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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Leisure Constraints Theory & Disability Travel *


Constraints research is a distinct area of research within the field of leisure studies, which reflects the field’s traditional public sector, welfare orientation. This orientation means that ‘concern about barriers, non-participation in recreation activities and lack of leisure opportunities has always been an important progenitor of [public sector] park, recreation, and leisure’ (Goodale & Witt, 1989, p. 422). Much leisure research has therefore been as concerned with the non-participant and reasons for non-participation as with the participant and reasons for participation. The orientation of much research in the field of disability studies is similar. By contrast, most research within the field of tourism studies has traditionally been predicated on the idea of the tourist as consumer and factors that stimulate or facilitate demand. While economic constraints have been included in demand models, the focus has been on the tourist who arrives at the destination, not on the would-be tourist who is left behind. Recently this has begun to change. While tourism research has not become welfare-orientated, tourism researchers have nevertheless begun to recognise that a wider consideration of constraints may lead to a better understanding of tourist motivation, decision-making and destination image and destination choice models (Jenkins, 1999; Witt & Wright, 1992; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989).

Smith (1987) provided the first examination and categorisation of barriers to leisure-travel for people with disabilities. The barriers identified were similar to those identified by Kennedy et al. (1991) and were conceptualised as intrinsic, environmental and interactive barriers. Each of these groupings has sub-categories and is presented in Table 1.
Table 1: Leisure-travel barriers of disabled tourists
Intrinsic Barriers    
·                Lack of Knowledge
·                Health-related Problems
·                Social Ineffectiveness
·                Physical and Psychological Dependency
Environmental Barriers         
·                Attitudinal Barriers
·                Ecological
·                Architectural Barriers
·                Transportation Barriers – air travel*
·                Rules and Regulation Barriers – international air regulations*
Interactive Barriers               
·                Skill-Challenge Incongruities
·                Communication Barriers – language
Source: Smith 1987

Smith’s review involved no empirical work but drew together the considerable body of existing research on leisure barriers generally, people with disabilities specifically and the very limited literature on disability and tourism. Smith (1987:386-387) concluded by stating that people with disabilities have the same motivations to travel as the rest of the population but barriers form a ‘…network of interrelated forces that limit an individual’s opportunities to experience leisure’. Once constraints are identified the field then focuses on a relative hierarchy of the constraints and how constraints are negotiated for those that still want to participate (Jackson & Scott, 1999).

The empirical application of leisure constraints to tourism constraints began with Kerstetter & Holdnak (1990) whose research remained isolated. However, by the late 1990s, there was recognition that the constraints approach offers potential insights into tourism (Dellaert, Ettema, & Lindh, 1998; Hudson & Gilbert, 1999). Recently completed studies have begun to examine the constraints facing those undertaking particular leisure activities (Gilbert & Hudson, 2000; Williams & Fidgeon, 2000), seasonality (Hinch & Jackson, 2000), older tourists (Fleischer & Pizam, 2002) and those choosing particular environmental settings (Pennington-Gray & Gray, 2002). This includes people with disabilities where a series of studies began to examine the specific nature of tourism constraints (Darcy, 1998; Turco, Stumbo, & Garncarz, 1998). However, many other studies by their nature identify barriers or constraints to the tourism experiences of people with disabilities without applying a leisure constraints framework (e.g. Burnett & Bender-Baker, 2001; Darcy, 2002; Israeli, 2002; Ray & Ryder, 2003).

Yet, critiques of constraint models suggest that grounded analysis should be considered to examine emergent themes from people’s experiences rather than defined by the researcher (D. M. Samdahl & N. J. Jekubovich, 1997; D M. Samdahl & N J. Jekubovich, 1997). Similarly, leisure constraints research has been criticised for its reliance on quantitative, survey based methodologies that focus on social psychological paradigms. The results of leisure constraints research could be regarded as the product of a particular kind of social science rather than as objective social science research (Jackson & Scott, 1999). Taking this suggested direction Darcy’s (2004) thesis drew together leisure constraints and social model of disability approaches to present an examination of tourism constraint and negotiation by travelers with disabilities. Figure 1 presents a person enjoying an accessible destination experience where the research identified how difficult it was to find out about accessible things to do. The best interpretive study is Daniels, Drogin Rodgers, & Wiggins’ (2005) examination of a disability specific industry website where consumers posted their travel stories. They concluded an interactive rather than a hierarchical relationship between constraint categorizations.


