EC call for “Tourism Accessibility for All” submissions

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Logo EU Enterprise and Industry Twitter logo

The European Commission Enterprise and Industry call for submissions in “Tourism Accessibility for All” will close on the 21st October 2014.  The call implements the Commission’s 2010 Communication on tourism, with particular reference to the diversification of European cultural/industrial tourism and accessible tourism.  It is also part of the third and last year of two Preparatory Actions proposed by the European Parliament and approved by the EU budgetary authority, respectively on “Transnational Tourism Products” and “Tourism Accessibility for All”.

The Fostering accessible tourism entrepreneurship and management  theme concerns supporting the development and provision of Accessible Tourism “Capacity Building Schemes” for tourism managers and entrepreneurs. Its ultimate purpose is to encourage the uptake of business practices and strategic planning which mainstream accessibility and “Universal Design” priorities in the tourism sector. Universal Design (often called inclusive design) is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centred design of everything with everyone in mind, including older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities.

Follow on twitter: @EU_enterprise


Economic Impact and Travel patterns of Accessible Tourism in Europe

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S Westminister 052 

The final summary report of one of three studies commissioned in Accessible Tourism in Europe has been released.  The report is by the European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) in 2012-2013 and aims to build a comprehensive picture of Accessible Tourism in the European Union (EU). The survey was conducted by GfK Belgium, the University of Surrey, NeumannConsult and ProAsolutions. The main aim of the study is to better understand demand for Accessible Tourism in order to guide policy-making in this field. For this purpose, five main research objectives were identified:

  1.  To examine the current and future demand for Accessible Tourism in Europe and beyond
  2.  To investigate the travel patterns and behaviours of, and information provision for people with access needs
  3. To evaluate the tourist experience across different tourism sectors from demand and supply-side perspectives
  4.  To estimate the current and future economic contribution of Accessible Tourism and its impact on employment
  5. To propose recommendations and success factors to improve the supply of Accessible Tourism offers.

The study results show that the accessible tourism demand by people with special access needs from the EU currently generates a total economic contribution of 786 billion Euros in terms of total output and 356 billion Euros in terms of gross value added or 394 billion Euros in terms of GDP within the EU. This scale is equivalent to about 3% of total GDP of EU27 in 2012.   In addition, the people with special access needs from the 11 key international inbound markets generated a total economic contribution of 34 billion Euros in terms of total output and 15 billion Euros in terms of gross value added or 17 billion Euros in terms of GDP to the EU.

The objectives of the study were translated into five key tasks whose key findings are presented.  Key predictions include that by 2020 the demand for EU accessible tourism by people within the EU will continue to grow to about 862 million trips/year, while demand  by the key international inbound market will reach 21 million trips/year.  If EU tourism destinations were improved so that almost complete accessibility of buildings, hotels, restaurants, museums, and various accessible services were available, the study showed that demand would increase almost 44% against the baseline, so that trips by EU residents would by 2020 rise to 1, 231 million trips/year.  The rise amongst people from key international markets would rise by almost 77%.  This could potentially result in 36 million trips/year by 2020.  In economic terms, this rise could translate into a rise of 39% in economic contribution. 

 Source: Miller, G (2014).  Economic Impact and Travel patterns of Accessible Tourism in Europe   Service Contract SI2.ACPROCE052481700 European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry.

 Follow on Twitter: @UKguchan

New Universal Design Guide for Inclusive Tourism

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Front cover of Universal Design Guide for Inclusive Tourism showing a range of people needing better access

A new guide to designing for Inclusive Tourism has been produced by Scott Rains and Sarah Pruett. The “Universal design guide for inclusive tourism” opens with a description of Inclusive Tourism (with a discussion why the authors reject the term “Accessible Tourism”), and Universal Design (UD), and discusses why  UD in Inclusive Tourism  makes social and economic sense.  UD is a way of thinking about design to eliminate barriers and make things easier to use for the entire population.  The guide goes on to discuss basic considerations in access, then considers in more detail access to transportation and parking, pathways and roads, ramps and steps, entrances and doors, interior access (including multi-story access), access in restrooms, guest rooms, and bathrooms, access in food service and retail, and accessible lighting .  It also discusses access in leisure venues and locations, and access to beach and sea, and concludes with a section on education and training and communication to the public.

