March 15, 2008

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

The proposal to open three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism that is being considered by Echoing Green Foundation and publicy discussed at Ashoka's Changemakers' Geotourism Challenge has generated 80 comments from around the world here:

http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Rolling Rains Report Featured Entrant in the National Geographic and Ashoka's Changemakers Geotourism Challenge

Global competition will uncover most innovative projects that support better tourism

[San Jose, CA, USA] – The National Geographic Society and Ashoka’s Changemakers have introduced the first Geotourism Challenge to identify and showcase innovators in tourism development, management, and marketing.

The one-of-a-kind online collaborative competition is designed to raise awareness about how tourism can help sustain, enhance and preserve local culture and environment.

The Rolling Rains Report is a featured entrant in this initiative at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5951. The Rolling Rains Report is an experiment in achieving social inclusion. As a daily online publication it provides research and educational material emphasizing the quality of tourist experience of a group who has historically been denied access to tourism - people with disabilities.

At the Geotourism Challenge an expanded project is proposed. The Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism Project will bring to scale sustainable inclusive tourism development projects piloted in Asia and the Americas. The project goal is to make the tourism industry an authentic partner in the aspirations, rights, and culture of the disability community by establishing local collaboratives, directed by people with disabilities, to provide tourism product creation, infrastructure design, and destination development services to the tourism and hospitality industry. Matching the profit motive of industry to the pent-up demand for travel opportunities among people with disabilities will be the purpose of three Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism currently under consideration for funding and launch in September 2008. People with disabilities of the USA alone spend $13.6 billion annually on travel. Tourist destinations recognize the market advantage they gain by accommodating this travel sector. One of the world’s largest industries, tourism, can create lasting social change for one of the world’s fastest growing underserved populations, people with disabilities - including aging Baby Boomers and their parents.

Discussion of the Centers of Excellence in Inclusive Tourism proposal is drawing worldwide participation at - http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/node/5952

The Geotourism Challenge is Changemakers’ 15th collaborative competition and draws on Ashoka’s 27 years of experience in identifying leading social entrepreneurs around the world. To date, the competitions have sourced more than 2,000 local innovations on various themes from more than 125 countries. The Rolling Rains Report is honored to be recognized as a leader in the global movement to create social change through the tourism sector and the foremost voice for Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

Anyone can participate and comment on entries. Everyone is invited to improve all entries through online collaboration. A panel of expert judges will choose approximately a dozen finalists who demonstrate innovation, social impact and sustainability. Judges include: Keith Bellows, VP, National Geographic Society, Editor-in-Chief, NG Traveler; Susan Berresford Past President, The Ford Foundation; Leonard Cordiner, CEO, whl travel; and Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.

The finalists will have the opportunity to present their innovations at The Geotourism Challenge Summit this fall. Three winners will be chosen by online voting and receive $5,000 each.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,800 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com or visit the Web page for the Center for Sustainable Destinations at www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/.

About Ashoka’s Changemakers

Changemakers is building the world's first global online “open source” community that competes to surface the best social solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Changemakers focuses on thematic, collaborative competitions, inviting innovators from around the world to profile and collaborate with a global community of investors, thought leaders and enthusiasts. To date Changemakers has launched 14 successful collaborative competitions and attracted more than 2,000 high-impact solutions from more than 125 countries. Changemakers builds on Ashoka’s 27-year history identifying and selecting leading social entrepreneurs and its belief in “Everyone a Changemaker” global society. Get involved. Find out more about how to nominate, enter, comment and vote in our collaborative competitions at www.changemakers.net

For more information please contact:

Delyse Sylvester
Director of Communication
Ashoka's Changemakers
250-551-0570
dsylvester@ashoka.org

About Scott Rains and the Rolling Rains Report

Dr. Scott Rains writes daily on travel and issues in the tourism industry of interest to people with disabilities.
His work appears online at http://www.RollingRains.com and http://withtv.typepad.com/weblog/travel/ . Rains’ articles have also appeared in New Mobility, Emerging Horizons, Contours, Design for All India, Accessible Portugal, Audacity, Travel and Transitions, eTur Brazil, Co-Walking Korea, Turismo Polibea, Current Rehabilitation, [with]TV, and Disaboom among others. For his research on the topic of Universal Design and the travel and hospitality industry he was appointed as Resident Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies of the University of California Santa Cruz (2004-05)

For more information please contact:

Dr. Scott Rains
Publisher, The Rolling Rains Report
srains at oco dot net

Posted by rollingrains at March 15, 2008 10:49 PM