October 2014 Archives

IUCN World Parks Congress


The upcoming World Parks Congress is a once in 10 year event with over 3000 delegates from around the world. On Monday the 17th of November there are two sessions on park accessibility and inclusion.

Diverse parks, diverse communities - parks and protected areas for everyone. 1:30 to 3:00pm in Hall 3B1

Learn about some fascinating and innovative programs that are being run in parks and protected areas to improve the health and well-being of diverse community groups. The variety of programs featured include social inclusion programs for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; engaging and empowering communities through place-based education and activation; universal design of park facilities and how providing specialised equipment and detailed accessibility information can encourage people with a disability to visit parks and protected areas.

Key Speakers: David Stratton - TrailRider Advocate, Sam Cuff - Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service Australia, Aimee Freimanis - Parramatta City Council, Mr. Yoon, Sang-heon - Korea National Park Service, John Kenwright - Parks Victoria, Bill Forrester - Travability.

Creating and promoting accessible protected area experiences for visitors with disabilities. 

5:30 to 7:00pm Hall 3B1

This workshop will explore and discuss the common barriers to gaining protected area access information as experienced by visitors with disabilities. Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the: • Growing international need for accessible protected area infrastructure and protected area experiences. • Type and range of protected area experiences and activities that visitors of all abilities are seeking. • Importance of compiling protected area accessibility information guides in a practical format for visitors. Participants will be encouraged to share their lessons learnt on protected area accessibility and give ideas for application in other protected area settings including both urban and wilderness parks. This workshop will also provide a toolkit for participants to learn how to evaluate the accessibility of their own parks and protected areas using a protected area evaluation manual developed by Parks Victoria and Travability. This workshop is led by Parks Victoria in conjunction with Travability.

For more:


A Look at Europe in 2012

Tear Down Those Walls!

The text of the Destinations pour tous summit on Inclusive Tourism in anticipation of several multi-year United Nations projects promoting Inclusive Tourism as a development strategy.


Hotels of the Future

TGR img

TGR img

With a view to setting new standards for hotel rooms of the future, the SHTM collaborated with its teaching and research hotel, Hotel ICON, to again organise a global competition in 2014 to shape guestrooms of tomorrow.

Taking the theme 'The Hotel Room of the Future', the competition this year will be held from September to December 2014. Professionals in interior or hotel design, and design students from tertiary education institutions are invited to submit their design proposals individually or as a team for one of the Tomorrow's Guestrooms to showcase their vision of hotel room design for guests of the future.

Entries in the competition will be reviewed by an expert panel, and winners may have the chance to have their design realised in one of the dedicated research bedrooms at Hong Kong's one-of-a-kind teaching and research hotel - Hotel ICON.

An SHTM initiative, Tomorrow's Guestrooms serve as an innovative platform to innovate, develop and showcase new technologies, hotel designs and business concepts in hotel management. Through these dedicated guestrooms, the SHTM is creating a "House of Innovation" not only for the benefit of education and research but also for the advancement of the entire hotel industry

Full story:


Destinations for All will feature over 130 speakers from around the world including world leaders and ambassadors in accessible tourism. This first-ever World Summit dedicated to Inclusive Tourism in destinations has just now published presentation abstracts.

Read through Then meet us there in Montreal.

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To date, the secretariat of 5th International Conference On Accessible Tourism have received registration from 16 countries, include China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Philippine, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Jordan, Malawi, Italy, Germany and UK. And due to 
popular request, we have postponed the registration dateline to October 15. 

It is a good opportunity for you to get to know more about accessible tourism activities in other country, and may be the only opportunity for you to build up networking with the world to enhance your capabilities in promoting accessible tourism in your country. 

If you have not register for the event, it is my pleasure to invite you to participate in 5th International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICAT 2014) with the theme TOURISM FOR ALL that to be held from 4 till 7 December 2014, at MBPJ Civic Hall, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

ICAT 2014 is an event that aims to bring the Elderly and People with Disabilities to the heart of a more inclusive global society, in the same time to create awareness on this potential and niche market.  It is the first of such world-wide international events organized in Malaysia and will positively lead to an increased recognition and encouragement of policies and actions to promote Accessible Tourism for all.

The purpose of this conference is to present a discussion forum to identify key policies, strategies, and to provide information to policy makers, industry players, consumers and the public on Accessible Tourism for all. At the meeting, international guest speakers will be invited to discuss on the implementations, as well as to share country reports and progress on the topic.