Follow on Twitter: @UDPartners @SRains

How Universal Design is good for everybody

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Silhouettes of all who will benefit from UD from the Universal Design website

An article on points out that by designing for human diversity we can create things that will be easier for the widest range of people to use. Such design is Universal Design (UD).  UD evolved from Accessible Design, a design process that addresses the needs of people with disabilities. UD goes further by recognizing that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. Thus everyone will benefit from UD, which takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, and different body sizes and shapes. By designing for this diversity, we can create things that are more functional and more user-friendly for everyone. For instance, curb cuts at sidewalks were initially designed for people who use wheelchairs, but they are now also used by pedestrians with strollers or rolling luggage. Curb cuts have added functionality to sidewalks that we can all benefit from.  Everything can be Universally Designed.  This includes from the small to the large, from door handles, kitchen utensils and smartphones, to architecture and the built environment (including private, public, and commercial), and the community at large through urban planning and public transport.

Source: Universal Design.   Follow on Twitter: @UDconnects

US Access Board sponsors study of accessible natural trail surface materials

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laying down a surface during the tests Photo from the NCA website

The U.S. Access Board is a federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology. A recent study sponsored by the Board on the accessibility of trail surface materials has been completed by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) at Indiana University. The project assessed the firmness and stability of 11 different types of natural aggregate and treated soil surfaces over a four-year period to determine their effectiveness after exposure to the elements, freeze and thaw cycles, and other factors. Most trail segments tested were treated with a stabilizer.

There are an estimated 56.7 million people with disabilities in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Approximately one in five individuals have some type of functional limitation that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Growing public awareness of the barriers to persons with disabilities has led to several pieces of federal legislation that have an effect on the design of recreation facilities. In order for people with disabilities to benefit on the same level as people without disabilities, leisure and recreation services must be inclusive and accessible. Recreation opportunities give people with and without disabilities the opportunity to increase their quality of life and to benefit from and contribute to their own health and wellness (NCA). The report follows many years of interest by the NCA at Indiana University on how to make natural surface trails that would blend in and be friendly to the environment AND that would be firm and stable so people with disabilities could have a quality trail experience.

Source: US Access Board, NCA.  Follow on Twitter: @IUSPH

Scott Rains: People with disabilities are THE market, not a niche

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Scott Rains with a lion from Vimeo website

International travel and inclusion design consultant and author of the Rolling Rains Report, Scott Rains discusses accessible (or inclusive) tourism in New Mobility magazine.  Rains says that it is time for people with disabilities (PwDs) to “stop insisting we’re a market niche”.  This is because PwDs “cross-cut all niches and all demographics.”   Rains goes on to say that PwDs cover all economic brackets and travel for the same reasons as everyone else.  “We date, we marry, we have families” says Rains.  The article goes on to describe results from a survey carried out by New Mobility.  The survey found that about 44% of PwDs travel for family vacations, 32% for couple getaways, and 19% for work-related trips.  That’s a “lot of family members, lovers, and co-workers all benefiting from access technically needed by only one person”, says the article.  The survey also found that about 34% of PwDs aim to book rooms in the US$50-$100 range, 45% in the $100-$150 range, and 11% in the $150-$200 range.

Follow on Twitter: @srains @NewMobilityMag

Design For All Foundation Awards

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Design for All Foundation Good Paractice logo from their website

The 5th International Design for All Foundation Awards will be given on 12th February at the of Urbaccess: the European accessibility and universal design exhibition in Paris. The Awards recognise achievements in the field of design for all, great and small, by governments, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and professionals from all over the world. Design for All is the intervention on environments, products and services with the aim that everyone, including future generations, regardless of age, gender, capabilities or cultural background, can enjoy participating in the construction of our society, with equal opportunities participating in economic, social, cultural, recreational and entertainment activities while also being able to access, use and understand whatever part of the environment with as much independence as possible. The Awards aim to demonstrate that the implementation of design for all/universal design in any form contributes towards improving quality of life for everyone. The awards aim to fulfil the following objectives:

  • To recognise initiatives and projects which seek to respect human diversity      through the use of Design for All.
  • To promote Design for All as a tool to improve quality of life for everyone.
  • To highlight the importance of Design for All and its contribution to      innovation within all kinds of organisations.
  • To draw attention to those among the Good Practices selected by the      Foundation which exemplify most clearly the potential which design for      all/universal design offers for change.
  • To demonstrate the various social and economic benefits that Design for All     brings to organisations and professionals in different sectors.