Photo 1: Removing constraints through Auslan - Australian Sign Language - interpreted tour of the Art Gallery of NSW. The tours are available to Deaf and hearing impaired tourists to Sydney - see www.sydneyforall.com (Photo Courtesy of the Art Gallery of NSW).


The use of leisure constraints and negotiation theory offers researchers a way to better understand the complexities  facing people with disabilities when they travel. This is particularly so in countries where little research exists and provides a starting point to developing strategies to assist industry. This largely demand side approach to research provides insights into supply-side shortcomings.

Note: the above was based on a modification of Darcy (2004, pp. 77-84) 

Reference
Burnett, J. J., & Bender-Baker, H. (2001). Assessing the travel–related behaviors of the mobility–disabled consumer. Journal of Travel Research, 40(1), 4-11.
Daniels, M. J., Drogin Rodgers, E. B., & Wiggins, B. P. (2005). "Travel Tales": an interpretive analysis of constraints and negotiations to pleasure travel as experienced by persons with physical disabilities. Tourism Management, 26(6), 919-930.
Darcy, S. (1998). Anxiety to access: tourism patterns and experiences of New South Wales people with a physical disability. Sydney: Tourism New South Wales.
Darcy, S. (2002). Marginalised participation: Physical disability, high support needs and tourism. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 9(1), 61-72.
Darcy, S. (2004). Disabling Journeys: the Social Relations of Tourism for People with Impairments in Australia - an analysis of government tourism authorities and accommodation sector practices and discourses, Faculty of Business Available from http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/dspace/handle/2100/260
Dellaert, B. G. C., Ettema, D. F., & Lindh, C. (1998). Multi-faceted tourist travel decisions: a constraint-based conceptual framework to describe tourists' sequential choices of travel components. Tourism Management, 19(4), 313-320.
Fleischer, A., & Pizam, A. (2002). Tourism constraints among Israeli seniors. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(1), 106-123.
Gilbert, D., & Hudson, S. (2000). Tourism demand constraints: A skiing participation. Annals of Tourism Research, 27(4), 906-925.
Goodale, T. L., & Witt, P. A. (1989). Recreation Non-Participation and Barriers to Leisure. In E. L. Jackson & T. L. Burton (Eds.), Understanding Leisure and Recreation: Mapping the Past, Charting the Future. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.
Hinch, T. D., & Jackson, E. L. (2000). Leisure constraints research: its value as a framework for understanding tourism seasonality. Current Issues in Tourism, 3(2), 87-107.
Hudson, S., & Gilbert, D. (1999). Tourism constraints: the neglected dimension in consumer behaviour research. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 8(4), 69-78.
Israeli, A. (2002). A Preliminary Investigation of the Importance of Site Accessibility Factors for Disabled Tourists. [Swetswise]. Journal of Travel Research, 41(1), 101-104.
Jackson, E. L., & Scott, D. (1999). Constraints to leisure. In E. L. Jackson & T. L. Burton (Eds.), Leisure studies: Prospects for the twenty-first century (pp. 299-332). State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
Jenkins, O. H. (1999). Understanding and Measuring Tourist Destination Images. International Journal of Tourism Research, 1(1), 1-15.
Kerstetter, D., & Holdnak, A. (1990). Comparison of Perceived Travel Constraints to Travel Behaviour - Characteristics of College-Educated Mature Adults: An Exploratory Study. Paper presented at the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association Research Symposium. Amelia Island, Florida.
Pennington-Gray, L. A., & Gray, D. L. (2002). Testing a constraints model within the context of nature-based tourism. Journal of Travel Research, 40(4), 416-423.
Ray, N. M., & Ryder, M. E. (2003). "Ebilities" tourism: an exploratory discussion of the travel needs and motivations of the mobility-disabled. Tourism Management, 24(1), 57-72.
Samdahl, D. M., & Jekubovich, N. J. (1997). A critique of leisure constraints: Comparative analyses and understandings. Journal of Leisure Research, 29(4), 430-452.
Samdahl, D. M., & Jekubovich, N. J. (1997). A rejoinder to Henderson's and Jackson's commentaries on "A critique of leisure constraints". Journal of Leisure Research, 29(4), 469-471.
Smith, R. (1987). Leisure of disabled tourists: barriers to participation. Annals of Tourism Research, 14(3), 376-389.
Turco, D. M., Stumbo, N., & Garncarz, J. (1998). Tourism Constraints - People with Disabilities. Parks and Recreation Journal, 33(9), 78-84.
Williams, P., & Fidgeon, P. R. (2000). Addressing participation constraint: a case study of potential skiers. Tourism Management, 21(4), 379-393.
Witt, C. A., & Wright, P. L. (1992). Tourist motivation: life after Maslow. In P. Johnston & B. Thomas (Eds.), Choice and Demand in Tourism (pp. 33-55). London: Mansell.
Woodside, A. G., & Lysonski, S. (1989). A general model of traveller destination choice. Journal of Travel Research, 27(4), 8-14.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update on national travel patterns from the UK



