The Disabled Travelers Guide to the Galaxy

Frogs, Bicycles, Imo, UD = MC2 and the
Restaurant at the end of the Universe

Well not really but at least I have your attention!

It would be nice to think that travelers with a disability were free to travel the Universe with nothing more than their trusty towel. In reality, travel even to a local attraction, is far more difficult than it needs to be. Travel, recreation and leisure are all about about the “experience” which ideally should be seamless from planning, to arrival back home. Enjoyment comes from those experiences and the way they are shared with others. The experience lingers in the memories of those who participated. A truly remarkable travel experience leaves the visitor changed in some way.

The reason it is so difficult for people with a disability to travel freely is that industry as a whole has not yet recognized that fundamentally a traveler with a disability is no different from any other traveler in their aspirations for a remarkable experience.

Universal Design is NOT Design for the Disabled.

To the travel industry Accessible Travel is still about access and not the experience. There is a fundamental difference and it stems from a misunderstanding that Universal Design means design for the disabled and not human centered design.

Chapter One – The Universe in Chaos

Lets look at the Universe

To understand the slow evolution of the adoption of Accessible Tourism, we must first look at the evolution and structure of the tourism universe.

In defining a tourism experience, however, the universe gets more complex. The private sector industry players do not act alone, but are part of a greater destination management plan that stems from a national brand value proposition. The brand proposition and national branding is a strategic decision that comes from a National Tourism Authority. It is filtered down to State/Provincial Authorities. Underlaying those bodies there is normally a layer of Regional and then Local Tourism Authorities that develop their own identities, branding and destination management plans. The nexus with the national branding is broken at this point unless the particular region is a national icon and part of the international marketing plan, e.g. America’s Grand Canyon or Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. At a regional and local level the emphasis is on developing the key attributes of the destination for a more local market. The influence of the National and State Tourism Authorities becomes more advisory and a source of information on global tourism trends.

The various elements of the Universe can be depicted in the following diagram.

he pyramid of influence is important as it represents by color the ease with which cultural change can be affected depending on the level a strategy change is implemented. Tourism is structured in multiple layers and unless all embrace Accessible Tourism as a core pillar of their respective tourism strategies an “Inclusive Experience” will never result.

Who is Imo and what has he got to do with the Universe?

“Imo the monkey has become famous over the years, originally as a result of Robert Ardrey’s wonderful work of science popularisation, The Social Contract, first published in 1970. Ardrey had learned of the trail-blazing work of Japanese scientists in studying the behaviour in the wild of large, self-contained and highly structured monkey
societies. The scientists had established the practice of ‘provisioning’- providing some of the monkey population’s food needs but without distorting the natural pattern of foraging in their island habitat. This allowed the observers to study at first hand, and continuously, the patterns of social interaction amongst the monkeys and, above all, their learning-the way that intelligence diffused in the social systems. Imo excited their attention from the start. When sweet potatoes,which monkeys love, were placed on the beach of the tiny islet of Koshima, all the monkeys laboriously picked the grains of sand from the food in order to eat it. It was Imo, just 18 months old, who made the mental connection with the little stream that crossed the beach not far way. Imo carried the sweet potatoes to the stream and allowed its fresh waters quickly to wash away the sand. After a while another youngster copied this method of food preparation and then, after a further period, Imo’s mother did so. Very slowly the innovation diffused amongst the band, mainly amongst the young, and within families. The normal pattern was for the young to make the breakthrough, followed by their mothers, and then for new infants to copy their own mothers.

The point of the story, for observers of human behaviour in organisations, is that the clever new ideas never penetrated to the powerful males at the top of the social hierarchy. They never came into contact with the young. When caramels were introduced to another band, the pattern was repeated-it took a year and a half for the innovation to spread from the juniors to half the entire troop. But, in a parallel experiment, the ‘alpha’ (boss) monkey was induced to try another new and delicious food-wheat. The alpha female promptly copied him and the entire band of 700 monkeys took to the new food in just four hours. Why? Because everybody watches the leader. Nobody much attends to an Imo. By now a mature four-year old, Imo devised a method for ‘placer-mining’ the wheat too. Interestingly, the youngest monkeys had figured out that it made sense to get downstream of Imo, so as to catch any floating grains that escaped the panning process. Something similar occurs near the smartest operators in big corporations.”

