February 01, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion -- And a Tribute to Rolling Rains Readers!!!

Echoing Green Semi-Finalist

Our work together to date -- and my plans for future projects -- promoting Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development worldwide has won the affirmation of the Echoing Green Foundation. The dedication shown by those who read, contribute to, and are written about here at the Rolling Rains Report have been an encouragement for me to continue to the next phase of the competition.

Very briefly my proposal is to establish three Centers of Excellence in strategic locations around the world over the next two years.

The Centers of Excellence will gather industry, government, and disabled people (individual PwDs and their DPOs) into an action-oriented network to grow this market of travelers with disabilities. The Centers will gather the local tourism business eco-system to function as results-focused resource and a professional standard-setting body. As part of a coordinated international network these Centers are the launch of a new stage of industry maturity in service and marketing to this growing but underserved and eager-to-travel demographic.

Each Center of Excellence will participate in our international work to standardize the diversity of accessibility laws, disseminate minimum accessibility guidelines for hotels, train travel & hospitality industry staff, promote the education & hiring of PwD in the industry. At the local level we will work to make these three destinations accessible and train a core of PwD to be self-sustaining as advocates & experts in Inclusive Tourism for their region.

This competition is important because it will provide initial seed funding. Without this Echoing Green Foundation funding the project cannot take place. With it we will see the confluence of the many "islands of innovation" that you have read about here over the years.

This project to make strategic impact in the proper management of three destinations is the concrete expression of the vision I presented at the United Nations for ICAT 2007 in the address, "Inclusive Tourism: A New Strategic Alliance for the Disability Rights Movement."

Readers are welcome to submit recommendation letters to the Rolling Rains Report. The form is available here. Download file

Potential funders: Echoing Green is interested in hearing that the project has matching grant, partner, and post-seed stage funders are standing ready to support this project. Contact me at the email address provided under the Rolling Rains graphic on the top left.

Readings on a vision for inclusion in travel:

Waking Up to a Changed Travel Market

Defining the Market of Travelers with Disabilities

Theme Parks and Real Life

From, "Prayaville, Thailand:Becoming a Destination of Choice for Travelers with Disabilities":

Vision Statement

(This Vision Statement is written in the present tense to express the ideal goals of the project as if they were already reality.)

• Prayaville is a barrier-free city with an affirmative policy of inclusion of people with disabilities (PwD) that is evident in its infrastructure as well as its business and civic cultures.

• Prayaville is a city with a community of citizens, as well as long- and short-term guests with disabilities, who actively participate in civic life through government, business, education, media, and the arts.

• Prayaville is a destination of choice for people with disabilities because it has applied Inclusive Destination Development principles of Universal Design in developing its tourist assets.

• Prayaville has differentiated itself from other tourist destinations while positioning itself within the mainstream tourist route of Thailand and of Southeast Asia.

Posted by rollingrains at February 1, 2008 08:26 PM