Recommendations from Chapter 7 of "Mapping skills and training needs to improve accessibility in tourism services"


One of the key recommendations above relates to the development of an EU-wide standard for a VET (vocational educational training) curriculum and qualification(s) in accessible tourism (EU Certification). Development of such a standard would help address both supply side barriers (by  providing a structure to the market for accessible training provision) and some of the demand side challenges (by defining accessible tourism skills as a transferrable and recognised skill). 

The standard would not require the design of specialised accessible tourism training modules. Rather, the required skills (as defined in section 3 of his report) could be integrated into existing tourism qualification. This would certainly be the case for the basic skills per occupational group defined in section 3 with more in-depth training being provided in separate modules focused exclusively on accessible tourism.

While the full development of an accessible tourism curriculum is outside the scope of this study, our research shows that such a curriculum should identify:

1. The range of different disabilities that tourism businesses should be aware of. As a minimum these should include:

  • Mobility and dexterity
  • Hearing
  • Visual
  • Learning difficulties
  • Allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Long term-illness


2. The target audience for whom the training is intended e.g.:

  • Frontline Staff
  • Managers
  • Others

The curriculum would, we believe, be best developed as a Standard. The benefits of developing a training standard for Accessible Tourism are:

1. It enables detailed training content to be identified and developed addressing different disabilities (as above) related to different job roles reflecting their responsibilities, thus creating a complete reference framework or matrix which can support the requirement of in-depth training.

2. Such a framework would assist any person or organisation who is looking to develop access training, by informing them of content and assisting development for courses that are either accredited and achieve a recognised qualification or for shorter bite-size course which might be preferred by smaller businesses but mapped against a standard.

3. The framework would also be a useful reference point for existing courses that may be reviewed and refreshed in the future.

4. Developing a curriculum in the way that a standard is created offers an opportunity for access training to be recognised formally through accreditation; it can be a reference point for both employer and employee, (which most access training currently does not offer), indicating that a recognised standard of competence has been reached.


Further benefits of developing a curriculum around a Standards approach are many:

1. National Occupational Standards reflect what people can do, not just what they have earned, they define individual competence in performance terms.

2. They have a value within industry and can, for example be used for recruitment and selection, job design and evaluation, training needs analysis, learning programmes and performance appraisals.

3. Good employers invest in training their staff, to remain competitive and improve staff retention though skills and career development.

4. The Standards provide a benchmark for all of this activity.

Having a standard allows for an assessment of whether someone can consistently perform the required standard of performance and has the required standard of knowledge and understanding. Assessments should not be designed to create an excessive workload for either the assessor or candidate (member of staff being assessed), but it must be rigorous and reliable.

There are four main sources of evidence and methods of assessing evidence, against set specifications, of competence and an appropriate combination should be selected for each candidate:

1. Observation of performance at work, inspection of work products, witness testimonies.

2. Questioning oral and / or written.

3. Historical evidence or Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

4. Performance on a specially set task and simulation.

Find the complete study here:

Australian Studies


Mr. Sudarson Subedi, President, National Federations of Disabled Nepal took part in a high-level meeting on Disability and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2013. With a slogan "Break Barriers and Open Doors", the high level meeting was geared towards how we all can minimize the striking gap between current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in development. During the meeting, Mr. Subedi learned about some of the global actions on mainstreaming PWDs. He also understood the dynamics of strengthening international and regional cooperation for disability-inclusive development towards and beyond 2015 and the inclusion of PWDs in national development strategies that ensures the rights of all persons with disabilities as mentioned in the charter of UNCRPD.

Disability in South Asia


Antony Duttine speaks on Handicap International's regional project: "Towards Disability Inclusive Development through a Strengthened Rehabilitation Sector in South Asia", a system of Continuing Professional Education.


Making it Work is  project dedicated to seeing the CRPD implemented. Below is the series of questions they propose to States who are adopting the Convention on Rights of Persons with disabilities

Article 30 - Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport

Access to culture, recreation, leisure and sport are also important areas to be taken into 
account for the full participation in society of persons with disabilities. 