Intelligent Leadership – Alistair Mant – Allen & Unwin, 1999

The story of Imo is used a lot in corporate management and leadership training to keep organizations continually fresh and new by encouraging a “think tank” process to capture the new and innovative ideas coming out of the youngest minds. The best organizations do that successfully and keep innovating and changing. The key to that change is to recognize, however, that to get organization wide adoption rapidly to take advantage of the associated competitive advantage, the idea has to be owned from the top down. Without that ownership most ideas will be slow to evolve or die all together.

The Social Model of Disability and its effect on the Universe

The Social model of Disability recognized that society had a responsibility to not exclude people with a disability. Around the world the Social Model spawned anti-discrimination acts which were ultimately codified into access requirements. The compliance approach to accessible tourism is aimed at the individual tourism businesses and specifically at physical infrastructure. It is the least influential part of the pyramid and an infrastructure approach is associated with cost with no relation to business, destinational, or product development. Some businesses may see the potential of the market or the social implications but often it is limited to those with a personal experience or association. It is a model of accommodation – not customer. Codification provides a safe haven and a minimum no risk solution to accessibility.

The Business Case – A Really Big and Expanding Universe, but too big to comprehend at a local level.

In recent years the economics of the Accessible Tourism sector have started to come to the fore. The ground breaking research of Dr. Simon Darcy in 2008 put a value on the market of 11% of the total tourism spend. Further work by McKinsey on the impact of the Baby Boomers put their proportion of the tourism market at 50% by 2020. When the extrapolation of the number of people in the Baby Boomer group who will have an age related disability is applied to their purchasing power then the percentage of the total tourism, market that will relate to people with a disability climbs to a staggering 25% by 2020.

While the business case is strong, it is not tangible to individual business owners and operators. Too often presentations concentrate on big numbers, percentages and 20 page checklists and access statements. What a business owner needs to know is what to do about it, not how big the Universe is. The size of the Universe arguments need to be directed at the strategic influencers who’s job it is to translate those trends into tangible action plans.

Without the national structure embracing Accessible Tourism the emerging trends and business case is never translated into regional, local and individual plans that can be effectively implemented. It becomes a Black Hole with some isolated and disconnected bright stars. Like Imo, they will each be getting their own satisfaction both financially and socially, but the impact on the overall destination will be small and slow.

You can’t shoot for the stars without a systems approach

“The essential difference between the frog and the bicycle, viewed as systems, lies in the relationship of the parts to the whole. You can take a bicycle completely to pieces on your garage floor, clean and oil every single part, and reassemble the lot, confident the the whole thing will work perfectly, as a bike, as before. The frog is different. Once you remove a single part, the entire system is affected instantaneously and unpredictably for the worse. What’s more, if you go on removing bits the frog will make a series of subtle, but still unpredictable, adjustments in order to survive. This sort of system, at the level beneath consciousness, wants to survive and will continue for an astonishing length of time to achieve a rough equilibrium as bits are excised – until it can do so no longer. At that point, again quite unpredictably, the whole system will tip over into collapse. The frog is dead and it won’t help to sew the parts back on.”

Intelligent Leadership – Alistair Mant – Allen & Unwin, 1999

Conversely, when there is a well established and sophisticated system, simply bolting on new pieces doesn’t change the fundamentals. Those additional pieces are never nourished and never form part of the overall system. They simply exist on the edge until, through lack of maintenance, they fade away into oblivion.

Tourism is an example of a well established and very intricate system aimed at delivering a multitude of different experiences to the traveler. Those experiences blend together to retain a feel for the destination and brand management. The complexity exists both within the destination management structure and within the industry that brings together an array of components to deliver its overall service. A successful tourism product incorporates, transport, accommodation, attractions, sightseeing, booking systems, information systems and customer service. Those products are bundled and further require the integration of service providers, consolidators, tour operators and an extensive retail network whether online or offline.

