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Kurt Fearnly - 2

Object Lesson: Interdependence is the core value of disability culture. Witness Kurt Fearnly:


The special Inclusive Tourism issue of India's Success and Ability magazine features the article "What is Inclusive Tourism" by Scott Rains.

Read about the achievements and potential for Inclusive Tourism in India - and dream about making a trip there.

The full issue is available for download as .pdf here:

Success & Ability.pdf

Center Stage.jpg

PhoCus Wright is using the metaphor of the Perfect Storm to describe how changes in technology are changing the travel industry. The growth of ad and referral-based revenue is challenging the dominance of traditional bookings-driven business models.

This Perfect Storm affords abundant opportunity, provided that companies do three things:

1. Exploit fantastic advancements in technology and momentum
2. Avoid skills-focused decision making and business model preservation
3. Rededicate their business to solving big problems for customers

Excellent leadership in our industry is defined by those who actually fuel the storm, and in turn their own cause, by aligning their business with the contributing forces. In this Perfect Storm, a series of technologies and trends have created unprecedented opportunities—which sometimes challenge long-held assumptions and business models.

Center Stage at this year’s PhoCusWright Conference will put the travel industry’s Perfect Storm on the radar, shining a Hollywood-sized spotlight on three dynamic forces—search, shop, buy— that are uniquely combining to impact our industry in unprecedented ways. From PPC and PPA fronts and the rising winds of metasearch to the ground-level impact being felt by travel players throughout the industry-wide warning area, attendees will come away with insight into how their business can weather—or fuel—The Perfect Storm.


These are three articles resulting from our four-city Inclusive Tourism tour of India:

It's a Long Walk

Visability for Disability

Complete Access

Positive development continue from the ASTA India sponsored workshop series on Inclusive Tourism.

While Tourism Secretary Banerjee brings government to bear, and the Adventure Tour Operators' Association of India teams up with international experts on Inclusive Tourism at the Adventure Travel Summit and Fair in Brazil, numerous Disabled People's Organizations, tour operators, travel agencies, and Ashoka Fellows fill in with entrepreneurial vigor to open everything from convention centers, to luxury, family, and extreme travel to the disability community. Progress will not be miraculous or overnight but, if this wave of interest institutionalizes, it can be substantial.

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

Saroma Holidays

Satish Nair is justifiably proud of the new houseboat design of his company Saroma Holidays sailing the backwaters of Kerala, India. Watch for this market to open up on a global scale with help from many regulars at the Rolling Rains Report.

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

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With a few minor injuries added to my body during transport in India ( laceration to my toe and a pressure sore ), damage to the wheelchair, and a few good frights all around I am a strong endorser of the movement to educate the industry on basic safety and evacuation protocols for customers with disabilities.

Here Bruce Bromley takes the lead in Australia with National Evacuation Chairs

Akhil Srivastava and


One of the enjoyable parts of returning home after an extended trip like the past three weeks in India s really getting to know all the extraordinary people I was able to interact with only briefly. Here is a link to the work of one such person, Akhil Srivastava and the group Antardrishti.

Meet Prasad Phanasgaonkar

Listen to Prasad Phanasgaonkar at the Mumbai Workkshop on Inclusive Tourism on August 30, 2008.

Driving Like India in the USA

Touchdown in the USA. A swift passage through Customs. On my own - and loving it.

With all my commentary about the driving style in India you would expect that reaching US soil I would be the model of good road behavior.

No so!

I made myself laugh as I realized that as soon as I was free to push my own wheelchair, without the attendant crowds of "helpers" who have swarmed me over the past three weeks, I sped through the crowd at JFK darting, dodging, and feinting like a New Delhi taxi driver. I must have looked like the teenagers from the 'hoods here in California who use the freeway traffic around them (all traveling at 70 + MPH) as "stationary" pylons while they play race car driver.

A couple generations ago my peers came back from India transformed by encounters with gurus and rhapsodizing on higher states of consciousness. I only seem to have turned into a second-rate livery jockey!

Aventura Especial (Video in Portuguese)

Today I meet with the president of he Indian adventure tourism association who has just returned to Delhi. One of the topics on the agenda is what is being done in other countries. Dada Morerira's Aventura Especial will be one example I will discuss. India will ned to emulate Brazil as it took national action to incorporate modules on working with people with disabilities in adventure tourism professional certification curriculum.

Free2Wheel Delhi - A New Look!

Free2Wheel Logo.jpg

Today I am the guest of Shivani Gupta of AccessAbility in New Delhi. Last night she, Vikas Sharma, and I stayed up to the wee hours scheduling my next few days and discussing projects. Today we do some site reviews for a court-ordered study, meet with the Tourism Ministry, and then disability rights activist Mr. Javed Abidi.

AccessAbility is lean, nimble, and producing valuable work.In just a week they have done a nice redesign of their city directory. Take a look:

Flight Across India

Captain John Abraham Regional Manager of WHL - Kerala reminded me as we debriefed last night that the circuit that I just completed in 4 nights is generally a 12 to 15 day itinerary. No wonder I feel like I ran a marathon. I did!

Today I fly from Cochin to New Delhi via Chennai. In Delhi I hope to have a chance to process all these compressed experiences (and pass along the photos & measurements from the several sites assessments I did per day)

Back on Dry Land - Cochin, South India


The backwaters of Kerala are endlessly fascinating.

This region where the agricultural land is below sea level as in the Netherlands and where gondola-like canoes are the transportation method of choice. Then there are their big cousins!

I just spent the night on the water in a kettuvalum. "Kettu" means "tied" in Malayalam. The hulls are made of boards fitted, tied, and sealed into a seaworthy vessel. Typically domed with a palm-frond living compartment these lumbering boats look like cartoon caterpillars crawling slowly up and down the main channels of the canals.

But after 6 PM you won't find them on the main waterways. The next 12 hours are given over to the fishermen who work he deeper waters while kettuvalums hug the shore. You are just as likely to find yourself anchored in front of a rice paddy or a small village once night time comes. I learned this morning that the traditional question the children as visitors on he boats is "May I have one pen please?"

Kerala has 98% literacy rate. If I had known before I came that ballpoint pens were the coin of the pre-teen realm here I would have stuffed my bags with them. Who can resist a cute kid shyly begging for a pen (and then running off to show her friends her new prize!)

Rima here had her choice between a white and a blue one. She chose the blue one.


I’m taking bets that my abs look more like those washboard midsections of tv gym equipment hucksters than they did when we started climbing to the hill stations of Kerala four hours ago.

There is a rhythm to driving in India. The driving rhythm has a danceable beat. At least that’s my working hypothesis since I have isolated no other pattern of rule-based behavior in what I have observed by sitting in the front passenger seat.