Entries for the upcoming awards were accepted in the following categories:

  • Project proposals, initiatives, methodologies and studies carried out by Living Labs or other organisations.
  • Products and services already in use.

Each of these categories included, but was not limited to, the following areas of activity:

  • Products (household goods, industrial products, tools, textiles, consumables, foods, etc.).
  • Graphics (graphic design, signage, etc.).
  • Information and communication technology.
  • Urban and natural spaces.
  • Buildings (architecture, interior design, etc.).
  • Transport and mobility.
  • Services (tourism, culture, leisure, banking, health, etc.).
  • Initiatives and case studies demonstrating user-centred design in Living Labs which must be related to street furniture, the health sector, multimedia and/or digital services, as this category is linked to the IDeALL project which focuses on these areas.  This is currently being developed by the Integrating Design for All in Living Labs (IDeALL) project, which is co-financed by European Commission Enterprise & Industry Directorate General. While the website is under construction, information can be found at the interactive project website or the project blog

Source: Design For All Foundation website.  Follow on Twitter: @DesignforAllFd @SalonURBaccess


Philippine government to hold Accessible Tourism forum

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Philippines beach

The Philippine Government (Department of Tourism and National Council on Disability Affairs) will hold an Accessible Tourism Forum at Barangay Tawala (Pangalao Island) on November 26.  This continuers the government’s thrust of promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the tourism industry and other tourism-related programs of the government.   The forum will be conducted in line with Philippine statutes, such as Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 (Accessibility Law), Republic Act No. 7277, the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Relevant to this, the forum will also identify major issues related to accessible tourism and recommend policy measures that would create an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities.  The construction of tourism related establishments, technical aspects, web accessibility, and universal design concepts will be discussed to highlight the importance of having an accessible and barrier-free tourism that will benefit both local and international tourists with disabilities, as well as others needing better access such as seniors and pregnant women. Participants invited  to the forum include representatives from the tourism industry sector, leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities, and other entrepreneurs engaged in tourism business. (NCDA)

Follow on Twitter: @TourismPHL @PIANewsdesk

Carleton U to hold International Summit on Accessibilty July 2014

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Exterior of the Ottawa Convention Centre

Carleton University with support from the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa is holding an International Summit on Accessibility in July 2014 in Ottawa.  The summit will promote access and inclusion for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. The major theme is “Making it Happen – Intention to Action” and there are three primary streams: Innovation, Technology and Accessible Communities. Each stream will address issues of accessibility in recreation and the physical environment, as well as education, communication, employment, and mobility health. There will be a special emphasis on employment.  Some of the keynote speakers have been announced, the call for presentations has been made, registration and accommodation information, and the Sponsorship and Exhibits Prospectus is now available.

Barcelona – Highly accessible city for visitors with disabilities

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Mik Scarlet outside Gaudi's La Pedrera photo from Huffington Post article

Broadcaster and journalist Mik Scarlet (above, outside Gaudi’s La Pedrera) has just returned from a trip to Barcelona, and written a piece for Huffington Post about access for visitors in the city.  Scarlet and his wife – who have paid many visits to the city over the last ten years – have seen many changes there.  Already disabled friendly ten years ago, the city has not stopped improving in this regard.  The city’s sea front, transport system, the sea front, and much of the old city have been improved for access.  “In a city filled with world famous and important historic buildings, some from as far back as medieval Moorish Spain through to Gaudi’s ground breaking architecture, it seems their drive is for everyone to be able to used these buildings no matter what changes need to be made” writes Scarlet.   He points out that building an accessible environment has early roots in Barcelona.  For example, Gaudi’s La Pedrera is very accessible, with the original lift having plenty of room for wheelies, and a seat for the unsteady.  In the apartments, doors are wide, rooms are spacious (including the bathrooms), and there are marble kick-plates covering the lower half of the walls.