Over time the system evolves as products change and the tastes of the market changes. New products and experiences become available and get incorporated into the local and then destination wide management. In some cases the destination plan and value proposition evolve over time as a destination sees a competitive advantage in a line travel type. Adventure and sustainable tourism are two recent examples.

Bicycle thinking, where a new product is bolted onto the system invariable fails if it doesn’t fit into the destination management plan or isn’t powerful enough to change the plan.

The approach to Accessible Tourism, has to date, largely been Bicycle thinking. Adding accessibility requirements doesn’t fundamentally change a product offering or affect cultural change within a destination.

Defining the Disabled Traveler.

The Encyclopedia Galactica defines disability as:

An arbitrary line drawn to differentiate a segment of the population whose ability the majority don’t understand.

While that definition may be tongue in cheek, it goes a long to explain why Accessible Tourism has not become a mainstream part of the tourism product. As we have said earlier tourism is all about creating an experience and a memory of a place. It is about engaging people and taking them into a new realm. The ability to transport someone to a new sensory level requires an understanding of the person for whom that experience is designed and a knowledge of their capabilities to enjoy and appreciate what is going on around them.

People with a disability are present in all sectors in roughly the same proportion as the general population. They are not like the backpackers, adventure tourists, or luxury travelers that can be conveniently put into unique product boxes with targeted marketing campaigns. The common misconception is that the needs of all people with a disability are the same. In one sense that misconception has been reinforced by the social model of disability which, in defining the social barriers, has concentrated on a narrow sub set of physical access requirements largely limited to car parks, toilets, building access and hotel rooms. By concentrating on the narrow access requirements the industry has effectively created an artificial sector of people with a disability that ignored their actual aspirations.

A disability, in reality is just a different level of ability. We are not all equal in a number of ways. Physical ability is just one element in the total capability set of the human being.

Disability is the only minority group anyone can join in an instant

If we do take physical ability as the cornerstone of the push for greater accessibility then we need to put it into context. Looking at the travel industry as a case in point. Travelers vary enormously in their physical capabilities and their holiday patterns reflect that diversity. Whether that holiday is climbing a Himalayan peak, walking New Zealand’s, Milford Track, visiting the wine region of the Napa Valley or relaxing on a Caribbean Island that is a personal choice. The tourism industry is adept at discerning and catering for those wide ranges of choices, however, we have categorized a disability, through the medical and now social models as something different and around that built a set of preconceptions that shields it from a market view.
Disability is often regarded as a homogeneous concept. The opposite is true. As with the general population ability is on a continuum.

The arbitrary line defining disability is exactly that, an arbitrary line. The advent of modern alloys and design has opened up a vast range of activities including some at the extreme adventure end of the spectrum. People with a disability can be found across the full range of sporting and leisure activities. Their tastes and budgets, likewise, spread from economy to five star and include the conference and meetings market. The key to developing tourism product is to look at the aspirations of potential visitors, the opportunities that exist within a destination and the technology available to allow participation by people of all abilities. Customer expectations should drive the product development.

From a tourism industry point of view, higher levels of assistance and support are common in the higher adventure type tourism activities and in the group tour segments. The industry has a proven capacity to support people to achieve stretch goals and aspirations. Accessible Tourism needs to capatalise on that pre-existing skill set by clearly defining the customer needs.

New technology is opening adventure to all

Chapter Two – Bringing Order to the Universe with the Force of Universal Design

UD = MC2

The Encyclopedia Galactica defines Universal Design as:

Universal Design is the design of products, services and environments to be USABLE by ALL people

Universal Design is at the very core of an inclusive society. In the context of tourism UD must be able to produce an experience that meets and exceeds the expectations of all people. Further, as we have said, tourism experiences are SHARED experiences hence the design of tourism products is about bringing together people of all abilities, not designing specific activities for people with a disability.

What if the first question we asked was, “What is so unique about this situation that it justifies exclusion?” instead of, “How much does it cost to make it accessible?”