Questions to address: 

• Are intellectual property laws a barrier to persons with disabilities seeking to 
access cultural materials?  
• Does public funding provided to cultural, leisure/touristic and sporting facilities 
and organizations require compliance with accessibility standards?  
• Do general accessibility plans include the elimination of barriers in culture, 
recreation, leisure and sport?  
• Is the State providing support to disability-specific initiatives in the area of sports 
and culture? 
• Is the State promoting and supporting deaf culture

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Critical Concerns in Blindness Book Series

The Institute on Blindness has established a "Critical Concerns in Blindness" book series to provide in-depth knowledge to the field of education and rehabilitation of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. These writings are based on the knowledge and experiences of successful persons who are blind. The Institute currently has another three books in the series which are either in press, or under development. Download the .pdf Order Form from Information Age Publishing or click on the links below to order directly from the website.

Series Editor: Edward Bell, PhD
Series Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Inc

Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children: A Promotion Model 

Cutter, Joseph. Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children: A Promotion Model. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2007.

Unlike many books and articles on orientation and mobility (O&M) for blind children, this one is not about the effect of blindness on movement. Such an inquiry is self defeating from the start, as it often begins with misconceptions and deficit-thinking about blindness and the blind child's early motor development. Instead, this book is about the effect of movement on development and the importance of movement experiences for the development of independent movement and travel in blind children. It has a clear premise: blind children must become "active movers" if they are to become independent " travelers."

Click here to order Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children

The Blind Need Not Apply: A History of Overcoming Prejudice in the Orientation and Mobility Profession

Ferguson, Ronald. The Blind Need Not Apply: A History of Overcoming Prejudice in the Orientation and Mobility Profession. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2007.


Click here to order The Blind Need Not Apply

Seeing Beyond Blindness

Kinash, Shelley. Seeing Beyond Blindness. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2006.

This book is intended for four intersecting groups of readers. If you are a philosopher, closet or sanctioned, then you cannot ponder the nature of being without due consideration for vision, and cannot contemplate the role of seeing in our lives without listening to the stories of those who are blind. The tales within this text are particularly contemporaneous because they are contextualized by the cyber-phenomena of online learning. This segues to the second group of readers, as the described empirical research was originally intended to bring greater depth and breadth of understanding to the field of educational technology, particularly as it intersects with disability studies. There is a paucity of published literature that has inquired into disabled online learners, and this research study responds to that call. Third, this book may be used as a textbook on approaches to interpretive empirical research. It is as close as one may come to a recipe, walking students through a specific example. Because it is situated in actual empirical research, the intention was that it avoid the trap of being prescriptive or formulaic. Finally, the text is intended for readers interested in the field of blindness. The text reviews some of the seminal and contemporary research on blindness, and then presents an elaborated example of what we can and should expect to emerge in the knowledge production industry, changing what it means to be blind.

Click here to order Seeing Beyond Blindness

Making It Work: Educating the Blind/Visually Impaired Student in the Regular School

Castellano, Carol. Making It Work: Educating the Blind/Visually Impaired Student in the Regular School. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2005.

Making It Work is destined to be the definitive guide for years to come on how to make the regular school education a successful experience for blind/visually impaired children. With chapters flowing logically and full of detailed, useful information, it will be an essential handbook for school staff, specialized service providers, and parents of blind/visually impaired children. This is an exquisite, enlightened guide for the education of blind/visually impaired children in the new millennium. ~ Joe Cutter, Early Childhood O&M Specialist

Click here to order Making it Work: Educating the Blind/Visually Impaired Student in the Regular School

Education and Rehabilitation for Empowerment

Vaughan, Edwin C, and James H Omvig. Education and Rehabilitation for Empowerment. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2005.

In this book we are interested in patterns of education, rehabilitation service, socialization, and ideas about blindness that in large part produce the above-mentioned distinct patterns. We will examine the economic interests of professional groups and the patterns of domination and subordination, which are present in most rehabilitation relationships. Our central tenet is that the behavior of blind people is not a product of the physical condition of blindness or the amount of residual vision a blind person has. Rather, the behavior of blind people in our society is governed by socialization. Blindness is a social problem arising from erroneous, socially constructed negative beliefs about the capacities of blind people involuntarily assimilated from the broader society by the blind. People learn to live independently or they learn to be dependent. The reactions of parents, teachers, peers, the health professionals, rehabilitation counselors and the general public have defined the choices available to blind people. This is the case in every culture and society around the world. Differences result from different cultural values, levels of economic development, and historical traditions.

