009 - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Presented by Jennifer Skulski, NCA Director of Marketing and Special Projects

What is the difference between a minimum standard and a best practice?
How can your agency achieve ensure people with disabilities are fully included? This session will discuss the findings of new study of best practices for accessibility in parks and recreation conducted by the National Center on Accessibility.

Hosted by the Indiana Park and Recreation Association state conference, January 21-23, 2009, to be held at the Bloomington Convention Center.

The Olympics in Greece left some accessible infrastructure from the games and a bit more enthusiasm for innovative approaches to accessibility for the mobility impaired. Progress is not uniform throughout the country but these photos illustrate some solutions that have been put ito practice.

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

Advice for 2009

Christopher Elliot at MSN has some travel advice customized to 2009. His nine strategies:

1. Think outside the travel box
2. Be a ‘frugalist’ — even if you aren’t one
3. Become a price-watcher
4. Expect once-in-a-generation sale prices
3 reasons air travel is un-American
4 rule changes you'll need to know
5. Other offers to sweeten the deal
6. Play it saf(er)
7. Don’t let the dollar stop you
8. Drive!
9. Wait until the last minute

Explanations here at "Nine essential strategies for 2009"

Boeing 777-200ER Economy Class

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Shifts in the economy mean shifts in the balance in power - and travel patterns - between nations. The current economic shift takes place at a time of historic age reversal in populations where older citizens outnumber younger working age adults.

Many are turning their attention to addressing a situation that is already upon us as in How Boomers Will Transform Growing Older in America Part 1 and Part 2. Rita R. Robinson summarizes the presentation of several speakers a the recent Pig in the Python: Design for Aging Forum.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced a new standard to make sites more accessible to older and disabled people.

Version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) will apply to text, images, audio and video.

It also covers web applications and is said to give developers more flexibility than the old guidelines.

According to the consortium, WCAG 2.0 should also be easier to understand and use.
The guidance is designed to address barriers encountered by people with visual, hearing, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities and older people with access needs.

For more news see: or watch the video:

The Barrier Free Home Site

If you or a loved one is handicapped and are searching for wheelchair accessible housing, your home search has just gotten easier. Finding accessible environments for the disabled has always been a struggle. The homes and apartments featured in our classifieds provide accessible housing and barrier free architecture. Barrier-free apartment complexes provide accessible, affordable housing for physically disabled adults in an independent living environment.

Travel author and supporter of the principles of Inclusive Tourism, Imtiaz Muqbil, offers the following study:


The crisis-hit travel & tourism industry is now in search of truly meaningful, sustainable, long-term remedies. And the answers can be found in Asia. The four primary business models and philosophies that will, without a doubt, become the future pillars of the industry were compiled for the first time in a study presented at the first ITB Asia in October 2008.

The holistic social, economic, cultural and environmental concepts of Mahatma Gandhi, the kings of Thailand and Bhutan, and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus contain clear pointers for a more realistic revival of the industry in a way that puts the fundamentals of need above speed and greed. The study was commissioned by ITB Asia, and compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire. It is available free of charge upon request.

Industry conferences seeking more information about the study, and/or willing to hear insightful forecasts from a travel trade journalist ready to challenge conventional wisdom and stoke democratic public debate on issues that matter, can contact Imtiaz Muqbil at

Travel author and supporter of the principles of Inclusive Tourism, Imtiaz Muqbil, offers the following


The crisis-hit travel & tourism industry is now in search of truly meaningful, sustainable, long-term remedies. And the answers can be found in Asia. The four primary business models and philosophies that will, without a doubt, become the future pillars of the industry were compiled for the first time in a study presented at the first ITB Asia in October 2008.

The holistic social, economic, cultural and environmental concepts of Mahatma Gandhi, the kings of Thailand and Bhutan, and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus contain clear pointers for a more realistic revival of the industry in a way that puts the fundamentals of need above speed and greed. The study was commissioned by ITB Asia, and compiled by Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire. It is available free of charge upon request.

