All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games drive Accessible Tourism as an area of legacy



In keeping with the Alpine tourism theme of the previous blog entry from the Australian Alpine regions, we see that the 2010 winter at Olympic and Paralympic Games is driving an Accessible Tourism Strategy for a consortium of organizations (2010 Legacies Now, 2010a). The premise of the strategy is part of a broader push to make sure that there is a planned and ongoing legacy for the 2010 Winter games. The legacy areas: aboriginal; arts; disability; learning and literacy; sport and healthy living; and volunteering (2010 Legacies Now, 2010b). With regard to disability, the 2010 Legacies Now website states:
Leading up to, and beyond, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 2010 Legacies Now is working with the Province of BC, Tourism BC, and numerous other partners to help make BC a premier travel destination for people with disabilities” (2010 Legacies Now, 2010b).
Within disability there are five noted legacies of which accessible tourism is one. Unlike the approach taken by the Snow Mountains accessible tourism resources (Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association, 2010) that were based on the research process outlined for the Australian Accessible Alpine Tourism project (Cameron, 2000, 2004, 2008; Dickson & Hurrell, 2008), the main document focuses on an accessibility icon rating accreditation system for businesses (2010 Legacies Now, 2010a). The document outlines the process for determining  accessibility across mobility, hearing and vision dimensions of access through a set of detailed criteria. The relative advantages and disadvantages of icon rating systems for accessibility have been contentious and the reasons well examined in the literature (Eichhorn, Miller, Michopoulou, & Buhalis, 2008). It will be interesting to monitor the experiences of people with disabilities attending the games to gauge the relative success of this icon ratings system.

What is exciting is that the 2010  Vancouver Winter of Olympic and Paralympic Games is planning for and developing a strategy for sustainable legacies. Very little work on Paralympic legacies has been completed in the past. A new book by David Legg and Keith Gilbert titled The Paralympic Games: Legacy and Regeneration (2010) is due for release later this year that will provide a detailed examination of this poorly researched area.


References
2010 Legacies Now. (2010a). Accessible Tourism Strategy: accessibility rating icon guidelines business Available from http://www.2010legaciesnow.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Accessible_Tourism/Brand_Standard-Business.pdf
2010 Legacies Now. (2010b). Disability programs.   Retrieved 9 February, 2010, from http://www.2010legaciesnow.com/disability/
Cameron, B. (2000). Easy Access Australia (2nd ed.). Kew, Vic: Kew Publishing.
Cameron, B. (2004, 20-22 September). Accessible tourism product-the future. Paper presented at the Out of the blue: Valuing the disability market in tourism.  The 5th National NICAN Conference, Perth, Western Australia.
Cameron, B. (2008). Accessible Drive Tourism Routes Available from http://www.tourism.australia.com/
Dickson, T., & Hurrell, M. (Writer). (2008). Alpine Accessibility Tourism Toolkit [DVD]. In T. Dickson (Producer). Australia: Australian Tourism Development Program/Australian Federal Government Initiative.
Eichhorn, V., Miller, G., Michopoulou, E., & Buhalis, D. (2008). Enabling access to tourism through information schemes? Annals of Tourism Research, 35(1), 189-210.
Legg, D., & Gilbert, K. (Eds.). (2010). The Paralympic Games: Legacy and Regeneration. Champaign, IL USA: Commonground Publishing.
Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association. (2010). Accessible accommodation and attractions.   Retrieved 6 Feb, 2010, from http://snowymountains.com.au/Accessible_Accommodation.html http://snowymountains.com.au/Accessible_Attractions.html



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