Dr. Scott Rains

The key element in developing tourism product is the incorporation of Universal Design from the first inception of the product concept.

Knowing what the customer, not only wants, but is capable of doing is the foundation for the capacity review. The capacity review must look at all of the existing infrastructure and what needs to be altered to accommodate the proposed new product. Too often the path of travel is ignored or the simple and inexpensive alterations overlooked because a helicopter view is not taken out the outset.

Product design must be all-encompassing and actively seek out new product innovations. Today venues have a great range of new equipment at their disposal from the freewheel wheelchair extension, off road handcycles, road handcycles, all abilities sailboats, adaptive fishing equipment, paddle boards designed for wheelchairs, adaptive canoes and canoe launchers, in addition to the tradition hearing loops, tactile markers etc.

In creating built infrastructure it is important to look to the future and the impact the aging population will have on anything built today. The Baby Boomer generation will dominate the travel market over the next 20 years. That is a big enough tome horizon to justify any capital expenditure. The vision and application should be broad. Why fit a toilet seat with a 30% luminosity contrast to just the accessible toilet. The contrast is needed by anyone with low vision whether or not they have any mobility issues requiring and accessible toilet. The small things like maximizing the accessible paths of travel through garden and bar areas should be part of any infrastructure upgrade.

In creating a tourism offering the Soft Infrastructure is just as important as the built environment. Accessibility information should be plentiful, easily found within the main context of the attraction description and written in the same style as any other information. It is, after all, a sales document, not an audit report. Booking systems should reflect the experience a visitor wants or expects to have. If there is space for only one companion, then the booking information and system needs to talk about where the rest of the party is located, or better still reserve the row in front of the accessible seating to accommodate family and friends. Create interactive maps and signage to allow easy wayfinding through a venue without the need to search for a step route. Create large print registration forms or mobile apps to simplify the process for people of all abilities. In other words every action should be enhancing the customer experience and it should blend in with existing forms and presentations and systems. Customers want an inviting experience, not one that makes them feel different or puts under pressure.

In implementing any Accessible Tourism product, it has to be made seamless to the overall visitor experience. Transport, arrivals, check-in, dining, drinking, city transfers, sightseeing tours, local accessibility maps all should reflect the same level of inclusiveness as the particular product being developed. Rarely does a tourism offering exist in isolation to the destination. Partnerships and packaging are critical is staff training, not just in the particular product, but all other things a traveler with a disability may want to do.

Finally there is the marketing. Imagery plays a critical role in saying to a customer from the outset that we want your business. It is about positioning potential clients as valued and welcome guests and nothing says that more strongly than people with a disability enjoying a venue or activity on offer. That imagery should not just encompass the particular product but more generally reflect the destination as whole.

Universal design is not design for the disabled. It is an all encompassing philosophy to create a culture of inclusion. Get the vision right and all else follows with creative and innovative solutions that will attract one of the fastest growing markets of any industry.

Everyone Belongs Outside – Vision Statement of Parks Alberta

The Galactic Road Map to the Accessible Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Tourism is complex from its management structure, industry structure and destination and product development. It is a system designed and intertwined to create an “experience” for the traveler.

The industry, and disability advocates have been slow to adopt Accessible Tourism as a valid tourism market mainly because the industry as a whole does not understand people with a disability as travelers.

The Social Model of disability created a community recognition that society as a whole has a collective responsibility for people with a disability. The UN CRPD, and in relation to tourism Article 30, goes further with a doctrine of equality. The emphasis for the past 25 years has been on physical access and while a great many of those barriers have been removed the cultural divide and misunderstandings still prevail.

The Final Frontier is all about cultural change that will be largely driven by an aging population and increasing economics around Accessible Tourism.

The Business Case alone will not change those attitudes without a rethink by Accessible Tourism advocates on how that message is translated to every level of the Tourism Industry. The focus has to now shift to one of education about a “new” customer and redefining the misconceptions held by the industry about people with a disability. The arbitrary line has to be removed from the continuum to allow for the development of truly inclusive experiences to be enjoyed and shared by everyone.