In an update to a previous post on new research coming out of the UK on the travel patterns of people with disabilities is the publication of a new resource called Accessible tourism: Making it work for your business (UK Department for Culture Media and Sport, 2010). The publication uses the first the data available from the UK tourism survey data. To summarise the report, there are over 11 million people in England with a disability (almost one in five people). Twelve per cent of “all overnight domestic trips in England between January and June 2009 were made by visitors with access needs, contributing almost £1bn to the economy” (2010, p3). This proportion of overall travel attributed to the accessible tourism market is almost identical to the US and Australian data (Dwyer & Darcy, 2008; Van Horn, 2007). What is interesting is that the data is only for the six-month period and when this data has gone through a full year of collection, the economic contribution is likely to double to £2bn. The travel expenditure data shows that people with disabilities have on average a longer trip (4 as opposed to 3 nights) and, hence, have a greater overall spend of £216 as opposed to £197. The report also comes with some excellent case studies that show the benefits of access provision to businesses. One example is an accessible accommodation provider whose occupancy is 97% as opposed to the regional average of 55%. We look forward to more data as it is published. A special thank you to Ivor Ambrose from ENAT for keeping us informed of European updates. 

References
Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2008). Chapter 4 - Economic contribution of disability to tourism in Australia. In S. Darcy, B. Cameron, L. Dwyer, T. Taylor, E. Wong & A. Thomson (Eds.), Technical Report 90040: Visitor accessibility in urban centres (pp. 15-21). Gold Coast: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre. http://www.crctourism.com.au/BookShop/BookDetail.aspx?d=626 
UK Department for Culture Media and Sport (2010). Accessible tourism: Making it work for your business Available from http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/DCMS_Accessible_Tourism_Report.pdf
Van Horn, L. (2007). Disability Travel In The United States: Recent Research And Findings. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED) - "Benchmarking, Evaluation and Vision for the Future". , June 18-22, 2007, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

US & Canadian study takes a different research approach: A profile of travellers looking for accessible travel destinations


A follow up to the post on National Tourism Patterns of People with Disabilities is a study I was notified of that takes a different approach to researching the relative importance of accessibility of a destination in tourist travel choice. The report was based on the 2006 Travel Activities and Motivations Survey (TAMS) (n = 80,000) where 27 percent of American travelers and 21 percent of Canadian travelers identified whether a destination was “disabled-person-friendly” as a “highly important or somewhat important” consideration in their decision making for an out-of-town pleasure or vacation trip. This research also supported the other national comparative research in that on average travellers looking for accessible destinations take slightly fewer trips than other travellers. Not surprisingly given the name of the survey, the report provides detailed comparisons of motivations and activities of those that did place a degree of importance on a “disabled-person-friendly” destination and those who did not. However, the research did not include a disability module or identify the relative support needs of those responding, which would have provided a greater opportunity for understanding the market segment.

