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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Comparable levels of travel between PwD and the Nondisabled

I was recently asked what were the compatible levels of travel between people with disabilities and nondisabled. Interestingly, there has been relatively little work done in this area. The earliest work was Woodside and Etzel (1980) who undertook the first empirical study on disability and tourism that sought to discover the role of physical and mental conditions on tourism vacation behaviour. The survey found that 10 percent of the 590 respondents to a household survey in the US State of South Carolina who had gone on a trip had a member of their party with a ‘physical or mental condition’. They concluded that while the demographic characteristics of those travelling did not vary significantly from other households, those with a person with a disability had lower level of travel than the general population.

Only the Australian government's Bureau of Tourism Research (2003 now Tourism Research Australia) have collected data at a national level that allows comparison between the rates of travel for people with disabilities and the general population. The data has been used to estimate comparative travel patterns between different disability groups as well as the basis for economic contribution studies (Darcy, 2003; Darcy et al., 2008). This work was succinctly summarized by Darcy (2010, pp. 816-817):

As shown in Figure 1, Dwyer and Darcy (2008) use the Australian National Visitor Survey demographic data to identify the statistically significant differences between the comparative travel patterns of PwD and the nondisabled. While day trips occur at the same level (p = .992), the nondisabled travel at 21% higher rate for overnight stays (p = .000) and 52% higher rate for overseas travel (p = .000). Other studies have identified that problems with finding accessible accommodation during the travel planning stage was noted as a significant constraint to overnight and overseas travel.

Figure 1: Comparative travel patterns between PwD and the Nondisabled

What was not specifically stated was that people with a disability as a proportion of all travellers made up 13% of the daytripper market, 11% of the domestic overnight travel market and 7% of outbound travellers. The proportion of the outbound travel market was also supported by the US Open Doors Organization study that found that approximately 7% of the overseas travel market was made up of people with disabilities (HarrisInteractive Market Research, 2003, 2005).

The question that I pose lurkers on this blog is, “are there other data sources that compare the travel rates of people with disabilities and the nondisabled?”

I look forward to your responses.


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