Industry conferences seeking more information about the study, and/or willing to hear insightful forecasts from a travel trade journalist ready to challenge conventional wisdom and stoke democratic public debate on issues that matter, can contact Imtiaz Muqbil at

Advertising Hotel Room Accessibility


Simon Darcy has written the definitive article on the needs of travelers with disabilities for lodging information. Most importantly he tackles the question of how to present that information in the article, "A Methodology for Testing Accessible Accommodation Information Provision Formats." Download file

OK, so with a title like that most people will be waiting for the video version to come out...

We will be using Darcy's paper as background to prepare presenters at the 2009 SATH Conference for the panel, "Will this Hotel Fit My Needs?" Some new ideas will be presented involving streamlined accessibility audits and videotaped room reviews. In the meantime, while the travel industry stumbles idly in the general direction of a solution, the folks at Dapper may have created a way to bootstrap to Internet stardom the first hotel chain to get it right.

With accurate and relevant accessibility information captured in its databases and exposed for web developers to use ( to "mashup") such innovators could see themselves as Internet celebrities with a viral word-of-mouth campaign online promoting them.

Who might these disabled-friendly innovative hotel chains turn out to be?

My bets, based on past and current exemplary performance, would be Microtel in the US, Protea in Africa, or the ITC-Welcome group in India.

Below is a screencast on the technology that might be an unexpected boon to hotels pursuing inclusion. Learn how to make a dynamic contextual ad with MashupAds in 5 minutes: Part 1 of 2:

Assistive Technology for Travelers

Congratulations to Suzanne Robitaille for here piece in Business Week today :

For the Disabled, More Power for Play

You can read her blog at:

Profoundly Yours

The following announcement was just released on a lawsuit to make Golden Gate National Recreation Area accessible.

Stories on Universal Design in homes keep getting better and better in the mainstream US press.

Partly that is the convergence of promotion of UD by AARP and serious efforts by home appliance m=designers to accommodate the very real desire of the Boomer population bulge in aging in their own homes. Partly is is the tireless advocacy of Eleanor Smith and allies for Visitability at Concrete Change. Partly it is just good research and interesting writing.

Take the latest example to come across my desk -- Appliance makers fine tune aging-in-place features for baby boomers by Julia Bauer in The Grand Rapids Press:

Predicting Disability

Surveys from Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam reveal that injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children.

Disabled Sailing Trust NZ

Maxi Catamaran Orange

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The Disabled Sailing Trust NZ is seeking help to fundraise, build and operate a 15-metre purpose-built catamaran that can be sailed by a disabled crew. Families and caregivers will also be able to enjoy sailing adventures and water activities from a few hours to a few days.

The catamaran will be able to take groups of up to 20 on day excursions and
8 on overnight trips. One of the key features of this catamaran is that it
will be one level from the aft deck through into the saloon/galley area
allowing wheelchair users full access down in the hulls via hydraulic lifts.

A disabled person will be able to take full part in sailing the catamaran
through the adapted controls under the supervision of a qualified skipper.

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Miami was chosen for the first Cruise Ship Center of Expertise (COE) in Miami of the US Coast Guard. Announced on September 30, 2008 this is the first in a series of Centers of Expertise that will be located throughout the country. Each Center of Expertise will focus on a specific segment of the maritime industry. We can hope that the Coast Guard will develop an expertise in maritime application of Universal Design and become a point of dissemination of best practices.

About one in five U.S. residents - 19 percent - reported some level of disability in 2005, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. These 54.4 million Americans are roughly equal to the combined total populations of California and Florida.

Both the number and percentage of people with disabilities were higher than in 2002, the last time the Census Bureau collected such information. At that time, 51.2 million, or 18 percent, reported a disability.

Among those with a disability, 35 million, or 12 percent of the population, were classified as having a severe disability, according to Americans With Disabilities: 2005 [PDF].


More than 10 years ago Thailand adopted an explicit policy of striving to be a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. Knowing the importance of tourism to their national economy and reflecting the sincere spirit of hospitality apparent when visiting this country Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has issued the following statement:

The recent closure of Bangkok's two airports was an unforeseen and unpredictable event never experienced before in Thailand. We sympathise with all of you who were affected and the distress it caused.

