Dr. Scott Rains Has A Vision Of An Accessible World

Scott Rains discovered that he loves to travel, even though he's in a wheelchair.

Scott Rains discovered that he loves to travel, even though he's in a wheelchair.

Editor’s Note: The real key to success is taking your disability and turning it into an advantage- it’s about what you can do, not what you cannot do. In the story of Dr. Scott Rains, a consultant on travel and disability, you’ll see that his wheelchair has become his marketing tool. Dr. Rains, “New Mobility” magazine’s Person of the Year, is known worldwide for opening up many countries, businesses and vacation sites to physically challenged individuals and has enabled these places to become more inclusive. Part 1 of a 5 part series.

Rains: Not all people with physical problems need extra access like ramps and other modifications that we generally think of when we think of accessibility. In 1972, I had cancer in my spine between the third and fourth cervical levels.

Since I had incomplete damage to the spinal cord, I still could use my hands but couldn’t walk. Then in 1975 when I was in Brazil as an exchange student, I discovered that I really liked traveling–even with my wheelchair

I noticed Brazil had some places that weren’t accessible to me. I realized we had many advantages in the U.S. that you didn’t find in other countries and that many events, lodgings, facilities and sites weren’t wheelchair accessible.

I knew that accessibility in other countries wasn’t going to improve, unless changes were made. That’s when I decided I needed to become an influence for change.

Scott Rains in Brazil at Iguacu Falls.

Scott Rains in Brazil at Iguacu Falls.

I knew that I would continue to travel to other countries, and that somebody had to explain to these people in other countries how to make their destinations more accessible and inclusive for people with any type of physical challenge. I came up with a term I called inclusive tourism. For instance, a facility that included the broadest range of people would include not only people with disabilities but also children and the elderly, so everyone could participate. Older people and children may not be as strong as middle aged adults.

Scott has seen and shot pictures of the seven wonders of the world.

Scott has seen and shot pictures of the seven wonders of the world.

I used my disability to explain that you could get a marginal increase in the amount of business that came to a facility, if you could modify it to include different types of people. The world isn’t just made up of only healthy 30 to 50 year old adults.

I began to inform people about making a facility or a product more accessible to people with disabilities. Doing this will increase the facility’s or product’s profit, because you’re drawing from a bigger consumer base. Another advantage that I explain to companies and capitalize on is that most people with physical challenges travel with someone else other than family, which increases the number of people who will come to a specific destination, fly on certain airplanes, eat at particular restaurants and stay in certain hotels that have made modifications to include the disabled, children and the elderly.

Scott says that inclusive tourism will increase profit of travel destinations greatly!

Scott says that inclusive tourism will increase profit of travel destinations greatly!

Please visit Dr. Rains’ blog to learn more!

Next: The Benefits Of Travel Destinations Becoming More Accessible With Dr. Scott Rains

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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One Response to Dr. Scott Rains Has A Vision Of An Accessible World

  1. Denise says:

    Traveling to a destination as popular as Cancun proved to be very frustrating. It was impossible to get answers from resorts on specific accessiblily issues. The travel agents had no more information than I did. We took a chance and booked a trip anyway. We had a beautiful accessible wedding in Puerto Morelos. I posted reviews hoping to help others who had the same questions. I would love to see resorts addresses accessibility and include pictures on their websites!

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