Ontario Ministry of Tourism (2007). A profile of travellers looking for accessible travel destinations: An Overview of North American Travellers based on the 2006 Travel Activities and Motivations Survey (TAMS) Available from http://www.tourism.gov.on.ca/english/research/travel_activities/accessible_travel.htm



Monday, January 11, 2010

National Travel Patterns of People with Disabilities


For an emerging area of study there is relatively little known about the consumer demand side of the travel patterns of people with disabilities globally. As discussed previously in the blog entry on economic estimates, most estimates were based on a gross demand approach using disability secondary data sources with no specific empirical research investigating the travel patterns of people with disabilities. However, over the last decade this has started to change with empirical research being carried out in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, the UK and the US (see references at end of entry). This work is starting to provide a more sophisticated understanding of the market dynamics. 

As Figure 1 shows, Australian research provides clear evidence that there is a difference in travel pattern between people with disability and the nondisabled that is different across day trips, overnight domestic trips and outbound trips. People with disability travel at the same rate as the nondisabled for day trips but travel at significantly less for overnight domestic trips (21% less) and outbound trips (52% less) (See Dwyer & Darcy 2008; 2011). The research suggests that as travel planning becomes more complex, expensive and requires air travel that many people with disability opt out as they cannot guarantee that their access needs will be met.



Figure 1: Comparative Travel Patterns between People with Disability & the Non-Disabled (Source: Darcy 2010)

Most work has focused on mobility disability with only two studies providing comparative analysis of the travel patterns of different disability groups e.g. mobility, vision, hearing etc (Darcy 2003; OpenDoors 2005). However, a much more sophisticated understanding of the role of the level of support needs or level of independence has been developed by a larger number of the studies (Burnett & Bender Baker 2001; Darcy 2002, 2003; OpenDoors 2005; Bi, Card & Cole 2007). Only three studies employed a comparative sample of the general population and that of people with disabilities – with these studies conclusively showing that people with disabilities have lower levels of travel than the general population (Woodside & Etzel 1980; Darcy 2003; Dwyer & Darcy 2008). Only one study has been part of national tourism data collection, which provided an opportunity to compare detailed tourist behavior across all areas including spending patterns (Dwyer and Darcy 2008). VisitEngland’s most recent UK Tourism Survey (ENAT 2009) offers a similar approach to the Australian study and we look forward to the publishing of the UK comparative travel patterns between people with disabilities and the general population.

Question to Readers of the Blog
Are there other studies that readers know about? Please send copies & I will incorporate these into this blog.

Australia
Darcy, S. (1998). Anxiety to access: tourism patterns and experiences of New South Wales people with a physical disability. Sydney: Tourism New South Wales.
Darcy, S. (2002). Marginalised participation: Physical disability, high support needs and tourism. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 9(1), 61-72.
Darcy, S. (2003, 5-8 February). Disabling journeys: The tourism patterns of people with impairments in Australia. Paper presented at the Riding the Wave of Tourism and Hospitality Research, CAUTHE - Southern Cross University, Lismore.

Darcy, S. (2010). Inherent complexity: Disability, accessible tourism and accommodation information preferences. Tourism Management, 31(6), 816-826. 
Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2008). Chapter 4 - Economic contribution of disability to tourism in Australia. In S. Darcy, B. Cameron, L. Dwyer, T. Taylor, E. Wong & A. Thomson (Eds.), Technical Report 90040: Visitor accessibility in urban centres (pp. 15-21). Gold Coast: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.

Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2011). Chapter 14 - Economic Contribution of Tourists with Disabilities: An Australian Approach and Methodology. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 213-239). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.



Canada
Keroul (2001). A Growth Market: Behaviours of Tourists with Restricted Physical Abilities in Canada. Quebec: Keroul.

China
Bi, Y., Card, J. A., & Cole, S. T. (2007). Accessibility and Attitudinal Barriers Encountered by Chinese Travellers with Physical Disabilities. Int. J. Tourism Res, 9, 205-216.

New Zealand
Rhodda, S. (2007). Tourism for Visitors to New Zealand with Mobility Problems: a West Coast Perspective. Greymouth: Tai Poutini Polytechnic.