Someday soon the restaurant at the end of the universe will be accessible to all

An Economic Model of Disability

Occasional paper No. 4.

Changing the demand drivers for the provision of products and services in Inclusive Tourism. The Why and How.

All sorts of terms have been used to describe this growing market from Barrier Free Tourism in the United Kingdom, Accessible Tourism in Australia, Access Tourism in New Zealand. All of those terms have their foundations based on the physical term of “access” More often than not those expressions also have a narrow interpretation as people think of them applying only to travelers with a mobility related disability. The danger in using those terms is that the mind set is not lifted beyond physical access and does not find its way into an organisation’s culture.
More correctly what we are describing in talking about basic cultural change within the Tourism industry is an “Inclusive” environment where people of all abilities are felt welcome and wanted as customers and guests.

We are defining Inclusive Tourism as:

“Inclusive Tourism” – “the application of the seven principles of Universal Design to the products, services, and policies of the tourism industry at all stages of their lifecycle from conception to retirement and introduction of a replacement”

After 20 years of disability rights legislation there is a plethora of accessible infrastructure around the world but a sad lack of information available to the traveler with a disability. This paper explores why the legislative and compliance models have failed to create, in the eyes of the Tourism Industry, a viable Inclusive Tourism sector.


In a number of previous articles we have examined why the variety of equal opportunity and anti discrimination pieces of legislation around the world have not created an inclusive society. Most of that legislation has been in place for over 20 years and while there is no denying that it forced built infrastructure to become more accessible by setting standards for minimum compliance, it has generally failed to change overall community culture towards people with a disability. Industries, particularly the tourism sector, regards access as a compliance issue managed by sets of rules and procedures designed to reduce exposure and risk. We must remember, however, that those standards were based on the principles of Universal Design, which at their heart were conceived to be innovative and set the standards to develop infrastructure that would be usable by people of all abilities.

Today the number of people who potentially benefit from enhanced accessibility exceed 31% of the population, a significant purchasing group. Despite the size of the potential sector, business attitudes remain unchanged. The commercial sector has failed to see the market significance. It has further failed to comprehend how the disability sector will grow over the next 15 years with the aging population and the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Peter Brook once wrote “In Mexico, before the wheel was invented, gangs of slaves had to carry giant stones through the jungle and up the mountains, while their children pulled their toys on tiny rollers. The slaves made the toys, but for centuries failed to make the connection.”
The disability sector faces a major issue today. Generally the private service sectors, as the slaves in Mexico did centuries ago, have not made the connection between accessible infrastructure and the growing market demand. Access is enshrined as a compliance issue, not a market issue. People with a disability are regarded as problems and part of a risk management solution, not as a valued customer. Like the slaves’ children’s toys, the accessible infrastructure is in place but it is seen as a cost not a competitive advantage.

“In Mexico, before the wheel was invented, gangs of slaves had to carry giant stones through the jungle and up the mountains, while their children pulled their toys on tiny rollers. The slaves made the toys, but for centuries failed to make the connection.”

Peter Brook


The Medical to Social Model of Disability.
In order to understand the current context, the evolution of thinking towards disability needs to be understood. The first model of disability was the Medical Model. Here disability was defined as an individual problem and it was that individuals problem to adapt to their circumstance. It was very much based on medical care, individual treatment, professional help and individual adjustment and adaptation.
The social model took the model of disability from the concept of an individual problem to one of social context. Disability was defined as a function of the environmental and social constraints. A disability would not be a disability if the barriers of the society in which we live did not exist. The paradigm however relied on a social conscious to implement the necessary structural changes to remove the barriers. The shortcomings of the social model is that the change has been driven as a rights issue and one of compliance that has been seen as a cost that society demands of a business. The implications are that it is all about access and not the person. It is driven by social expectations and translated by rule makers. At that point it ceases to be inclusive and just becomes another problem for organisations to deal with and is handed across to their risk management departments. What started as a model to change the issue of disability away from the individual has only succeeded in transferring into a problem to be dealt with for a group of individuals.