Click here to order Education and Rehabilitation for Empowerment

The Blindness Revolution: Jernigan in His Own Words

Omvig, James H. The Blindness Revolution: Jernigan in His Own Words. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc, 2005.

This book recounts the dramatic story of the transformation of the Iowa Commission for the Blind from a verifiably ineffective service agency to perhaps the most outstanding and effective adult service program in the nation in the span of 10 short years. What happened in Iowa was revolutionary, and the character of work with the blind in America and around the world was altered forever-the alternative civil rights-based service model worked. Using Kenneth Jernigan's own writings of Board meeting minutes, reports, and letters, I present the details of the remarkable story from an activist's point of view.

Click here to order The Blindness Revolution: Jernigan in His Own Words

We Know Who We Are: A History of the Blind in Challenging Educational and Socially Constructed Policies

Ferguson, Ronald. We Know Who We Are: A History of the Blind in Challenging Educational and Socially Constructed Policies. A study in policy archaeology. San Francisco: Caddo Gap Press, 2001.

A goal in writing this book has been to write a history, from the perspective of the organized blind, of their struggle against discrimination as the result of educational and social policies created by professional sin the blindness field. Although there are a number of histories dealing with the education of the blind, these were primarily written by people who worked within the blindness system and/or were sympathetic to its interests. This book was an attempt to provide a different perspective in order to show the conflicts the organized blind encountered with the professional culture of the blindness system and their efforts to create educational policies for the blind instead of in conjunction with the blind (pp 196-197).

Freedom for the Blind: The Secret is Empowerment

Omvig, James H. Freedom for the Blind: The Secret is Empowerment. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2002.

The author, James Omvig, brings together the best of rehabilitation practice with the wisdom and experience of countless blind people who, through their own lives, faced and overcame the social and economic barriers arising from myths and misunderstanding about blindness. His book speaks eloquently to the point that, the renaissance in rehabilitation of the blind is not the product of our technology nor of our science, but rather emerged out of the collective will of tens of thousands of blind people to live full, normal, productive lives. ~ Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder, Former Commissioner - Rehabilitation Services Administration - U.S. Department of Education, 2002, p.11

Download Freedom for the Blind in a .pdf format 
Download Freedom for the Blind in a .doc format

Title:Accessibility Using the Internet: E-Approaches to Destination Management - The Case of Sydney For All Visitor Accessibility in the Sydney CBD
Author:Darcy, Simon
Abstract:Understanding the broader issues of visitor accessibility is paramount to positive destination experiences and building capacity in the tourism industry. While economic, social and environmental sustainability have become mantras to understanding the triple bottom line of tourism, rarely has government policy or the tourism industry considered ageing and disability within the social construction of tourism environments. For these groups, collectively known as the accessible tourism market, the challenges associated with tourism access are compounded by the cultural context, fragmented approaches to wayfinding and a lack of collaboration by tourism attractions to promote accessible destination experiences. The paper demonstrates the e-tourism outcome of the research project that sought to collaboratively market accessible destination experiences within the Sydney CBD. Sydney for All ( is a Web portal brand developed by the industry partners of Tourism NSW, the Tourism and Transport Forum, NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change. The research project was developed through participatory action research with the major stakeholders, tourism attractions and the destination experiences within the Sydney CBD. The Web portal complies with the highest web accessibility standards - W3C - as evidenced through the rigorous compliance testing by Vision Australia. The paper will outline the research approach, underlying philosophy, major accessibility features of the portal and the built-in consumer-based evaluation research module findings. As will be demonstrated, the portal is a starting point to understanding accessible tourism through focusing on universal design, destination experience and management frameworks rather than using constraints based approaches that dominate mainstream access auditing.

