GLOBAL ACCESS NEWS TRAVEL E-ZINE
VOLUME VI, NUMBER 3, March 2005
Copyright © 2005, Global Access News

http://www.globalaccessnews.com/

Please note: Any Internet links mentioned in this E-Zine were verified as functioning as of the date on this E-Zine. Websites and e-mail addresses, however, change frequently, so changes may have occurred after that date.

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Welcome to the March 2005 issue of the Global Access News Travel E-Zine. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to write us and share your travel experiences.
 
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CONTENTS
 
1. ADA VS. FOREIGN-OWNED CRUISE SHIPS
2. AIR NEW ZEALAND GROUNDS WHEELCHAIR USER
3. SHANGHAI, CHINA AWAKENS TO ACCESS NEEDS
4. CARIBBEAN: ARUBA
5. PARIS ACCESS NOTES
6. HAWAII: ISLAND PRINCESS CRUISE
 
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1. ADA VS. FOREIGN-OWNED CRUISE SHIPS

 
On February 28, the United States Supreme Court began considering whether the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) can be applied to cruise ships owned by foreign nations that stop at U.S. ports. Previously, only U.S. owned ships were required to adhere to ADA regulations. However, most of the large cruise ships that visit U.S. ports are foreign owned.

Thomas Goldstein is arguing on behalf of the ADA and urges the court to demand that the same ADA standards apply to all cruise ships using U.S. waters, regardless of their ownership.

David Frederick, Norwegian Cruise Line’s representative, argues that the 1990 ADA law did not require that the regulations apply to foreign-owned ships and to require that of them now would force them to make extremely costly renovations in order to comply. Stay tuned to the outcome of this case. It will be fascinating to see whether corporate profit motive wins out over disabled access needs or whether the ADA will triumph. Either way, this court decision will heavily impact disabled cruise ship travelers.

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2. AIR NEW ZEALAND GROUNDS WHEELCHAIR USER

 

Air New Zealand enforced its no-lifting policy and grounded wheelchair traveler, Alan Harkin, at Christchurch Airport in mid-February. Harkin, whose able-bodied sister previously assisted him on their UK to New Zealand trip, was suddenly in need of a helper after she was injured in a car accident during their travels. Her injury restricted her from lifting him to his seat.

Air New Zealand refused to allow Harkin to fly until a nurse (paid for by his own insurance company) flew from England to New Zealand to assist him in boarding the plane with his sister. Surely this marks one of the most costly (and long distance) temporary care provider scenarios imaginable. Unlike Qantas, which provides able-bodied lifters for disabled travelers, Air New Zealand enforces their no-lifting policy on both domestic and international flights. According to Air New Zealand, they are now testing lifting aids to assist their crew members.
 
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3. SHANGHAI, CHINA AWAKENS TO ACCESS NEEDS

 
China’s Wheelchair Foundation in Shanghai recently sponsored a “Wheelchair Experience and Accessibility Facility Survey'' in which 49 local able-bodied volunteers spent time navigating the city in wheelchairs in order to gain a better understanding of disabled lifestyle. The event was titled “Seeing the World from 1-Meter High.”
 
Volunteers were trained how to use the chairs, then they spent time navigating sidewalks, taking public transportation, locating usable bathrooms and shopping before completing questionnaire surveys that detailed their experiences. Their findings were published in a guidebook (in Chinese) called “Operation Mobility.” The new guide provides information on access to city bathrooms, public transit, wheelchair friendly shopping malls, education, dining, entertainment and libraries. The guide is the first of its kind in China and will be distributed free to wheelchair users and updated every year.
 
There are plans to make this access effort a nationwide project. Beijing and Guangzhou were selected as the next two target cities to experience this campaign, which endeavors to successfully create an obstacle-free environment in China.

The China Disabled Persons' Federation reports that China has nearly 9 million wheelchair users and that Shanghai has about ½ million people now using wheelchairs.

Beijing will be the 2008 Olympics site. Previous Olympic cities, such as Barcelona and Athens, increased their accessible features, which proved a blessing for their disabled citizens and visitors alike. Beijing seems prepared to follow their lead.
 
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4. CARIBBEAN: ARUBA
 
The Caribbean island of Aruba
is now offering a host of accessible amenities for disabled travelers, including a variety of accommodations, medical rental equipment and a fine selection of adapted water activities and sports. View the many options for fun and sun at
http://www.aruba.com/pages/disability.htm

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5. PARIS ACCESS NOTES

 
John D. Taylor, who is visually impaired and shared his Cambridge Access web site with Global Access News last month, recently visited Paris, France and submitted his access insights. Share his trip at http://www.globalaccessnews.com/paris05.htm

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6. HAWAII: ISLAND PRINCESS CRUISE

 
Kathleen Dunn, of San Diego, CA, who has shared many of her cruise insights in numerous reports to Global Access News, takes us aboard the Island Princess on a Hawaiian cruise with her parents. Share her holiday at http://www.globalaccessnews.com/hawaiiisprincess05.htm

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Global Access News welcomes your travel reports, tips and comments at clearpath@cox.net Thanks for sharing!

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