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Triple Bottom Line
CSR is often sited as a major driver of social inclusion. CSR is perhaps more misunderstood than environmental sustainability was 10 years ago. CSR does generate significant amounts of funds for social activities but does not always result in fundamental cultural change. Philanthropy does not equate to CSR. True social inclusion only comes from acting in a totally inclusive way to an organization’s customers and employees. Giving or supporting a local community group or running a charitable foundation is not the same. It may look good on the annual report or make the directors feel good about their organization but if it is being discriminatory in the way it treats it’s customers or employees then the motives do not lead to a change in corporate behaviour.
The fundamental question is why. CSR perpetuates the social model and the basic rights issues surrounding it. When change is driven by rights, government legislation and compliance then the outcome will always be procedures to ensure those obligations are met. Seldom is the associated expenditure on infrastructure, manuals and training seen as an asset that will lead to an economic return or a competitive advantage. When it comes to accessible infrastructure we see time and time again great infrastructure with little or no marketing to inform people of it’s existence. The disabled community complain about the lack of infrastructure and industry bemoan the poor utilization and over regulation.

Disability vs Ability
People with a disability are present in all sectors in roughly the same proportion as the general population. They are not like the backpackers, adventure tourists, luxury travelers or the Gay and Lesbian sector. The common misconception is that the needs of all people with a disability are the same. In one sense that conception has been reinforced by the social model of disability which, in defining the social barriers, has concentrated on a narrow sub set of physical access requirements largely limited to car parks, toilets building access and hotel rooms. The broader aspects of outdoor and activity spaces were ignored by most codes as were the needs for interconnecting barrier free paths of travel. By concentrating on the narrow access requirements the social model of disability effectively created an artificial sector of people with a disability that ignored their actual aspirations. It didn’t change the culture away from looking at a person through their disability, it reinforced it.
A disability, in reality is just a different level of ability. We are not all equal in a number if ways. Physical ability is just one set in the total capability set of the human being. If we do take physical ability as the cornerstone of the push for greater accessibility then we need to put it into context. Looking at the travel industry as a case in point. Travellers vary enormously in their physical capabilities and their holiday patterns reflect that diversity. Whether that holiday is climbing a Himalayan peak, walking New Zealand’s, Milford Track, visiting the wine region of the Napa Valley or relaxing on a Caribbean Island that is a personal choice. The tourism industry is adept at discerning and catering for those wide ranges of choices, however, we have categorized a disability, through the medical and now social models as something different and around that built a set of preconceptions that shields it from a market view.
Disability is often regarded as a homogenous concept. The opposite is true. As with the general population ability is on a continuum.

How Significant is the Disability Sector.

In June of this year the World Health Organisation and the World Bank released the results of the first ever global study on disability. The report estimates that more than one billion people experience some form of disability. Most studies and reports on disability stop there, however, from an economic point of view the raw data on disability numbers is not the true figure. Research done in Australia by Simon Darcy puts the multiplier effect at three when those directly associated with a person with a disability is taken into account. Those directly affected are family, friends and work colleges. If a person with a disability cannot access a business’s services, like a restaurant, resort or transport then the entire group cannot access those services. In economic terms over 4 billion people worldwide are directly affected by disability which is over one third of the world’s population.

There was significant Australian research done as part of the CRC on sustainable tourism the significant findings were:

  • Some 88% of people with disability take a holiday each year that accounted for some 8.2 million overnight trips.
  • The average travel group size for people with a disability is 2.8 people for a domestic overnight trip and 3.4 for a day trip.
  • There is a myth that the inclusive tourism market does not spend because of economic circumstance. That is false as it is a significant proportion of each travel market segment.
  • They travel on a level comparable with the general population for domestic overnight and day trips.
  • The total tourism expenditure attributable to the group is $8bn per year or 11% of overall tourism expenditure.

There is one key point to the above statistic in that the $8 billion is expenditure by people with a disability only. If expenditure by people travelling in the group is factored in, it is $24 billion or 30% of the total tourism market.