United Kingdom
English Tourism Council (2000). People with Disabilities and Holiday Taking. London: English Tourist Council.
Shaw, G., & Coles, T. (2004). Disability, holiday making and the tourism industry in the UK: a preliminary survey. Tourism Management, 25(3), 397-403.
ENAT (2009). UK Tourism Firms Encouraged to Improve Accessibility Retrieved 26 December, 2009, from http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.news.713

United States
Woodside, A. G., & Etzel, M. J. (1980). Impact of physical and mental handicaps on vacation travel behaviour. Journal of Travel Research, 18(3), 9-11.
 OpenDoors(2005, January). Research among adults with disabilities - travel and hospitality, with HarrisInteractive Market Research from http://www.opendoorsnfp.org/page3.html
Burnett, J. J., & Bender-Baker, H. (2001). Assessing the travel–related behaviors of the mobility–disabled consumer. Journal of Travel Research, 40(1), 4-11.
Van Horn, L. (2007). Disability Travel In The United States: Recent Research And Findings. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED) - "Benchmarking, Evaluation and Vision for the Future". , June 18-22, 2007, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Published Research from NZ on Mobility Disability and Attitudes to Motorised Access of Wilderness


An interesting new article that analyses the comparative attitudes of people with mobility disabilities and the general public to the provision of motorized access to wilderness environments in New Zealand.
Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Brent A. Lovelocka
a Centre for Recreation Research, Department of Tourism, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand


Abstract
Managers of remote and wilderness environments have been among the last to accommodate the needs of tourists with mobility-disabilities…(shortened due to copyright restrictions).


Keywords: Mobility-disability; Motorised; Access; Wilderness; Nature; Environmental attitude


Full reference:

Lovelock, B. A. (2010). Planes, trains and wheelchairs in the bush: Attitudes of people with mobility-disabilities to enhanced motorised access in remote natural settings. Tourism Management, 31(3), 357-366.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Economic Contribution of Accessible Tourism

One of the most frequent questions asked by advocates and industry alike is “what is the value of the accessible tourism market?”. There are surprisingly few studies that have examined this question. The following discussion is an updated extract from a recent article that presents a summary economic estimate studies  (Darcy & Dickson, 2009).


A number of the seminal studies first drew attention to the market potential of the accessible tourism in the US, UK and Canada through using national secondary data sources and extrapolating the market potential of the group (Keroul, 1995; Reedy, 1993; Touche Ross, 1993). This work was then extended by Australian, US, German and European researchers to estimate the value of accessible tourism within their localities by researching travel patterns and using gross demand estimates based on the population estimates of disability within communities. These included:
·         Australia -              $A1.3 billion (Darcy, 1998);
·         US -                       $US13 billion (HarrisInteractive Market Research, 2002, 2005; Van Horn, 2007);
·         Germany -             €2.5 billion (Neumann & Reuber, 2004); and
·         Europe -                €80 billion (Buhalis, Michopoulou, Eichhorn, & Miller, 2005).



The above studies were based on domestic estimates of the potential market of people with disabilities. The exceptions to this were in the US and Australia where the estimates included data on the travel patterns as a proportion of people with disabilities who take a holiday each year. From an inbound perspective, less work has been done on the travel patterns of people with disabilities when they travel internationally. With the limited work that has been completed, it has been estimated that 7-8% of international travellers have a disability (Darcy, 2003; HarrisInteractive Market Research, 2005) and it is this group who directly contribute to increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the economy through inbound tourism being an invisible export (Dwyer, Forsyth, & Spurr, 2004). While these studies used the best available data for their time, economists had questioned the validity and reliability of gross demand estimates (Dwyer, et al., 2004)

Dwyer and Darcy (2008), through the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre drew on a more sophisticated approach utilising the Tourism Satellite Accounts (Dwyer, Deery, Jago, Spurr, & Fredline, 2007) to bring about a more reliable estimate of the economic contribution of accessible tourism together with other major national secondary data sources of the Disability, Ageing and Carers Survey (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004) and the National Visitor Survey (Bureau of Tourism Research, 2003). The other contribution of this work was to estimate the latent demand that could be further developed through a more considered approach to enabling accessible tourism (Dwyer & Darcy, 2008). This work estimates that the economic contribution of domestic overnight accessible tourism to the Australian economy is A$4.8bn or approximately 11 percent of the current tourism market. Yet, the potential domestic overnight accessible tourism market was estimated to be worth A$8.7bn or potential latent demand of A$3.9bn (Dwyer & Darcy, 2008). These figures do not incorporate the inbound potential as no valid and reliable research is available to estimate the contribution of this segment. Table 1 provides detailed expenditure data derived from the National Visitor Survey for overnight stays.


