An Access Revolution through Inclusive Travel

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 Some of us are lucky enough to fall into careers that we love, where just coming to work is a joyful part of the day. Fewer have been purposeful, have seized the brass ring and gotten into those careers through hard work, perseverance and, yes, even a little bit of luck. The path to my dream career was decided by an entirely different kind of luck. A social worker who specialized in helping children and adults with special needs, I had stability and my degrees in English and Psychology ensured the future of that stability. At 29, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and a few years later; at the suggestion of my Neurologist, I changed careers.

I reflected back on a constant love of mine- travel. I have traveled the world and knew that I could use my first-hand knowledge and love of our world to become a successful travel agent.

Serendipity was at play when a local position was posted in the newspaper; a “full-time travel agent-must be well traveled and a people person’. This fit me like a glove and I began the following week. I learned the travel industry on the job, and it was not until my MS began to create a barrier in my own travel, that I began to take notice of the travel industry’s relationship with the disabled traveler. I recall people left on cruise ships, as there was not a system yet to lower them onto a tender to take them to shore. Ship staff would lift passengers up and place them in the tender. I recall a gentleman who was of larger build proclaim that there was no way that he would have 6 or 7 crew members lift him! This was the first incident in a long line of what I refer to as ‘travel atrocities’… ‘Wheelchair accessible’ room at a resort in Mexico whose door was not wide enough for a wheelchair, showers deemed ‘wheelchair accessible’ with a lip at the entrance, cruise lines who meet ADA requirements on board, however, leave disabled passengers ashore without any accessible shore excursions…

These stories had me do some further snooping which led me to open my own agency four years ago. Inclusion in travel has been my mission and through the channels of social media (and my nosiness) I chimed into conversations on Twitter, and LinkedIn. Here is where I have met amazing people that also want to create a positive change in travel. There is what I refer to as ‘An Access Revolution occurring’; globally more and more travelers are demanding inclusion, and not just those with ‘visible’ barriers, but the ‘invisible’ ones as well i.e. developmental disabilities. It is so wonderful to know that some of my favorite places in the world; which are geographically challenging i.e. Machu Picchu, Ecuador offers some beautiful accessible trips. Inclusion is on the minds of many countries and the travel industry will have to accommodate governed by the sheer numbers of disabled people globally…

The Inclusive Tourism market has been estimated as being worth US$134 billion annually. Already a major tourism sector, it is a market driven by the retirement of the baby boomers, who command almost 60% of net U.S. wealth and 40% of spending. In travel, boomers represent over 50% of consumption. The impact on the Inclusive Tourism sector is significant as over 40% of them will be retiring with some form of disability, raising the total value of this sector to over 25% of the tourism market by 2020. This is not a niche market!

travelforall@lonelyplanet.com.au

Tarita Karsanji Davenock Headshot

Rent a Wheelchair Accessible Yacht for the Mediterranean

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Rent a Wheelchair Accessible Yacht for the Mediterranean

Tunç Tonger is one of the most successful businesspeople in Turkey who was paralyzed over twenty years ago. Together with architect Hacı M. Hekim, Tonger has designed a three-story wheelchair accessible yacht to provide  the disabled with a comfortable and stylish atmosphere to travel at sea in calledWell-abled.  Access to the three stories is accomplished with a hydrophilic elevator which measures 21m can even lower disabled guests into the water if looking to swim. Impressively, the yacht uses renewable solar and wind energy to power all electricity onboard. On board is one captain, seafarer and cook and all have a lot of hospitality experience.

There are three bedrooms (one VIP and two guest rooms) that are suitable for handicapped people and located on the first (ground) floor of the yacht. All three rooms are equipped with touch pad controls for the lights, music, HVAC system and even the doors. Furthermore, all the beds are hospital-style beds with controls for the feet and head and are at a height is 50cm from the floor to the top of the mattress. No matter what room you are staying in, disabled guests will find the comfort of grab-bars, a roll-up sink and roll-in shower in the bathroom. One can sit on the toilet or a portable padded stool to shower. The height of the mirror can be adjusted according to guest. In the VIP room there is one king-size bed (2m in length) and is composed of two independent bases to provide a comfortable arrangement for both our handicapped guest and his/her companion who may or may not be handicapped. In both guest rooms, there is only one twin bed but an air-bed can be provided for non-handicapped guests. One Roho airbed can also be provided (90cm X 200cm).

To ensure safety and peace of mind, panic buttons have been installed in every room on the yacht in case guests need assistance of any kind. In the main room, there is a sitting area for six people and the table’s height can be electronically adjusted; all other tables can be manually adjusted. There are even two cockpits (main and top floor) designed for handicapped guests to be able to drive as it is equipped with an electronic rudder and gas control lever. Although the kitchen (main floor) is not specially designed to be wheelchair accessible, some may still find it manageable. Plus, there will not be much need to prepare meals yourself because a professional cook accompanies the yacht. Guests are welcome to shop for their own food for the duration of the voyage or the staff can assist or do it completely. The kitchen also includes a ground level dish and clothing washer. A deck is also found on the main level with reclining lounge chairs for tanning and a misting system to help regulate body temperature.