Priority policy area with potential for moving the development agenda forward

During the 63rd and 64th sessions of the General Assembly, the Assembly reiterated the commitment of the international community to mainstream disability in the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for all- including persons with disabilities. It reaffirmed the need to "include and integrate the rights, well-being and perspective of persons with disabilities in development efforts at the national, regional and international levels, without which the internationally agreed development goals, in particular the, will not be achieved". The Assembly also stressed the need to build or strengthen the effectiveness of national and regional legislation, the domestic policy environment and development programmes, affecting persons with disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has provided an impetus and unique platform for advancement of the international disability rights agenda in development and to engage the wider global development community. Work within this community is framed by the MDGs and other international development goals adopted by the United Nations. This broad coalition of governments and civil society organizations are promoting the mainstreaming of disability in all MDG processes in time for the 2010 periodic review as well as strategies for the 2015 timeline. 

The existing data gaps on disability within the context of the MDG evaluation and monitoring continues to be a major challenge for disability-inclusive MDGs. Available data, however, could be used to support the inclusion of disability in the existing MDG evaluation and monitoring processes, while on-going MDG evaluation and monitoring efforts should add a disability component as part of their overall data collection endeavors. 

2. Explanation of the importance of working on disability-inclusive MDGs

Disability-inclusive development is the key value of which was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982 with the goals of "full participation" of persons with disabilities in social life and development, and "equality" and was reinforced by adoption of the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with disabilities in 1993 and more recently the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. In its adoption of the most recent resolutions on realization of the MDGs for persons with disabilities, the General Assembly repeatedly expressed the view that equality of opportunities for persons with disabilities in society and development must be considered as essential for achieving the MDGs.

One consequence of the pace of global development in the twentieth century is the emergence of concern with population ageing in the twenty-first century. Current projections of world population suggest a rapid and unprecedented increase in older persons in the twenty-first century: persons aged 60 and above are projected to increase from 675 million in 2005 to 1.9 billion in 2050. Available data indicate a close association between population ageing and increased incidence of impairment - but not necessarily disability - in populations. Population ageing introduces the need for society to address environmental accessibility in terms of designs that provide reasonable adaptation in meeting the needs and capacities of all users so that neither the physical nor the information and telecommunications environments present barriers to the full and effective participation of the many in the development of the societies in which they live. 

The MDGs bring together United Nations agencies, Governments and civil society around eight key development issues fostering collaborative action to reduce poverty, improve health, address educational and environmental concerns, and achieve gender equality reflecting concerns the world's most pressing development problems. The MDGs are specifically designed to address the needs of the world's poorest citizens and most marginalized populations to achieve the goals of the United Nations and its commitment to promote "human rights and development for all."
While it is estimated that persons with disabilities make up more than ten per cent of the world's population, in developing countries persons with disabilities represent an estimated twenty per cent of those living in poverty. Even though the commitment of the United Nations to the rights of persons with disability and their inclusion in all MDG activities are implied in the MDGs, there is no reference either to persons with disabilities in the accompanying body of guidelines and policies, programmes and conferences that are part of the on-going MDG efforts, nor the targets and indicators that operationalize the MDGs. In addition, the MDGs review process underway within the United Nations and related work in development does not include disability. 

3. Initiative or formulation to be included in the draft outcome document

Calls on Member States, UN system and relevant stakeholders to take concrete measures for the inclusion of disability in the MDG evaluation and monitoring processes.

- including in the context of Country Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals, as well as in the Handbook on Indicators for Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals--Definitions, Rationale, Concepts and sources, as well as working within regional processes to include disability in the existing MDG monitoring and evaluation.

-promoting environmental accessibility with reasonable adaptation, in both the physical environment as well as in the fields of information and communication technologies;
- providing (disability-inclusive) accessible social services and social protection floor for all; and
encouraging and developing participatory, democratic and accountable institutions promote accessible and inclusive society for all.

4. Additional Information

The General Assembly resolutions on MDGs and disability during the 62rd, 63rd and 
64th sessions have been sponsored and co-sponsored by 80- 100 countries (109 countries for A/RES/63/150). 

The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities and their participation in all stages of the MDGs processes.

The current MDGs framework, tools and mechanisms provide several opportunities to mainstream disability in the MDGs.

The existing data gaps on disability within the context of the MDG evaluation and monitoring continues to be a major challenge. Available data, however, could be used to support the inclusion of disability in current MDG evaluation and monitoring processes, while on-going and new MDG evaluation and monitoring efforts should add a disability component as part of their overall data collection endeavours.