Age disability graph

Of more significance is the ageing population and the effect of the retiring Baby Boomer generation.
US research by McKinsey & Company predicts that by 2015, the baby boomer generation will command almost 60 percent of net U.S. wealth and 40 percent of spending. In many categories, like travel, boomers will represent over 50 percent of consumption. The impact on the Inclusive Travel sector is significant as over 40% of them will be retiring with some form of disability, raising the total value of direct expenditure to the Inclusive Tourism sector to over 25% of the market by 2020.

“American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility currently spend an average of $13. 6 billion a year on travel. Creating accessible cruise ships, accessible ship terminals, accessible ground transportation, and accessible tourist destinations is not charity. It is just good business.”

Dr Scott Rains. a US expert on disability issues

The Economic Model of Disability.

Evolution from the medical to social model of disability saw a major shift in attitude from one that concentrated on teaching an individual how to cope with a disability in an otherwise hostile environment to changing social attitudes to manipulate the environment to be more accessible to a person with a disability. It was a rights issue and based on the premise that society had an obligation to assist those with a disability. The final evolution is to stop concentrating on the “disability” but rather the needs and abilities in a customer focused environment. An economic model of disability changes the basic driver from a rights and compliance issue to a market demand driver. The economic model will change that focus by changing how access is looked upon. Once any industry appreciates that the disabled and their friends are a large market they will start to research their interests.

The economic model is suggesting that the market already exists and is growing rapidly with the retiring baby boomers. The real issue is attracting them by providing the facilities and services that they need. This group will not identify with the disability sector but will simply want to keep doing those things that they have always done and even relive their youth in their retirement. Their abilities will not be what they were in their 20’s but they will still expect be able to fulfil their aspirations. This impetus of new demand for more accessible facilities and service will change the paradigm for the disability sector. The business case is about making the industry aware of the market size and redefining disability away from the concept that it is an homogenous group to regarding it as significant group of people with differing levels of ability desires and needs.

  • Medical
  • PERSONAL problem
    Medical care
    Individual treatment
    Professional help
    Personal adjustment
    Health care policy
    Individual adaptation
  • Social
  • SOCIAL issue
    Social integration
    Social action
    Individual and collective responsibility
    Environmental manipulation
    Human rights
    Social change
  • Economic
  • DEMAND issue
    Economic integration
    Product development
    Innovation in design and function
    Universal Design
    Competitive advantage
    Market forces

Deborah in the Everglades

The Spirit of Inclusive Travel – a Personal Story by Deborah Davis

I travel because I want my mind and my heart and my soul to overcome the boundaries that my body now feels. I travel in spite of the fact that it is “inconvenient” in that I am unable to walk onto the plane or to simply stand up and use the bathroom when needed, or that I have to spend innumerable hours planning and seeking out where I may be able to go in a wheelchair; what I will be able to see and where will accommodate me once I reach my chosen destination. I travel because to do so puts me in the realm of saying “HA! Look at me now!” I can do and be and see and experience this wonderful world. I CAN taste, smell, delight in the people and remarkable sights and win in the battle of my body over my spirit.

Deborah in Sweden

Deborah in Sweden

I was a dancer and I was 18 when I crashed my car in front of the Mormon Chapel on the Maryland beltway. I broke my neck and was told I will never move from the neck down again. Yet, I heard a voice as I lay alone in the night..-

”you will not be able to move your legs..but it will not be permanent and there is a purpose”

I accepted this, moved on and regained the use of my arms and hands…just like the voice said.

So I go–and I relish in the next trip–the next challenge that I WILL over come. I am not a wheelchair sports jock-never raced in my chair or played tennis or rugby or wheelchair basketball. Travel and love is how I survive. I take my love and my will with me and I look strangers in strange lands in the eye as I roll by and I am saying to myself and to everyone who sees me that WE are not pathetic, sad, miserable cripples…

WE are here and we want to share the world with you….it is up to me to show you I will come–it is up to you to show me I am welcome.

Deborah Davis