Smart Technology Webinars, Accessible Tourism and More!

Feb. 2015 News

I just read a very angry article from the publisher of a magazine that promotes diversity. The gentleman, who recently had a stroke, ripped into Amtrak and the way he was treated. As I read the article I began to smile as I remembered my own early frustrations during travel that were really the catalyst for my founding Open Doors Organization. I too had the same sense of anger and amazement. This publisher once told me that his magazine did not need any help in accessible travel and tourism as they handle diversity as a whole. In short, he blew me off, but now I am here to help. Had he listened to ODO, his article might never have needed to be written. In my opinion, he was just the victim of the difficulty in traveling and needed to speak up on his own behalf, not easy but still essential. Just as disability does not discriminate, neither does ODO. Anytime you or a loved one acquires a disability or needs assistance, we will be here. This is simply another great example of how most only think about disability after it happens. By that time it’s too late and things are irreversible, so let’s look to the future now.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization

Upcoming CRO Trainings

Open Doors Organization has already held a number of Initial CRO classes in 2015 for British Airways. To enable other carriers to conveniently train their Complaints Resolution Officials, ODO is now offering classes in the next few months at airports around the US including JFK, ORD, LAS, DFW and SFO. Other dates/locations are available on demand. To register for the 1-1/2 day classes, email Eric Lipp or call him at 773-388-8839.  Space is limited!
2015 Initial CRO Training Schedule

ODO Featured at Luxor Tourism Conference

Laurel Van Horn, director of programs, made the case for inclusive tourism at a conference on cultural tourism hosted by the Egyptian Tourism Authority. Invitees included a select group of industry and media leaders from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Brazil as well as top government officials. The meeting addressed ways to attract cultural tourists back to Egypt where the safety of visitors has never been compromised despite recent political turmoil. Laurel found the Egyptian people as friendly and welcoming as ever on the streets of Cairo and Luxor and visited a number of accessible sites including Luxor and Karnak Temples and the Tomb of Hatshepsut. Shown above: Mr. Elhamy ElZayat, Chairman, Egyptian Tourism Federation; Dr. Mamdouh Mohamed Gad ElDamaty, Minister of Antiquities; Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism.

First ATTRI User Needs Webinar

On March 3, ODO Executive Director Eric Lipp will moderate the first of a series of three webinars on Smart Technology and User Needs under a grant from ATTRI-Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative. ATTRI is a Dept. of Transportation (DOT) initative co-led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that focuses on identifying, developing and deploying transformative technologies, applications and systems that address mobility challenges of people with disabilities. Additional webinars that focus on the needs of older travelers and veterans will take place on March 24 and April 14 respectively. Each will be archived. For additional information, contact Charlene Wilder at DOT.

Pat and Iris

ODO Consultant Pat Pound is currently at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Oregon, meeting and bonding with her new dog Iris. Never one to miss an opportunity to educate, she has been coaching the new handlers on the ins and outs of air travel including seating issues. Pat also reports that, contrary to expectation, Iris's new non-metal harness will not let her sail through security since the dog's collar still sets off the alarm.

Airport Wayfinding Webinar

A webinar on Best Practices for Wayfinding and Passenger Experience Enhancing Solutions at Airports, hosted by Airport Improvement Magazine on Feb. 24, has been archived on their website.  Featured are Port Authority of NY/NJ, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Parabit Systems. Shown above is the airport virtual assistant (AVA) at EWR.

Support ODO via Amazon Smile

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Open Doors Organization.  Please bookmark this link and support us every time you shop.

2015 CRO Classes

ODO Initial Complaints Resolution Official Training will take place from March through June in a number of cities nationwide. 2015 CRO Schedule. Call 773.388.8839 or email Eric Lipp to register. Space is limited!
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