Table 1 Detailed expenditure data derived from the National Visitor Survey for overnight stays (Dwyer & Darcy 2008)


*Please note that VisitEngland’s most recent UK Tourism Survey (ENAT, 2009) has for the first time included a disability module. This data will provide an opportunity for comparative travel patterns between people with disabilities and the nondisabled to be analysed. Hopefully Visit England will be encouraged to develop economic estimates of accessible tourism from this valuable data.

Question to Readers of the Blog
Are there other economic estimate or contribution studies that readers know about? Please send copies & I will incorporate these into this blog.

References
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004). Disability Ageing and Carers Summary Of Findings, 2003 (Cat No. 4430.0). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Buhalis, D., Michopoulou, E., Eichhorn, V., & Miller, G. (2005). Accessibility market and stakeholder analysis - One-Stop-Shop for Accessible Tourism in Europe (OSSATE). Surrey, United Kingdom: University of Surrey.
Bureau of Tourism Research (2003). National visitor survey: travel by Australians Retrieved 10 September, 2007, from www.btr.gov.au
Darcy, S. (1998). Anxiety to access: tourism patterns and experiences of New South Wales people with a physical disability. Sydney: Tourism New South Wales.
Darcy, S., & Dickson, T. (2009). A Whole-of-Life Approach to Tourism: The Case for Accessible Tourism Experiences. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 16(1), 32-44.
Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2008). Chapter 4 - Economic contribution of disability to tourism in Australia. In S. Darcy, B. Cameron, L. Dwyer, T. Taylor, E. Wong & A. Thomson (Eds.), Technical Report 90040: Visitor accessibility in urban centres (pp. 15-21). Gold Coast: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.
Dwyer, L., Deery, M., Jago, L., Spurr, R., & Fredline, L. (2007). Adapting the Tourism Satellite Account Conceptual Framework to Measure the Economic Importance of the Meetings Industry. Tourism Analysis, 12(4), 247-255.
Dwyer, L., Forsyth, P., & Spurr, R. (2004). Evaluating tourism's economic effects: new and old approaches. Tourism Management, 25(3), 307-317.
ENAT (2009). UK Tourism Firms Encouraged to Improve Accessibility Retrieved 8 January, 2010, from http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.news.713
HarrisInteractive Market Research (2002). Research among adults with disabilities - travel and hospitality. Chicago: Open Doors Organization.
HarrisInteractive Market Research (2005). Research among adults with disabilities - travel and hospitality. Chicago: Open Doors Organization.
Keroul (1995). Tourism for People with Restricted Physical Ability. Quebec: Keroul.
Neumann, P., & Reuber, P. (2004). Economic Impulses of Accessible Tourism for All (Vol. 526). Berlin: Study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology & Federal Ministry of Economic and Labour (BMWA).
Reedy, J. (1993). Marketing to consumers with disabilities: how to identify and meet the growing market needs of 43 million Americans. Chicago, Ill: Probus Pub Co.
Touche Ross (1993). Profiting from Opportunities - A new market for tourism. London: Touche Ross & Co.
Van Horn, L. (2007). Disability Travel In The United States: Recent Research And Findings. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED) - "Benchmarking, Evaluation and Vision for the Future". , June 18-22, 2007, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Towards a Definition of Accessible Touirism

Defining Accessible Tourism


It is interesting that while accessible tourism has been developing as an area of academic study and industry practice, there has been relatively little discussion defining the field. Most study has focused on the experiences of people with disabilities while travelling without an articulation of the defining elements of the field. My own Ph.D. took such an approach where it drew its definitional inspiration from the theoretical areas of disability studies (see Gleeson, 1999; Oliver, 1996), leisure constraints (see Daniels, Drogin Rodgers, & Wiggins, 2005; Jackson & Scott, 1999), tourism systems (see Leiper, 2003; Leiper, Stear, Hing, & Firth, 2008) and human rights approaches (see Darcy & Taylor, 2009; United Nations, 2006) to propose a Comprehensive Tourism Access Model (CoTAM) as a way to understand the experiences that people with disabilities have while travelling (Darcy, 2004). As we can see by Figure 1, CoTAM provided a way to articulate the relationships between these very different bodies of theory.

