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TIA’s Dr. Suzanne Cook and Bob Sharak of CLIA to Keynote SATH World Congress for Travelers with Disabilities and the Mature

Jan 5, 2004
SATH is proud to announce that Dr. Suzanne Cook, Senior VP, Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) is the recipient of The SATH Access to Freedom Award for 2003 --“The Steuben Crystal Star Stream.”Dr. Cook will accept her award at the SATH 8th World Congress, in Miami, Florida, January 15, 2004. Presenting the Steuben glass sculpture “Crystal Star Stream” on behalf of SATH will be Ruth Vidockler, co-founder of SATH and widow of ASTA Hall-of-Famer Murray Vidockler, CTC. Acting as co-presenters of the Access to Freedom Award will be last year’s Recipient, Pat Gray, Manager Travel Industry Relations, American Express Travel; Stuart Vidockler, Chairman, SATH; and Stephen Mydanick, Director, Corporate Affairs for SATH.

In presenting the “Access to Freedom” award, SATH honors and salutes both the unstinting devotion and far-reaching vision of our recipient, Dr. Cook and the TIA. According to Steve Mydanick, “ SATH was instrumental in bringing Dr. Cook to the table to make the recent survey a reality”.

Open Doors Organization, with the sponsorship of TIA and SATH, commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a groundbreaking research study among Americans with disabilities (aged 18 and older), to identify and quantify the needs and interests of people with disabilities with respect to the travel, entertainment and hospitality industry; that has led to the paving of new paths in accessibility. According to Fortune Magazine, people with disabilities represent more than 1 trillion US Dollars in aggregate income. The study clearly shows that people with disabilities are a very viable group of consumers, if their needs are met.

Dr. Suzanne D. Cook is the Senior Vice President of Research & Technology for Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). She is responsible for overseeing the work of TIA’s research department as well as the association’s technological initiatives and its web site. She directs a multi-faceted program of marketing, economic and international research and report publications. TIA also conducts the TIA Travel Survey and Travelscope, two ongoing surveys providing national as well as state and city data on Americans’ travel behavior. Dr. Cook was instrumental in the development of both. It now is an additional feather in her cap that her support was crucial to the above-mentioned study to ascertain the basic habits and travel patterns of adults with disabilities. Dr. Cook joined TIA in 1977. Prior to that, she held the position of Senior Project Director for the Arbitron Company, a major broadcasting research firm. She received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Psychology from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The exquisite Steuben crystal sculpture “Star Stream” is a symbol “reflecting the bond between two entities” - SATH-Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality and American Express, both of whom have been actively working for accessibility for travelers with disabilities for many years.

Also on the agenda is Bob Sharak, Executive Director of CLIA, who will address how the cruise industry is responding to the growing market for travelers with disabilities. Sharak will be the keynote speaker on Thursday morning, January 15, 2004.