The yacht’s main level (third floor) has even more  reclining chairs for tanning as well as a misting system. On this floor is also a Jacuzzi (2m round) which can be filled with either fresh or sea water. If needed, the staff can assist in transferring handicapped guests into the Jacuzzi; simply use the panic button for help. From the Jacuzzi, guests can watch entertainment on the 180cm by 180cm HD screen. A portable Karaoke machine can be enjoyed on every floor; each floor has its own sound system so if a guest does not want to hear then he or she can move to another floor. Scuba diving can also happen right off the yacht but guests need to inform the crew well ahead of time so that a professional instructor can be on board. Scuba diving is only available for a minimum 3-night cruise.

See a diagram of the Well-able Yacht.

Well-abled has an accessible vehicle with a lift and the ability to transport three disabled people along with some abled body people. Airport pick-up and drop-off is included in the price of renting the yacht. This vehicle also follows the yacht’s route, connecting at every port the yacht does. This allows Well-abled to take guests to attractions and other places of interest. For such day tour the cost is 400,00€, including fuel costs.

Currently, the yacht is in Istanbul but after May 2013 it will be available to handicapped guests on the coasts of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. All tours start at 10am but can be adjusted if needed. Guests can rent the yacht for a maximum of one month or as little as one night. Renting the yacht for just a day cruise (10am-10pm) is also an option and costs 1.000,00€. One overnight trip costs 2.000,00€. Guests need to inform Well-abled how many days and nights they wish to use to yacht and figure out food menu details. Food, beverage, fuel expenses are not included. One hour of cruising on the boat consumes an average of 70 liters of fuel which costs approximately 70€ per hour. Reservations must be made two months in advance and require a 20% deposit.

Please email wheelchairtraveling.com to receive 15% off the total price.

Bead Electric Wheelchair Motorcycle now available!

The Bead (rearview) driven from wheelchair

A Bead is a green, environmentally friendly all electric wheelchair motorcycle or scooter that you drive from your wheelchair. The Bead is manufactured in Sweden, a country with strong focus on wheelchair-friendly accessibility. Handikappteknik is an innovation company of Micke Zingmark and Per Stjarnehag located in both Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden. If someone his interested, Broadened Horizons could make the arrangements to import for you.

It is very simple to use, and  utilize a unique idea where the whole floor section lowers as a ramp, keeping it compact with clean lines. You simply roll in from the back and press a bottom to raise the platform from the ground.  As you raise up your wheelchair wheels become wedged in front of 2 adjustable brackets to securely hold you in placeand you are ready to go. It is powered by a strong hub motor in each wheel in the back, together you have 2.5Kw. You can use the Bead as any other scooter traveling to work and back, it is road legal. It will take you to places you can´t go either in a wheelchair or an electric wheelchair. With its broad tires you can even drive it on the beach when you want to get near the water for maybe fishing or swimming. Continuing on the Green theme, the Bead is produced with environmentally friendly materials.

The Bead is equipped with a regenerative breaking system to extend battery life and range. That means when you let go of the throttle the Bead brakes by itself and all that energy is recharging your batteries! We can adapt the Bead to fit your needs, we will be able to mount a neck and backrest for customers with quadriplegic injuries and we have plans for power steering and joystick for those who needs it. The Bead will take you up to 50 km on standard Sealed Lead-Acid batteries and with the optimal Lithium Ion batteries the bead can travel up to 120 km per charge!

Visit Wheelchair-Motorcycle.com for more information on this and other Wheelchair Motorcycles and Contact us if this unique fun, new transportation solution is something may want to pursue?!live streaming movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015 online

The Bead Electric Wheelchair Scooter - front side view

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Monster Wheelchair Motorcycle UK – Ducati Drive from Sidecar

Monster Wheelchair Motorcycle
Project By: Mike Harper mike.harper@wjowen.com

Monster Motorcycle with Wheelchair Sidecar
Monster Motorcycle with Wheelchair Sidecar

Below is a video clip of a motorized wheelchair (for lack of another word), it’s a Ducati 900 Monster adapted for a wheelchair (Drive from sidecar). Have a look and the ease the bike rides. You’ll notice that the wheelchair is onboard. Really fantastic that the rider, despite the physical obstacles, continues to ride. Bravo!

The owner in the UK, adapted the Ducati, costing him UK$12,626 (£8,000) on top of the bike purchase, and went off last year for a 2000 km ride to Spain and Portugal.

Originally post on motorbiker.org

 

Monster Wheelchair