Scarlet’s visit to Barcelona has spurred him on in trying to improve access in London (his home town).  Apart from his journo activities, he runs an access and inclusion advisory service, and advises his clients to aim “to create good design that has access built into it and not bolted on as an extra”.  He has been involved as an advisor in this capacity for over 10 years, and started by working with the team developing the Ocean Venue in Hackney, which was one the UK’s first fully accessible venues.  He then went on to advise venues throughout London, such as The Ministry of Sound, and worked with the owners of the Koko nightclub in Camden on ways to make the listed venue accessible to disabled people. This has led to the venue winning awards for its accessibility.  He is currently working with others to improve disabled access throughout the famous Stables Market in Camden, London, and to ensuring the new Camden Lock Village development on the Hawley Wharf site is fully inclusive in its design and build. He is about to roll out a package of disability awareness measures for all market staff and stall holders.

Photo (above) from Huffington Post

New Irish standard on Universal Design for customer engagement in tourism services

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Overview of the toolkit

The Irish standard (I.S.) 373:2013 entitled, ‘Universal Design for customer engagement in tourism services: Business case and overview” is available as a toolkit on the National Standards Authority of Ireland website.  The toolkit was developed by Dolmen ( on behalf of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority, Ireland (NDI). It was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders involved in the tourism industry. It is part of a series that includes toolkits about written communication, face-to-face and video communication, and electronic and web-based communication (see the Tools and Strategies page for links under Centre for Excellence in Universal Design). The Irish Standard, which is voluntary, provides an industry best-practice reference on design requirements for the application of Universal Design by Tourism Service Providers. It outlines Universal Design requirements that facilitate positive customer engagement through the provision of products and services for communications that can be easily accessed, understood and used by tourism customers.  This Irish Standard is intended to enable tourism providers to communicate more effectively with a wider range of tourists and has the potential to grow the tourist market for Irish tourism. Universal Design for customer engagement extends beyond a focus on disability and special needs to include all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

Free toolkits for tourism businesses: how to improve access and your bottom line

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Traveller at reception desk

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design Ireland (CEUD) was established by the National Disability Authority (NDA) in January 2007 under the Disability Act 2005.  It has produced three, free guides for tourism businesses so that they may achieve better customer communication at no extra cost.  Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.  The guides are:

1. Written communication.   This toolkit helps businesses assess their written communications to ensure that they are easy to read and understandable, they are engaging, and deliver better customer experience.   By providing better customer experience for older customers, businesses could target a market that spends 40% more on holidays annually than the under 30s age group.”

2.  Face-to-face, telephone & video communication.    This toolkit helps businesses ensure they are communicating in a way that is easy to understand, to better engage with their customers, to deliver a better customer experience, and to develop new customer communications.  Good customer experience makes good business sense.  “Two-thirds of customers are willing to spend an average of 13% more with a company they believe provides good customer service”, and this toolkit provides practical guidance that can be applied to a business at no extra cost.  It is particularly valuable for front-line staff.

3.  Electronic and web based communication.    This toolkit ensures that a businesses’ electronic communication is easy to read, accessible, and understandable.  Having an accessible website makes good business sense because they are “more visible to search engines, 50% faster to navigate, and they can also offer savings through reduced maintenance costs”.

Sommet Mondial Destinations pour Tous, Montréal 2014

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Logo for conference on destinations for all

Le Sommet Mondial Destinations pour Tous 2014 ayant pour thème « Tourisme,  Culture et Transports : une stratégie commune à l’international » se tiendra du 19 au 22 octobre 2014. En fait, les principales associations sectorielles internationals actives dans les domaines du tourisme, de la culture et des transports seront invitees à dévoiler les engagements qu’elles prendront pour améliorer sensiblement les conditions de voyages et de tourisme pour les personnes handicapées. Le Sommet Mondial devrait également engager tous les partenaires à se joindre à un effort pour faire des tests d’accessibilité et avoir des normes uniformes dans les établissements et des lieux touristiques, les attractions et les services de transport.   Plus d’infos :

New Zealand: Inaugural Universal Design Conference, Auckland, May 24

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Banner from the UD Conference website showing woman with pushchair.Photo Credit: Auckland Council/Jay Farnworth

