ICAT 2007 Conference: Perspective and Future
Following his recent report on the ICAT 2007 conference in Bangkok, Scott Rains puts the results in perspective and looks forward to the future:
"For me the conference was the completion of two years of planning that began through contact with Eden International. They, together with the Asia Pacific Disability Forum, had been pursuing the topic of disability and tourism from the perspective of development. This was similar to what we are doing in the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development but the Asian context brought in a new set of partners, issues, and competencies.
"The sheer geographic size and cultural diversity of Asia together with the solid foundation for Inclusive Tourism previously set by UNESCAP in the ASEAN region made ICAT 2007 a very powerful impetus worldwide.
"I look forward to coordinating with ENAT in 2008 to provide the tourism industry with standards and research arising from the expertise of the participating Disabled People's Organizations in ICAT 2007. The immediate results in Thailand are also encouraging to me.
"As I hinted in my address at ICAT 2007 (see download; also at www.ebility.com/articles/inclusive-tourism.php) I enjoy the privilege of working with students and faculty. After the conference I spoke to Srinakharinwirot University undergraduates at the invitation of Kittikorn Sankatiprapa. Duangdao Thaikum, Accessibility Expert for the Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled - Pattaya, allowed me to work with her on a strong partnership with the mayor to make Pattaya a destination of choice for travelers with disabilities. We enlisted the Pattaya Expat Club and RollOn Travel in anticipation of an upcoming consultation with a university in Bangkok. Universal Design and Visitability researcher Antika Sawadsri of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne has offered her assistance. Dr Sunil Bhatia of the Design for All Institute of India has invited us to prepare a special issue of his journal on our work.
"My primary academic partner in Thailand is PhD candidate Jan (Budsakayt) Intarapasan with a fascinating project exploring inclusion at heritage tourism sites in the six Greater Mekong Region countries. We will jointly present on the topic in May 2008 at the i-CREATE-2008 conference in Bangkok. Plans are underway for a book of readings on Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development in 2008."
For further information see the author's website www.rollingrains.com or contact Scott Rains direct:
Email: srains [at] oco.net.
Dr Rains is also available for consultancy.