In realising your plight, the various related agencies of the Thai tourism industry did everything possible to alleviate the inconvenience incurred upon visitors. Hundreds of people across the spectrum of the Thai travel and tourism industry worked round-the-clock to help the thousands of tourists seeking to be reunited with their families and friends.

With regards to the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and together with entire private sector, we provided accommodation and meals, as well as facilitated tourists as much as possible. Some emergency flights were also operated from other airports, and city terminals were established for tourists to undergo early check-in procedures. Once the all-clear was declared, the entire tourism industry moved expeditiously and urgently to get the airport open again.

Outdoors in South Africa: Fly Fishing

Outenqua Wheelchair Challenge

Ok, your first question is, "Where's Outenqua?", right?

Actually they are a mountain range in South Africa. The Outenqua Wheelchair Challenge is hosted by the town of George which itself is in the scenic section of the country known as the Garden Route.

But Challenge participants are not likely to be taking time to "smell the roses." This little town puts on one heck of a wheelchair sports challenge. And its gaining attention around the world.

Chris Hogg at Digital Journal has an insight to share in his article Ontario Lt.-Governor David Onley Dispels Myths on Disability. So does Lt. Gov. David Onley. I recommend the entire piece but here is a pullout from the middle of the article:

"If you're a home builder or developer and 15.5 per cent of your potential customer base is disabled, why would you not think about ways to incorporate accessibility into building design?" he asks rhetorically. "In tough economic times, you can't just write-off that much of your potential customer base."

To really hit his point home, Onley tells me about shopping excursions with his wife Ruth. He says there are occasions where he doesn't feel like going into a store with her so he sits in the car, waits and watches. What he sees, however, is proof that accessibility affects everyone.

"Human behaviour is very interesting," he said. "If you are outside a hotel or store, just watch as 90 per cent of able-bodied people use a wheelchair ramp instead of stairs to get into the building. It's simply easier and you never hear of someone falling up or down a ramp. It just shows you how important accessibility is for everyone, not just the disabled."

Simple observations. Powerful implications.

It's refreshing to know that someone with power also has the clarity to make available these observations from within disability culture for the benefit of the as-yet-non-disabled population. As the Lt Governor notes:

Nelson Mandela Bay - South Africa

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism is an association with the objective to generically promote the City and surrounding areas. The Association is located in the city of Port Elizabeth but maintain representation and communication throughout the Metro and surrounding areas via a network of tourism organisations and information offices.

The Vision of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism is:

"By 2012 the Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounds will be recognised locally and internationally as a special and distinctive "must-experience", world class destination in Africa, renowned for its very own character, experience and friendliness and also for its commitment to its stakeholders, communities and the environment."

Community Based Rehabilitation

One of McGrath's objectives is to put this subject more firmly on Dubai's strategic agenda; 'One of the top ten issues in the hospitality industry in 2007 (sited by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants) is the changing demographics of our world and the resulting impact on travel trends', added McGrath.

'Hoteliers need to develop strategies that address the multi-generational needs, wants and desires. They must offer design and amenities that cater to the different needs of aging consumers who for example have high accessibility requirements (like disabled visitors), as well as younger affluent visitors who in turn have high technology and design expectations'


Special Needs at Sea offers equipment for travelers with disabilities. They have just announced a program to partner with travel agents allowing agents to source equipment for clients and make a seamless one-stop experience for their clients. The company offers electric scooters, wheelchairs, power chairs, oxygen, supplies for companion animals, hearing devices and Braille printing.

The 25th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities will be held May 4-5, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i


Alexa has spoken! Who are mere mortals to argue?

The Rolling Rains blog is #51 in popularity rating among design blogs. See Alexa's Top 90 Weblogs.

Working with People with Disability in the region

It is widely recognised that people with disability are among the poorest and most vulnerable in developing countries. The United Nations estimates that approximately 10% of the world’s population, or approximately 650 million people, have a disability and about 80% of the population with a disability live in developing countries (UN Secretariat Disability Paper E/CN.5/2008/6 available at

People with disability face many barriers to full participation in society and are likely to face an increased risk of social exclusion. This may include being unable to access education, health services, earn a living or participate in decision making. Social exclusion is a major contributor to the level of poverty which people with disability experience, particularly those who live in developing countries.