New Zealand’s Inaugural Universal Design Conference will take place in Auckland on 24 May.  The conference is supported by Auckland Council, Lifemark, and the Ministry of Social Development.  Universal Design (UD) is a design concept that aims to create environments, products, learning programmes and systems that can be used by as many people as possible. “Universal Design makes things more accessible, safer, and convenient for everyone….[It] is a philosophy that can be applied to policy, design and other practices to make products, environments and systems function better for a wider range of people. It developed in response to the diversity of human populations, their abilities and their needs” (IDeA Center, University at Buffalo, State University of New York). In the tourism, travel, and hospitality  environment, using UD concepts leads to activities and attractions, restaurants, and cafes, and all forms of transport that are usable by all people, able bodied and those with a disability, seniors who are not as agile as they once were, travellers with heavy bags, parents with pushchairs and so on. 

There are several good reasons to think about Universal Design in New Zealand.  Firstly there is much talk in central and local government circles about inclusiveness and liveable communities but a lack of understanding of what this really means.  Secondly, the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged Christchurch is a great opportunity to build a city for all people.  Thirdly, New Zealand has a high rate of accident and injury.  A growing population means that medium and high density housing is the way of the future.  Finally, as with most countries, New Zealand’s population is ageing.  In addition, tourism is a major industry in New Zealand, and already about 43% of our international visitors are 45 years old or older.  Using universal design in developing our tourism industry is a must if we are to retain and grow this visitor sector.

The aims of the conference are to raise awareness of universal design and how it can benefit society and businesses, and to inspire individuals and organisations within the built environment industries to take the initiative and lead New Zealand towards creating places that are enjoyable and safe.  The conference is aimed at people involved in the built environment industries (design, development and construction), business, planning, infrastructure, economic development, human resources, environmental design, residential facilities, community service, policy, strategy and anyone interested in creating liveable and inclusive communities.

Discussion topics will include UD theory, demographics and the ageing community,  human rights, social and economic benefits, future proofing, local government policies, strategies and plans, housing, and commercial development, building codes.

Global improvements in accessible travel

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Skier with a disability Photo Larry Pierce

Skier with a disability. Photo by Larry Pierce

The BBC reports that last month, New York City launched a new dispatch system for wheelchair-accessible taxis, making it easier for visitors with disabilities and locals to get around the city. Prospective passengers can book the taxis online, use a free smart phone app called Wheels on Wheels, send a text message to 646-400-0789 or call a cab the old fashioned way – dialling either 646-599-9999 (direct line) or 311 (citywide information line). Though there was a regular dispatch system for all taxis before, there was nothing specifically for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.  Philadelphia is working on a similar project, hoping to have 300 wheelchair-accessible taxis by the end of 2012 and to make all city cabs accessible by 2016. Likewise, on Dublin, the public bus system Dublin Bus is planning for a fully-accessible fleet by the end of this year, with more than 90% of the buses already remodelled.

Other places around the world that have recently made (or are in the process of making) improvements with visitors with disabilities in mind include:

Smooth sailing in Turkey
Turkey is updating its sea ports, harbours and sea transportation vehicles to catch up with the country’s already handicap-accessible airports, train stations and trains. The goal of the “unhindered seas project” is to make improvements such as increasing the number of accessible toilets and the number of available resting areas for the elderly and anyone with physical handicaps.

Better buildings in Dublin and France
In Dublin, all new or newly renovated commercial or non-residential buildings are required to pass a disability access certification process, and all government buildings are expected to be fully accessible by 2015. France has the same goal, but unlike Dublin it is not on track with its timeline. Today only about 15% of government buildings are accessible, a delay that is being blamed on the country’s economic austerity.

Updates in a winter wonderland
Just in time for ski season, Colorado’s Monarch Mountain Ski Resort is remodelling its base lodge to include a wheelchair-accessible elevator. For something a little different right outside the resort, the outfitter Monarch Dog Sled Rides offers scenic winter sled rides through the San Isabel National Forest that can accommodate people with disabilities.

Source: Travel Tips by Suemedha Sood, BBC Travel.


