Inclusive travel and, to a lesser extent (because it is a newer phenomenon), Inclusive Destination Development have their heroes. Heroes, especially when they are out of the spotlight, often teach us something unique and valuable about how to live.
I have not given enough praise to someone whose vision and accomplishments raise him to that high status in both travel and destination development: Iichiro Kusanagi.
So, I was very pleased to see him quoted in Asahi Weekly in an article released only an hour ago entitled, "Freedom to Travel a Right to be Enjoyed by All"
In the past, an overseas trip was a bit of a risky gamble for people with disabilities,'' said Iichiro Kusanagi of Japan Tourism Marketing Co.'s Universally Designed Tourism Center. ``Nowadays, many people with disabilities go wherever they want to go, not just where they can go."
The article goes on to note:
It was 10 years ago that the Tourism Policy Council of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport noted, ``Everyone has a right to travel ... . The freedom to travel is of special value to people whose movements are restricted, such as those with disabilities and the elderly.
What I found remarkable about Mr. Kusanagi is that, despite his international stature and demanding schedule, he took the time to attend to details, large and small, of my travel, after my keynote at Shizouka University in Hamamatsu, Japan.
He met me at a difficult transfer point between trains and escorted me back to Tokyo; arranged for me to share a meal with several of the key people behind inclusive travel in Japan; and generally made for the smoothest of transitions between my time with my equally gracious host and Japan's preeminent promoter of Universal Design, professor Satoshi Kose, in Hamamatsu, and my return to the USA.
Thank you, Iichiro. It should be no surprise that someone so clearly "trustworty in the small things" would be successful in changing the world for the better -- for all of us.
Japan tour firms catering to disabled foreigners
(Article provided thanks to the research of Darren Hillock of Get Around Guide - the Blog)