The Australian Government recognises that poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability and is committed to ensuring that the benefits of development reach those who are most excluded. Further, to achieve the targets set for the Millennium Development Goals and to alleviate poverty, the Government believes that people with disability must be actively included in development activities and processes. Therefore, people with disability have been identified as a priority for Australia’s aid program.

Disability Update: November 25, 2008

South African National Parks

* General Information on the accessibility of South African National Parks
* Information for persons wanting to take their guide dog into National Parks.
* Summarised account on physical access in South African National Parks (Includes locations of accessible accommodation and other facilities)
* Detailed account of physical access to every tourist location in Kruger Park, including all camps, gates, picnic sites, hides, historical sites and other get-out points. Indicates presence of access ramps, adapted accessible toilets etc.
* Summary of Accessible Camping in South African National Parks. Highlighting which camp sites have accessible ablution facilities.
* Transport and Tours – recommendation of tour groups for people with disabilities and car hire of converted vehicles.
* Travel Tips – advice to people with disabilities (particularly mobility impaired) in travelling to National Parks
* List of Disability Contacts – some organisations in South Africa that represent people with disability and their rights to equality.
* View photo gallery of accommodation and facilities accessible to people in wheelchairs

Japan for Sustainability reports on the convergence of green and Universal Design. Once again, as in Thailand, innovation revolves around the lowly restroom:

Japan's Shutoko Group (Metropolitan Expressway Co. and Metropolitan Expressway Service Co.) reopened its revamped, more eco-friendly Yoyogi parking area on Route 4 of the Shinjuku Line (inbound) on April 26, 2008.

With this renewal, the number of cars that can be parked in the parking area has increased to 41, which is about twice as many as its conventional capacity. In the rest rooms, larger toilet stalls were installed so that elderly people and those with children can use them more easily. The Group also increased the number of multipurpose restrooms equipped with a nursing-care bed for adults. The concept of universal design has been adopted in every part of the facility.

Electricity generated by solar panels provides the power needed for lighting and other electrical needs, and a hybrid electric power facility utilizing sunlight supplies power to the public for free to recharge their cell phones.

The facility features many other innovations, including the non-heat-retaining insulated pavement used in the parking lot, greenery planted on the roof and the barrier that divides the main expressway lanes and the parking area, and multi-pane low-heat-transfer windows. Other environmental concerns are being addressed by doing things such as installing planter boxes on the facility's wall and planting tall trees on the grounds. In addition, the Group aims to create green spaces that complement the local environment of the adjacent Meiji Jingu forest.

- Metropolitan Expressway Co. official website

Imtiaz Muqbil writes the insightful newsletter Travel Impact Newswire. Below he argues for more rational development in the travel industry - and calls for input from new voices. As the world's population ages who is advising the industry on how to make the structural, operational, and conceptual adjustments necessary to thrive as some degree of disability becomes commonplace through longevity?

Chow Kon Yeow is working on a master plan for Penang's transportation systems which will be implemented in 2010. He said the project address buses, taxis and ferries, and at airport terminals for commuters.

It appears that progressive, demographically-aware social planning taking place in Malaysia . That should not be surprising with disability advocate and wheelchair-using expert Judy Wee advising on access audits. As American's read about plans for massive public works infrastructure projects about to be be funded as an economic stimulus they may be wise to look to Malaysia for conceptual grounding:

"Our objective is to introduce a universal design concept to cater for the disabled and the elderly," he said at a forum "Making Penang Accessible" yesterday.

The state government is considering increasing the width of pavements and building more ramps for the wheelchair-bound. Chow also launched a two-year pilot project to introduce disabled-friendly amenities, undertaken by the state Economic Planning Unit, the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He said the state government would seek feedback from local authorities, various transport stakeholders and non-governmental organisations to help implement the project.

UNDP representative James George Chacko said Penang was chosen for the project because of its comprehensive range of road, sea and air transport modes. "Penang will become the model public transport system which other states can emulate," Chacko said.


