"Everyone Has a Right to Travel"

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Although, about a year ago, I had the Carlo Besta Italian National Neurological Institute in Milan change the date of its conference on Tourism and Disability to allow me to attend the Brazilian REATECH Expo and address the combined i-CREATE and ICAT 2009 in Singapore it was not possible for me to attend more than the excellently executed Milan event.

Reports of the Brazilian and Singapore events have come in. Each appears to have had logistical problems.

REATECH planners built inaccessible stages and presentation areas. ICAT missed some publicity opportunities.

A new articulate voice in Inclusive Tourism, Yeoh Siew Hoon, makes reference to the poor planning and the squandered 24 months of potential publicity since ICAT 2007 in Bangkok. Her piece " Everyone Has a Right to Travel" provides an insider's look at ICAT 2009. In spite of the failure of ICAT 2009 to live up to its public potential the article reveals one of the most important developments we observe occurring around the world - cascading industry interest.

ICAT organizers called in speakers who subsequently become educated - and enthused - about the potential of this market rather than calling on those with experience in the field. Thus utilizing the appearances of a an international conference the real growth took place at a grassroots and B-to-B level:

Other than two representatives from the Singapore Tourism Board, the only other tourism delegates were my panelists and I. And let me say that Maggie White of Tourism Australia, Evan Lewis of Accor Asia Pacific, George Booth of Tourism Integrated Services, Kliff Ang of Asia Travel and I learnt more from our involvement than the delegates could ever learn from us.

There were delegates from Spain, India, Switzerland, France, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan, all wanting to learn from how to make their countries more accessible to travellers. There were academicians from Hong Kong and Dubai, wanting to learn more about new technologies to improve life for their disabled and elderly.

Kudos to the generous contributors and their eye for opportunity!

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