Pre-Conference Tour and Access Tour will be part of Conference program for participants to experience the exciting of touring in Malaysia and giving input for improvement. The tour will take the participants to explore the fascinating sights in and around the city. Enjoy visits to cultural & heritage places and cosmopolitan structures that will leave them enriched with an experience of Accessible Tour.


During the course of the event, there will also be an on-going exhibition featuring the accessible tourist attractions in Asia Pacific Region, interesting packages and facilities on Accessible Tourism. One could easily plan for an exciting and accessible tour with all the information provided. Besides that, the exhibition of arts and craft and various traditional hand-made products created by PWDs would highlight the contribution of PWDs in the field of tourism industry. In the same time there will be International Disability Arts Festival, Singing and Dancing Contest for those who have talent in performance to take part.


Another important purpose of ICAT 2014 is to officially form the Asia Pacific Network On Accessible Tourism (APNAT), in order to build up a bigger and wider network to create greater impact of Accessible Tourism to the world.


urther information is available on http://icat2014.beautifulgate.org.my. For all other inquiries, please contact icat2014@beautifulgate.org.my.


Registration Deadline: October 15, 2014

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Designing the Destination-of-Choice:

Inclusive Destination Development

By Scott Rains, the Rolling Rains Report


We target social inclusion.

With inclusion as the comprehensive goal mere accessibility is a necessary but less-than-terminal objective.

An "adapted" or "barrier-free" environment may succeed at facilitating tolerance but the full active social inclusion of persons who experience disability requires more.

Universal Design

To arrive at inclusion we engage in a process that constantly refers back to the principles and goals of Universal Design.  We feel that this communicates a primary orientation toward engaging stakeholder involvement and innovation while it honors the uniqueness of each situation when developing a solution.

Rights-Based and Market-Based

 We use both legal arguments such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and studies of the market potential of this niche.

We emphasize the market-based approach because it so little known. We find that by retaining constant awareness of the market we reinforce a problem-solving approach suited to business and government's best impulses toward customer service. The alternative, a mandated compliance approach alone, sometimes triggers a defensive reflex. That can result in our market being marginalized as a risk to be managed rather than a profit center.

Engaging Imagination

We regularly re-emphasize the freedom to be gained from a design approach. 

Design is often not a part of the culture (and thus skill-set) of the organizations we work with. Without a design approach the process tends to jump to discussion of the technical aspects of accessibility implementation. Punch lists and code check sheets gain precedence.

Engaging the Market

People with disabilities are an under-served market and an under-tapped employment pool. As such the initial return on investment can be remarkable and the aggregate numbers startling. Studies of the travel behavior of Americans with disabilities showed an annual expenditure of $13.6 billion on travel (ODO 2002, 2005). European, Canadian, and Australian studies are similarly surprising. Surveys of people with disabilities as well as anecdotal workplace evidence show the group often demonstrates a higher motivation to work than other sectors.

Marketing by Design

Designing for people with disabilities as both customers and employees creates a positive feedback loop.

The studies mentioned above show that the market sector whose travel behavior is most influenced by word-of-mouth networks is people with disabilities. They also document that this sector lists "employees who understand my needs" as the number one priority they would change about the tourism industry to improve their experience as customers.

Employees with disabilities must, for reasons of practical survival, become experts on the accessibility of their employer's venue, their city, and their country. Their expertise is sought out by travelers with disabilities and seniors. Their very presence in a workforce communicates welcome to the guest with a disability. It suggests that the built environment and management culture of an enterprise has grasped the importance of inclusion.

Such a venue has a strong chance of becoming a destination-of-choice for this growing travel sector.

Both funny and intelligent - this article by Bill Forrester is a great read for anyone implementing Inclusive Tourism.


The unemployment rate for persons with a disability continues to be almost double the rate for persons without a disability. Personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an analysis of 2014's Best and Worst Cities for Americans with Disabilities.

The group analyzed the 150 most populated U.S. cities across 23 key metrics. They range from the number of physicians per capita to the rate of employed people with disabilities to park accessibility. 