South Africa Wheelchair Adventure 1

Follow a young crew from the EU on their adventures in wheelchairs through South Africa.

The Journal for Disability and International Development has issued a Call for Contributions for its January 2009 Issue The Topic is, Women with Disabilities: Identification and Participation in the Women’s and Disability Movement
Deadline is 31.01.2009

Universal Design in public transit is a key factor in developing a destination-of-choice for travelers with disabilities. Accessible train and bus systems that link to airports make travel in an unfamiliar place feel safe and more convenient.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has installed a new talking kiosk at Penn Station. The device, which gives detailed verbal navigation advice in association with a tactile map, is yet another innovation in inclusion. Personally, I like the added feature of "indoor virtual birdwatching" from the alerts it emits!

"We're really looking at systems here that are fully accessible to people with a variety of different needs, but also are completely usable and inviting to members of the general public," said Steven Landau, director of research for Manhattan-based Touch Graphics, which developed the technology for the MTA. "This approach to universal design is the wave of the future."

The wall-mounted device, which resembles an automated teller machine, is located between tracks 14 and 15 of the Long Island Rail Road in the main terminal and makes its presence known by emitting the sound of a lark sparrow.

A customer uses a tactile map of Penn Station that includes a "You are here" type of star with an indentation to communicate where he or she is relative to the surroundings. A programmed voice also will give instructions to a destination; for example, explaining that to get to the escalator to New Jersey Transit, one must "with your back to the kiosk, walk forward with your angle slightly to the left."

Full article at,0,7817306.story

Turismo em Numeros (Portuguese)

Turismo em Numeros.jpg

A revista Turismo em Numeros ( Edição Número 74) contem:

* Editorial – Conselho Editorial: "Turismo Especial."

Disabled Travel Advice - UK

Global Access News reports:

Sue Davies, of the UK’s Disabled Travel Advice, wrote to share the word on their new public interest web site at The site focuses on the disabled travelers’ needs and provides great tips for everything from traveling with pets to staying in hostels.

Where else would you find an article like Dealing with Mobility Scooter Rage and Motorcycle Riding for Disabled Drivers?

Swamp Tours?

From the archives comes this story of an intrepid traveler:

Disability View, an organisation which provides current and useful information on disability in Britain, had sent its editorial representative to Malaysia on an educational trip jointly organised by Wings on Wheels, a specialist travel company for people with special needs, Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia-based travel agency Diethelm Travel Management.

In its September/October 2003 issue, Disability View's magazine reported that although it took a considerable amount of "woman-handling" to get Jones in and out of the boat and to lunch, the excursion at the mangrove swamp was "worth the effort" and, according to [Helen] Jones, "the boat ride to look at some of the country's marine life was 'just amazing'."

For the full article:

One of the byproducts of travel preparation is the generation of many more possible itineraries than I could ever possibly experience. That's where readers of Rolling Rains come in handy. Together we can experience - and report on - much more than any one person is able to. If you have experienced the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge, found an adapted boat with SA Sailing, journeied down one of these hiking trails, or tried out any of the South African National Parks features listed below please let us know your experience.

Moving Dubai Ahead

Hadas Kroitoru offers an insight into efforts at inclusion for tourists in the Middle East in the article "Tourism for All":

When four-time Paralympian and world traveler Sharon Myers entered her handicap-accessiblesuite in Dubai's world-renowned Burj Jumeriah Hotel on a visit four years ago, she was amazed. It was the most luxurious room she had ever seen. Myers had no problems accessing the suite's second floor on the elevator, no difficulty getting through the widened doors, and the bathroom's roll-in shower, she says, was not only fully accessible, but it was absolutely gorgeous – covered in blue and turquoise tiles – the most elegant she had ever seen.

There was just one hitch – there was no bench in the shower...

Full story:

Accessible Tourism Darcy.jpg

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) has recently produced a new publication Accessible Tourism: Challenges and Opportunities. This is a FREE resource available here:

From the book:

“American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility currently spend an average of $13.6 billion a year on travel. Creating accessible cruise ships, accessible ship terminals, accessible ground transportation, and accessible tourism destinations is not charity. It is just good business.”

