Deaf Anthology will be at the New York Times Travel Show next January attending seminars, meeting with exhibitors, and planning new Deaf tours.
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics games is now undergoing in South Korea. I had a chance to meet their Mascot, Soohorang, the white tiger and to play curling with the athletes at the New York Times Travel Show recently. The Deaflmpics winter games will be held in Italy next year. Deaf Anthology may also plan a La Triennial La Milano tour, an international exposition of architectural design and arts including a major sights such as Leonardo Da Vinci 's "Last Supper."
At the New York Times Travel Show, a journalist from the tourism authority interviewed me about my experiences on the antiquities tour of Egypt with fellow Gallaudet alumni. I recall being on the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor worrying about my roommate only to discover that he was sitting all night in the lounge bar drinking because he couldn't remember which cabin we are sleeping in. Deaf Anthology Adventurers is planning on a tour to the birthplace of our civilization that includes a stopover for lunch at a Deaf KFC franchise.
I bought up an important issue on behalf of us Deaf travelers and we had an interesting discussion in the topic. An article was published in the Travel Weekend afterwards.
During a panel discussion on the topic, a deaf man in the audience said tour operators have refused to provide sign language interpreters to deaf travelers -- or want to charge them for the service. "A deaf person does not have the same experience a hearing person does. ... We need to let deaf people also travel the world. It's an untapped market," he said. Harry Dalgaard, president of Avanti Destinations, said, "We're just scratching the surface and trying to provide the quality of the product that you need is a challenge, but it's also a focus that we need to look at. We're just exploring it." Tauck president Jennifer Tombaugh said there had not been great demand for services for deaf or hard-of-hearing travelers. "We don't do a good job on that, but we also haven't had demand for that," she said. However, the audience member was the second person in a week to bring it up to her. "We're starting to take a look at how we can provide in-depth experience to all of our potential clients out there," she said. Accommodating disabled travelers is an ongoing conversation for John Van Den Heuvel, president of Gogo Vacations. One of his good friends is a wheelchair user, keeping the issue front of mind, he said. However, like Tombaugh, he said deaf and hard-of-hearing travelers had not been on his radar. He thanked the man for bringing it up. "I appreciate it and I say thank you, and it's part of my conversation moving forward," Van Den Heuvel said. Several agents in the audience spoke up, encouraging individuals with disabilities to seek the help of an agent who specializes in assisting travelers like themselves.
Jamie Biesiada Travel Weekly
Jamie Biesiada Travel Weekly
I had an opportunity to meet with Joseph Rosendo at the New York Times Travel Show. You can watch his Travelscope series on PBS.
These Chinese translated "Deaf" into their Manchurian language as "from the heart." Deaf Anthology Adventurers is planning a Deaf tour of China next year. If you want to join any of our tours, we'll soon make an announcement sometimes in November on this blog under events. We'll be hiring Deaf group leaders, Deaf entertainers and ASL interpreters so stay tuned.
At the New York Times Travel Show, I had an opportunity to collect promotional material and asks questions, seek group rates, and discuss interpreter issues and also the possibility of arranging visits to local Deaf schools and organizations.