Poll: Disabled say travel needs are unmet

Poll: Disabled saytravel needs are unmet
Disabled Americans would spend at least $27 billion a year on travel -- twice as much as they did in the last year -- if their travel needs were better met, according to a recently published study. If the travel industry did more to meet those needs, the increased spending would help offset recent declines in travel spending, the study suggested.
What disabled travelers need are services that make traveling easier, such as meet-and-greet services at airports, preferred seating on planes, hotel rooms close to amenities, and hotel employees who go out of their way to accommodate disabled guests, the study said.
The research was done by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Open Doors Organization, a nonprofit corporation that promotes support of people with disabilities. The Travel Industry Association of America helped prepare the survey, which involved polling 1,037 people with disabilities.
QE2 falls shortin sanitation inspection
The cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 received a "not satisfactory" rating after a routine sanitation inspection (required of all passenger ships sailing from U.S. ports) on Jan. 3, scoring an 85 out of 100 points. Under the standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a ship must earn at least an 86 to be considered satisfactory.
The Cunard Line, the ship's owner, said it would correct the shortcomings and had requested a reinspection. The ship was allowed to depart from Port Everglades, Fla., on a world cruise.
The CDC report cited the ship for ice-machine corrosion, cockroaches in the Caronia galley, and shortcomings in galley sanitation and the potable-water system.
The report for the QE2, as well as for other ships, can be found at www.cdc.gov/travel on the Web.
Park Service offershistorical itineraries
Parents, teachers, and other trip planners looking for educational itineraries may be pleased to learn the National Park Service has done some of their work for them.
Collaborating with state and local governments and groups, the Park Service has created a Travel Itinerary Series featuring destinations drawn in part from the National Register of Historic Places. Atlanta recently became the 25th theme area in the series; the nearly 70 sites are as diverse as the Fox Theatre, Oakland Cemetery, the Stone Mountain Historic District, the Margaret Mitchell House, and the Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Plant.
Also in the series are "Aboard the Underground Railroad," with stops in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and "Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor." New itineraries this year will include "Lewis and Clark Expedition," "Three Historic Nevada Cities," "Aviation History," and "Hartford, Conn." Printed materials are available.
The itineraries and links to hundreds of sites are at www.cr.nps. gov/nr/travel.
Various exhibits markBlack History Month
In the nation's capital and across the United States, Black History Month will be marked in coming weeks with events in museums, cultural institutions, jazz clubs and restaurants.
Washington programs examine the black American experience at the National Museum of American History with music, humor and folklore from the Gullah people of the South Carolina and Georgia sea islands.
African folk tales and an Ethiopian icons exhibition will be featured at the National Museum of African Art. Other exhibits trace "Passages to Freedom: the Underground Railroad in American History and Legend" and the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s.
For a listing of events, visit www.washington.org on the Web.
An exhibit chronicling the fight against slavery through simple household objects continues through March 30 in the Winterthur Museum of decorative arts near Wilmington, Del.
Among the artifacts is a 1796 English punchbowl inscribed "Health to the Sick, Honor to the Brave, Success to the Lover and Freedom to the Slaves."
For information, call (800) 448-3883 or visit www.winterthur.org on the Web.
Bus tour takes visitorsshopping around Madrid
Shopping ranks ahead of cultural and sporting activities for foreign visitors to Spain, according to a study by Spanish tourism officials, and a new excursion offered by Madrid Shopping Tours gets right to the point.
With a bilingual guide, shoppers can cruise the city's three main retail districts on an 18-seat bus every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The price -- about $25 for the eight-hour outing -- includes a light lunch, discount coupons for more than 50 establishments, maps and shopping guides with a Spanish-English glossary and size chart. The leader will act as an interpreter if no one in a shop speaks English.
The bus collects customers at some hotels or at the Plaza Neptuno, near the Prado Museum and the Ritz and Palace hotels, at 10 a.m. It then goes to the Barrio Salamanca, where fashion icons such as Adolfo Dominguez, Purificacion Garcia, Vitorio & amp; Lucchino, Loewe and Sybila have shops.
After lunch at the Don Julian restaurant in Salamanca, the tour visits two factory-outlet centers in suburban Las Rozas, then returns to the area around the Plaza Mayor, with its many shops, and near the Corte Ingles department store. The bus then takes shoppers back to their hotels or Plaza de Neptuno.
Reservations must be made at least a day ahead. Customized tours are also available. For more information, call 011-34-91-316-0657 or visit www.madridshoppingtour. com on the Web.
Magazines honorpreservation efforts
Tourists are blamed for damaging everything from the Great Wall of China to coral reefs off the Florida Keys. But there are places on Earth that haven't been spoiled yet, thanks to smart management and considerate tourists. Some of these places got their just awards recently.
Clean, green New Zealand, whose landscapes provided the "Middle-earth" backdrop for the "Lord of the Rings" films, was picked as the top hot spot for 2003 by the travel magazine Lonely Planet. Moviegoers are being inspired to visit the scenic spots, according to Don George, the magazine's global travel editor. Lonely Planet's other top hot spot picks were Cambodia, China, Turkey and Cuba.
Another leading travel magazine, National Geographic Traveler, picked a South African tour company, Wilderness Safaris, for its World Legacy Award. The company manages 2.5 million acres of land in six countries and includes conservation lessons in its tours. Local residents are shareholders in the company's lodges and share the income from tourist visits. Also cited was a British-based company, ATG Oxford, which operates walking tours of Italy's Tuscany region and helps restore ancient art and architecture.
A third company, the Responsible Ecological Social Tours Project (REST Project) of Bangkok, Thailand, got a Destination Stewardship Award for helping a local island community establish a village home-stay program for tourists and revive traditional fishing methods.
Combined dispatches

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