Figure 1: The Comprehensive Tourism Access Model (CoTAM)

Source: Darcy 2004 p331.


Yet, at this stage of my research I was very much focused on the relationship between disability and tourism where the development of a body of knowledge that we now call accessible tourism was a logical progression. Not long after the completion of my PhD I started to think more broadly about definitional issues and what constituted accessible tourism. An opportunity arose to develop A Research Agenda For Accessible Tourism in Australia through funding provided by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre. The agenda was the outcome of a national workshop that brought together 50 they told was from the tourism industry, disability advocacy movement, government representatives and individuals with expertise in the area. The workshop used a series of focus group activities to brainstorm the issues facing disability and tourism from each of the stakeholder perspectives. In writing up the ideas captured in the workshop, I brought together the literature that discusses the relationship between disability and ageing (see Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004; World Health Organization, 2007), disability studies, universal design (see Center for Universal Design, 2009; Preiser & Ostroff, 2001), building codes (see Standards Australia, 2009; U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers and Compliance Board (Access Board), 2002; UN ESCAP, 2008) and human rights approaches to disability. Through examining the ideas outlined by the approaches and what people contributed in the workshop I proposed that accessible tourism could be defined as,


… a process of enabling people with disabilities and seniors to function independently and with equity and dignity through the delivery of universal tourism products, services and environments (adapted from Olympic Co-ordination Authority, 1999). The definition is inclusive of the mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access (Darcy, 2006, p. 6).


More recent work with Dr Tracey Dickson on Alpine Accessible Tourism (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008) has provided an extension to this definition through the Whole of Life Approach to disability (Darcy & Dickson, 2009). This approach has a nexus to universal design where access is not isolated to disability but is more broadly linked to people’s bodily states over their lifespan. This provided the opportunity to be far more inclusive of a broader group of people who benefit from access provisions. The following definition incorporates these ideas:


Accessible tourism enables people with access requirements, including mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access, to function independently and with equity and dignity through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environments. This definition is inclusive of all people including those travelling with children in prams, people with disabilities and seniors (Darcy & Dickson, 2009, p. 34).


More recently we have been drawing on the destination management approaches to suggest that tourism industry needs to provide high quality accessible destination experiences to provide a ‘sense of place’ so critical to tourism. These ideas have been developed and implemented through the Alpine Accessible Tourism project as well as the Visitor Accessibility in Urban Centres project (Darcy, et al., 2008) and Tourism Australia’s Accessible Drive Tourism Routes (Cameron, 2008). From these projects it is proposed that accessible destination experiences can be defined as:


Accessible destination experiences take direction from universal design principles to offer independent, dignified and equitable quintessential experiences that provide a ‘sense of place’ within the destination region for people with access requirements (Darcy, et al., 2008, p. 51).


I would like to ask those of you reading these ideas to contribute your thoughts so that we can develop a more robust basis on which to define and research the field.

References
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004). Disability Ageing and Carers Summary Of Findings, 2003 (Cat No. 4430.0). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Cameron, B. (2008). Accessible Drive Tourism Routes Available from http://www.tourism.australia.com/
Center for Universal Design (2009). Universal Design Principles Retrieved 20 May, 2009, from http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm
Daniels, M. J., Drogin Rodgers, E. B., & Wiggins, B. P. (2005). "Travel Tales": an interpretive analysis of constraints and negotiations to pleasure travel as experienced by persons with physical disabilities. Tourism Management, 26(6), 919-930.
Darcy, S. (2004). Disabling Journeys: the Social Relations of Tourism for People with Impairments in Australia - an analysis of government tourism authorities and accommodation sector practices and discourses. Unpublished Ph.D., University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney.
Darcy, S. (2006). Setting a Research Agenda for Accessible Tourism. In C. Cooper, T. D. LacY & L. Jago (Eds.), STCRC Technical Report Seriespp. 48). Available from http://www.crctourism.com.au/BookShop/BookDetail.aspx?d=473
Darcy, S., Cameron, B., Dwyer, L., Taylor, T., Wong, E., & Thomson, A. (2008). Technical Report 90064: Visitor accessibility in urban centrespp. 75). Available from http://www.crctourism.com.au/BookShop/BookDetail.aspx?d=626
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