Call for Participation: IV International Congress of Tourism For All

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Old building in Spain

The ONCE Foundation for cooperation and inclusion of people with disabilities invites participation in the IV International Congress of Tourism for All, in Ávila, Spain, 26-28 June 2013.  The World Tourism Organization (WTO), the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the European Institute of Design for All (EIDD) and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade are collaborating in this event.  The central focus of the congress is Cultural and Historical Heritage.


  • To raise awareness of the need to establish strong guidelines for Design for All  and Universal Accessibility.
  • To highlight examples of good practices in Tourism for All.
  • To show that Accessible Tourism is profitable
  • To unify criteria concerning accessibility in Tourism for All.
  • To enhance the role of culture as a source of tourist resources.
  • To consider conversion of cultural potential into tourism products tailored      to all needs.
  • To show the employment opportunities for people with disabilities within the  growing development of cultural tourism.
  • To raise awareness of the need to achieve full accessibility of culture in      order to progress and develop society, with greater visibility and an      active participation of people with disabilities
  • To achieve a greater participation of cultural actors in the tourism industry      for all.

One of the objectives of the ONCE Foundation is the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas. The access of persons with disabilities to the historical and cultural heritage gives them the option of experiencing the culture of a place.  In addition, the establishment of Design for All in new cultural tourism offerings raises awareness of the importance of Design for All and Universal Accessibility.

Expected Participants

  • Professionals in cultural management and tourism technicians
  • Schools of tourism and hotel management
  • Social orkers, who have to respond to the demands of access to culture and      leisure in an inclusive way
  • Professionals of Universal Accessibility and Design for All
  • Professionals of tourism and hotel management (hoteliers, restaurateurs, enologists, etc.), who have to consider that to use the criteria of Universal      Accessibility and Design for All is a business opportunity and those who      already use them have to show their experience to the rest
  • Professionals      in the elaboration of typical products of gastronomy (wine, oils, etc.) that use the criteria of Design for All and Universal Accessibility,      incorporating them to the specific needs of people with disabilities
  • Companies dedicated to the Services and Care for people with special needs
  • Sponsors
  • Organizations representing people with disabilities, elderly people and others
  • User organizations.

Participation is open to everyone as:

  • An attendee
  • A speaker
  • An exhibitor of leisure and culture items related to tourism
  • A  provider of workshops
  • Presenting good practices
  • Presenting works and projects of research, completed or not, to exchange experiences

The agenda of the Congress is open to all proposals that might be interesting to Tourism for All and the tourism sector in general, and in particular all those experiences, projects or proposals that have to do with cultural tourism for all, especially in the historical and cultural heritage arena.   The languages of the Congress will be Spanish and English.  The call for papers and other details of the Congress are available on the ENAT website, the source of this article.

Presentations made at first South East Asian Conference on Accessible Tourism now available

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Kuala Lumpur mayoral reception for conference members

The first South-East Asian Conference on Accessible Travel (SEACAT2012) was held in Kuala Lumpur 23-25 November, 2012.  More than 200 participants from China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Taiwan, Nepal, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand attended.  Sandra Rhodda, of Access Tourism New Zealand (ATNZ) gave an invited plenary presentation and a workshop.  The conference was organized by the Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled, the Malaysia Council of Rehabilitation, and 12 disability-related organizations in Malaysia.  The event was supported by the Malaysia Prime Minister Department with a grant of RM150,000, and Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development.  Guest speakers and others were welcomed after the conference by the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur at a reception at the Botanical Gardens.  The conference received excellent coverage in local Chinese and English language newspapers (for example, 1, 2, 3), and on radio.

An interim committee was formed for an Asia Pacific Network on Accessible Travel, made up of members from various countries and organizations (including ATNZ).

The presentations made at the conference are now available in PDF format here:

New group developed to promote an accessible Christchurch following quakes

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Lifemark logo

Recently, a series of earthquakes has devastated Christchurch, one of New Zealand’s major cities.  Rebuilding Christchurch has provided an unprecedented opportunity in New Zealand to construct a fully accessible city, a focus group of disabled leaders and key agencies focused on access of all forms has set out to advise key stakeholders Central City Development Unit, Christchurch City Council and CERA (Canterbury earthquake Recovery Authority) on how this could best be achieved.

Having defined three key strategy streams for accessibility – Public facilities and spaces, Businesses, and Private dwellings, the focus group ultimately aims to raise awareness about accessibility, develop a comprehensive access guide, and bring together the mandatory and voluntary guidelines of the Building Code 4121 to facilitate a fully accessible Christchurch City.  To Find out more check out the Facebook page.

Main source: LifeTimes LifeMark newsletter Twitter: @Lifemark


“Framing” and the Debate on Inclusion of PwDs in Tourism

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Sea view

Scott Rains, in an essay on the Rolling Rains Report, discusses “framing” in the context of accessible tourism.   Using Jim A. Kuypers definition of frames and framing (see below), Rains notes that those currently framing the adoption of Universal/Inclusive Design by the travel and hospitality industry include Candy Harrington at Emerging Horizons, Simon Darcy at Accessible Tourism Research, Sandra Rhodda at Access Tourism NZ, Dimitrius Buhalis at Bournemouth University, members of SATH, and ENAT.

Rains goes on to write:

The overview on frame analysis at Wikipedia lists four ways of aligning the desired frame with the consensus frame of a given group:

  • Frame bridging
  • Frame amplification
  • Frame extension
  • Frame transformation

Frame bridging is the “linkage of two or more ideologically congruent but structurally unconnected frames regarding a particular issue or problem” (Snow et al., 1986, “Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation.” American Sociological Review 51: 464-481). It involves the linkage  of a movement to “unmobilized [sic] sentiment pools or public opinion preference clusters” (p. 467) of people who share similar views or grievances but who lack an organizational base.

Frame amplification refers to “the clarification and invigoration of an interpretive  frame that bears on a particular issue, problem, or set of events” (Snow et al., 1986, p. 469). This interpretive frame usually involves the invigorating of values or beliefs.

Frame extensions are a movement’s effort to incorporate participants by extending the boundaries of the proposed frame to include or encompass the views, interests,  or sentiments of targeted groups.

Frame transformation is a process required when the proposed frames “may not resonate with, and on occasion may even appear antithetical to, conventional lifestyles or rituals and extant interpretive frames” (Snow et al., 1986, p. 473).

When this happens, new values, new meanings and understandings are required in order to secure participants and support. Goffman (1974, Frame Analysis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. 43-44) calls this “keying” where “activities, events, and biographies that are already meaningful from the standpoint of some primary framework transpose in terms of another framework” (Snow et al., 1986, p.  474) such that they are seen differently. There are two types of frame transformation:

Domain-specific transformations such as the attempt to alter the status of groups of people, and Global interpretive frame transformation where the scope of change is quite radical as in a change of world views, total conversions of thought, or uprooting of all that is familiar (e.g. moving from communism to market capitalism; religious conversion, etc.).

Rains gives a publication by Bill Forrester of Travability as an example of framing the debate.  This is “An Economic Model of Disability”.   He goes on to say that throughout the history of this campaign for social change we see an emphasis on domain-specific change for persons with disabilities such as begun by SATH evolving toward meta-constructs such approaching global interpretive frame transformation with Forrester’s writings suggesting an economic model of disability.

Kuypers definition of framing: Framing is a process whereby communicators, consciously or unconsciously, act to construct a point of view that encourages the facts of a given situation to be interpreted by others in a particular manner. Frames  operate in four key ways: they define problems, diagnose causes, make moral  judgments, and suggest remedies. Frames are often found within a narrative account of an issue or event, and are generally the central organizing idea.” (Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age , Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006).

International Global Disability Rights Library increases content

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The Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) – on which Access Tourism New Zealand has a link – now provides more content than ever. There are now nine information portals which provide materials on topics relevant to the needs of Disabilities Organizations, government officials, professionals, grassroots advocates, and others working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. An on-line version of the library is available. An off-line version is also stored inside eGranary Digital Libraries for delivery to developing countries where Internet access is limited. The GDRL team is now no longer accepting applications to receive an off-line eGranary for 2012. However, organizations interested in receiving notification of future opportunities can submit their full contact information here. The GDRL project is a joint initiative of the U.S. international Council on Disabilities and the University of Iowa WiderNet Project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.