Dr Scott Rains, a US expert on disability issues

South African Fundi Logo.jpg

Travel agents are a resourceful lot. It's their job to be geographers, bargain-hunters, problem-solvers, diplomats -- and insatiably curious!

After posing the question to myself this morning about the accessibility of tourism in South Africa I began an online researching path that led me to the South African Fundi certification on the country.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the AARP will host a briefing on Universal Design and the 50+ housing market. The briefing will feature the four national winners of the 2008 Livable Communities Awards. The awards honor builders, developers and remodelers that create attractive, well-designed homes and communities that are comfortable, safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Researchers using closed-circuit televisions to create an illusion have made volunteers virtually swap bodies, even making women believe they were in a man's body and vice-versa.

The experiment, reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE on Tuesday, shows it is possible to manipulate the human mind to create the perception of having another body, the Swedish researchers said.

It helps explain how humans understand the limits of their own bodies, Valeria Petkova and Henrik Ehrsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported.

I plan to discover the answer firsthand in January 2009. Watch for the travelogue.

The world's expert on safari accessibility is Gordon Rattray with his site Able Travel but the emerging tour operator for travelers with disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal is Jennae Bezuidenhout. You will find her site at Access2AfricaSafaris

Below is their 10-day itinerary packed with options.

John Keeter writes from AmeriGlide - a company
that sells mobility lifting aids:

My company offers a scholarship that I thought might be of interest to your and your readers. The scholarship is available to students who are enrolled full time at a 2 or 4 year university and use a wheelchair. Students can apply for the $500 scholarship completely online, or they can print up the application and mail it to us. In addition to completing the application, they must also write a short essay on the ADA.

I was hoping that you could help us spread the word about our

For more information, you can visit our site at:

Gary Presley, author of "Seven Wheelchairs: A Life Beyond Polio" (University of Iowa Press) begins his article in the Washington Post this way, "This month I began my 50th year of riding a wheelchair through life. In case you're wondering, everything is all right down here."

All Knork - No Spork!

a knork while a spork

The suggestion to repeat the tried-and-true public works infrastructure solution for re-priming the US economy has made it up to center stage with president Obama proposing it to the nation's governors. Unless it is imbued 100% through and through with the principles of Universal Design it will simply be the largest exclusion-by-design project ever seen. Who is advocating inside the incoming administration for all infrastructure funded by this proposal be vetted for its adherence to the goal of socail inclusion for seniors and people with disabilites?

The nation's governors got to work on Tuesday, taking their case to the president-elect for a $136 billion infrastructure spending program that they hope will funnel immediate government money toward bridges, roads and rail lines in the hopes of creating jobs and spurring the economy out of recession.

It's not a handout or a bailout, insisted the host of the economic forum, Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the National Governors Association. Rather, it's the "best remedy for getting America back to work," Rendell said.

"We think that we can create literally millions of new jobs and at the same time lots of orders for concrete and steel companies and asphalt companies and lumber companies and the like," Rendell said. "None of the bailouts have created one new job. Infrastructure can create, the economists say, 40,000 jobs for every $1 billion of infrastructure spending. Well, that's a huge lift."


Air Travel - Philippines

cebu - disabled.jpg

This review of the Cebu Pacific's discrimination against deaf travelers appeared at Filipino Deaf blog

Congratulations to Edward Steinfeld, Arch.D.and Aaron Steinfeld, Ph.D on their grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

On the Visitability web site, Concrete Change, you will find this goal statement:

VISIT-ABILITY (Inclusive Home Design)

Our focus is new homes. Not government buildings, restaurants, etc. (important as they are). Our goal is to make ALL homes visitable, not just “special” homes — to be at the party, meeting, and family reunion . . . not isolated. We narrow the emphasis from a long list of access features to the most essential: entering a home and fitting through the interior doors. So that widespread construction change is more likely to happen quickly.

Steps at every entrance of a home shut out people who use wheelchairs or walkers, or have weakness, stiffness or balance problems. A narrow door stops wheelchair users from fitting through the bathroom door in a friend or relative’s home.

You will also find the slide show below.

Visitability Nov 2008
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

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