 Best Cities for People with Disabilities Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
 1Overland Park, KS 141Chicago, IL
 2Peoria, AZ 142Los Angeles, CA
 3Scottsdale, AZ 143Reno, NV
 4Lubbock, TX 144Fort Lauderdale, FL
 5Chandler, AZ 145Jackson, MS
 6Amarillo, TX 146Hialeah, FL
 7Gilbert, AZ 147Las Vegas, NV
 8Tampa, FL 148Miami, FL
 9Chesapeake, VA 149North Las Vegas, NV
 10Huntsville, AL 150Providence, RI
Key Stats

  • The adjusted cost of living in New York is 2 times higher than in Nashville, Tenn.
  • The employment rate of people with disabilities in Overland Park, Kans. is 2 times higher than in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • The percentage of the population with disabilities below poverty level in Rochester, N.Y. is 6 times higher than in Plano, Tex.
  • The cost of a doctor visit in Madison, Wis. is 3 times higher than in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • The annual cost of in-home services in Madison, Wis. is 2 times higher than in Brownsville, Tex.
  • The percentage of persons with disabilities living in Detroit, Mich. is 4 times higher than in Irvine, Calif.
  • The number of special education teachers per people with disabilities in Charlotte, N.C. is 26 times higher than in Detroit, Mich.
  • The percentage of the population with walkable park access in San Francisco, Calif. is 4 times higher than in Charlotte, N.C.
For the full report and to see where your city ranks, please visit: 

The tourism sector's contribution to communities' empowerment as one of the pillars of sustainable development was at the heart of this year's World Tourism Day celebrations. The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, opened the official celebrations of World Tourism Day held in Guadalajara, Mexico (27 September 2014).

World Tourism Day (WTD) was celebrated this year under the theme "Tourism & Community Development", highlighting the community dimension as one of the key pillars of sustainable development. Organized by UNWTO and the Government of Mexico, the official WTD celebrations took place in the city of Guadalajara (Jalisco) with the presence of President Peña Nieto, tourism ministers and private sector representatives from around the world.

Representing more than 8% of Mexico's GDP and employing 7% of the national workforce, "this rapidly growing sector attracts investment and drives local and regional development, while providing opportunities for growth, particularly for women and youth", said President Peña Nieto addressing WTD participants. "Tourism is a great social tool reducing inequalities and helping our communities to progress. Due to the potential of this activity, the government has identified tourism as a sector of major relevance", he added.

In his WTD message, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said "This year´s observance of World Tourism Day focuses on the ability of tourism to fully empower people. Engaging local populations in tourism development builds stronger and more resilient communities. Tourism helps people to develop a variety of skills. As a service sector with cross-cutting impact on agriculture, construction or handicrafts, tourism creates millions of jobs and business opportunities. Its capacity to lift people from poverty, promote gender empowerment and help protect the environment has made it a vital tool for achieving positive change in communities across the world".

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai highlighted that "there can be no real tourism development if it damages the values and culture of host communities, or if the socio-economic benefits generated by tourism do not trickle down to the community level. I would like to invite all tourism stakeholders and host communities to come together and celebrate this day as a symbol of our common efforts in making tourism a true pillar of community development and community development the basis of a more sustainable future."

Among several activities, WTD brought together Ministers of Tourism from nine countries and the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at its high-level Think Tank.

Opening the event, the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas, underscored how her country's policies support the socio-economic growth of local communities. "Tourism is about people and we must ensure social inclusion. Governments come and go but communities don't. Involving them in the decision process is critical for sustainability", she said.

The Think Tank, moderated by Gabriela Frías, of UNWTO media partner CNN International, debated the key policy areas to support community participation for their empowerment and benefit from tourism, the role of the private sector, and the overall contribution to sustainable development supported by improved tourism policies, which must include communities in the decision making process.

Highlights include:

·       Tourism can be a tool which allows communities to pursue development without losing their identity, while generating income and opportunities promoting local development, including in rural areas, fighting thus the migration to cities.

·       A participatory approach is critical to ensure that communities, which are complex social structures, share the ownership of the tourism supply, turning tourism into a relevant tool for communities in both remote rural areas and cities.

·       Participation improves local governance capacities while unlocking  existing and potential tourism assets - including natural assets, tangible and intangible cultural heritage - and contributes to both protecting those assets and fostering community pride and social cohesion.

·       Communities as partners in equal standing are able to ensure how to best channel private sector efforts for new tourism endeavors and necessary infrastructure investments which also benefit tourism development.

·       While public tourism policy cannot pursue a one-size-fits-all approach, it must promote the importance of community development as a pillar of general development, a concept to be shared by all tourism stakeholders, including the private sector and tourists themselves.

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