Specific measures should be taken for mainstreaming disability at global, regional and national levels for short-term, medium-term and long-term results. 

With a view to the 2010 periodic review, priority should be given at this time to targeting actions at the global level in the context of monitoring.

Collaborations should be initiated within the United Nations system and with relevant stakeholders to foster strategic thinking and planning on the MDGs and disability. In this regard, establishing an informal resource group could ensure that a platform for on-going dialogue and feed back is possible.


Some specific options where disability may be mainstreamed include: (a) reports, tools and guidelines; (b) specific MDGs and MDG indicators and (c) mechanisms and processes. 

Reports, tools and guidelines

At the global level, two main areas of strategic action for short-term results include the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the organization and the Millennium Development Goals report.

Tools and guidelines that would be effective entry points to mainstream disability in monitoring of MDG policies, processes and mechanisms at the national level would be the handbook on Indicators for Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals--Definitions, Rationale, Concepts and sources and at the national level, the guidance note on the Country Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals .

MGDs and MDG indicators

All MDGs are relevant to and affect the lives of persons with disabilities.

Focusing on the inclusion of disability in current indicators would be more effective in the short-term to promote the inclusion of disability data than proposing new indicators.

Where data is not available, options of where and how disability could be addressed should be provided. The absence of data may also be an indication, among other things, of the lack of attention that disability may receive in the context of a particular issue. 

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) should propose options to Inter-Agency Expert Group on MDG indicators to mainstream disability in its work.

UNSD should engage with national statistical offices to increase awareness and build capacities to collect disaggregated data on disability.

Changes that are not expected to involve a significant increase in resource commitments - that will ensure that strategic actions are accessible, inclusive and contribute to sustainable and equitable development and poverty reduction for all: 

-promoting environmental accessibility with reasonable adaptation, in both the physical environment and in the fields of information and communication technologies;
- providing appropriate - and accessible - social services and safety nets that ensure a "civil minimum" of well-being for all; and
-encouraging and developing participatory, democratic and accountable institutions that promote individual freedom and enterprise for all.

Maria Veronica Reina
Executive Director
Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) 
Secretariat: Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University

Boxed Out: Visually Impaired Audiences, Audio Description and the Cultural Value of the Television Image

Elizabeth Jane Evans and Roberta Pearson,
University of Nottingham, UK



Television is vital to the interpersonal relationships of visually impaired audiences, despite their being unable to see the images clearly. However, their ability to fully engage with television's social role hinges on their ability to gather meaning from the text, something that becomes increasingly difficult when only the aural signifiers of television are accessible. This article explores the role of audio description services, which provide an additional soundtrack detailing visual information, and the way in which they facilitate interpretation and subsequently discussion of television texts for the visually impaired. In doing so it will interrogate arguments that present a singular model of television aesthetics. Instead it will present the need for a more nuanced approach, one that understands the specificity of individual genres or programmes and the fact that the relationship between sound and image may not be the same for all television content. Key words: Television, audiences, image, sound, disability, audio description.


The Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards will achieve more consistent, systemic and widespread improvements in non-discriminatory access for people with disability to publicly accessible buildings.

The Premises Standards will further the Commonwealth Government's social inclusion agenda by progressively ensuring that people with disability and the ageing population have better access to a wide range of public buildings. Improved building access will afford older people and people with mobility, vision and hearing impairments greater opportunities to access employment and services and to connect with family, friends and the community.

The Premises Standards will also make a significant contribution to the Australian Government's ten-year National Disability Strategy, which is being developed with States and Territories through the Council of Australian Governments. The vision for the National Disability Strategy is of an inclusive Australian society that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens.

The Premises Standards are the product of extensive consultation with stakeholders, culminating in the release of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs report, 'Access All Areas', in June 2009.

The Government tabled their response to the report on 15 March 2010 which accepted, accepted in part, or accepted in principle eighteen recommendations made by the committee.

The Premises Standards will commence operation on 1 May 2011, in line with the adoption of the Building Code of Australia in each State and Territory. This will allow States and Territories time to adopt the Premises Standards within their building law frameworks.


URL for Standards: