Friday, January 07, 2005

Bloglines - Inclusive Destination Development and Tsunami Relief

Bloglines user has sent this item to you, with the following personal message:

I found it very interesting reading Scott Rain's plea for promoting a philosophy of universal design in the context of Southeast Asia's post-tsunami development plans. These issues cannot be minimized when we consider the tremendous prevalence of disability in these regions. Mike

Rolling Rains Report:
Precipitating Dialogue on Travel, Disability, and Universal Design

Inclusive Destination Development and Tsunami Relief

By rollingrains on News

Today the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) circulated an invitation to its members to participate in a survey and/or answer the following questions:

  • Is there anything that you believe the world tourism community should be doing immediately to respond to the current situation
  • Is there anything that you believe the world tourism community should be doing in the medium term (12 months) to respond to future disasters.
  • Here is the answer I submitted.

    Geoffrey Lipman, President
    International Council of Tourism Partners

    January 4, 2005

    Dear Geoffrey,

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond on the topic of post-tsunami relief and development.

    My contribution is regarding the long-term response.

    The aspect of response that I am qualified to speak to requires action at the macro level of policy and planning even at this early stage. It arises from the concept "Universal Design" and can be summarized in the phrase "inclusive [destination] development." The objective is to do what we can to see that good design - design that does not exclude - becomes the new tradition of the rebuilt Indian Ocean basin.

    As someone paralyzed at age 17 and now with more than 32 years traveling via wheelchair, I have tried to alert others to where we are all destined to go through the natural processes of aging - toward diminishment of our capacities long before the completion of our goals or extinction of our desires.

    For decades those of us in my situation (i.e. an early-analogue-to-aging) have used the language of civil rights to insert ourselves into the marketplace - and fought hard to throw off the burden of other's pity so that we could participate freely once we were there. Recently, we have been even more articulate in making the business case for inclusion. Many in the industry now understand the economic implications in the market of travelers with disabilities, of the aging populations in tourism destinations such as India, and of tourist exporters such as the US and Japan.

    I have been active in bringing seminal works on the topic to the attention of the industry. These are works such as Simon Darcy's travel behavior study "From Anxiety to Access" and Eric Lipp's study of the market value of US travelers with disabilities. Recently, the opportunities to speak have been numerous as awareness mushrooms: Australia's first national conference on travel and disability by NICAN in Perth, September 2004; Brazil's first national conference on travel and disability by Instituto Pestallozzi, in Canela, November 2004, Adaptive Design's first international mini-congress on Universal Design and the Travel Industry in Rio de Janeiro, December, 2004 and Shizuoka University's Universal Design Conference, later in December, 2004.

    Recently I spoke with the senior staff of the World Institute on Disability in a strategy discussion on the growth of the travel and hospitality industry's interest in our community. That organization is central in development of the universal design and accessibility criteria used in the rebuilding of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    We see a parallel opportunity in the tsunami-stricken region for culturally appropriate development and dissemination of, education around, and technical assistance on implementing the principles of universal design. We have seen numerous examples where even the existence of a few model developments using universal design have spurring innovative voluntary adoption as well as the facilitation of the social participation of all - regardless of differences in capacity brought on by birth, aging, or trauma such as will be the case with some survivors of the tsunami.

    I would like to propose the inclusion of this perspective in the governmental, NGO, and industry conversations around long-term redevelopment and capacitization in the region. In that regard I would consider it an honor to contribute as would my colleagues.

    Dr. Scott Rains
    Resident Scholar
    Center for Cultural Studies
    UC Santa Cruz


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