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, February 20, 2010

The United Nations' conventions, the World Tourism Organisation and Accessible Tourism Policy


The UN human rights conventions have been in existence since 1948 (United Nations, 1948). It wasn’t until 1975 that people with disabilities were specifically identified in a declaration with the subsequent actions and declarations reinforcing that people with disabilities should enjoy the same rights of citizenship as those without disabilities (United Nations, 1975, 1976, 1993). More recently, the United Nations (2006, 2008) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities became a galvanizing agent for operationalising these rights within each signatory country. Yet,  countries operationalise these rights under their own legislative and policy frameworks.  Given the various UN conventions over the years, it is surprising that only 40 countries have introduced specific disability discrimination legislation (United Nations, 2009). Table 1 shows, a chronology of disability discrimination legislation for a sample of countries.

Table 1: National Disability Discrimination Legislation

Year
Country
Legislation
1990
United States
Americans with Disabilities Act
1990
China
The Law of People's Republic of China on the Protection of Disabled Persons
1992
Australia
Disability Discrimination Act
1995
United Kingdom
Disability Discrimination Act
1995
India
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act
1996
Costa Rica
Law No. 7600 on Equality for Persons with Disabilities
1996
Hong Kong
Disability Discrimination Ordinance (1996)



Source: (UN ESCAP, 2008; United Nations, 2009)

Similarly, the UN World Tourism Organisation has been active in promoting the rights of travelers with disabilities through a series of statements (World Tourism Organization, 1985, 1991, 2005). The latest of these directly supports the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities where Article 30 includes tourism within its discussion of the cultural industries. Figure 1 shows that the WTO identify the importance of universally asccessible tourism (source: http://unwto.org/en/about/unwto ).Yet, the WTO has not deployed resources beyond these statements but has operated programs, research and development opportunities in many other areas. So where does this leave the use of such international declarations in respect to improving the material position of people with disabilities on the ground? Nation states must still implement the goodwill of these declarations through their own frameworks whereas government’s resource and regulate their implementation of the UN Convention as a way to empower people with disabilities to achieve all their rights of citizenship. However, the presence of antidiscrimination legislation does not guarantee its implementation or a change in the material position of those that it is designed to empower (Handley, 2001; Heap, Lorenzo, & Thomas, 2009).


Figure 1: Shows that the WTO identify the importance of universally asccessible tourism (source: http://unwto.org/en/about/unwto )

What research has been carried out on the implementation of human rights legislation in nation states as it relates to accessible tourism provision? First, there are other disciplines and fields of study that have carried out significant research on the impact of disability legislation generally and comparatively for countries (Burns & Gordon, 2009), the accessibility of the built environment (Imrie, 1996, 2000; Prideaux & Roulstone, 2009) and the accessibility of transportation systems (Aldred & Woodcock, 2008) . This body of research can provide major insights into how each nation state regards accessibility for its citizens. Yet, as we know people with disabilities and those who benefit from the accessible tourism provision face many tourism specific issues when they travel away from their place of residence into unfamiliar territory. These have been documented literature and I refer you back  to the blog entry on constraints

While many studies and articles refer to human rights legislation as an important reason to undertake studies on accessible tourism, very few studies analyse the relative impacts or outcomes of the human rights laws. A small but growing body of literature that examines the outcomes of human rights legislation as it impacts on accessible tourism is beginning to emerge. The most well-developed body of research is within the UK (Goodall, Pottinger, Dixon, & Russell, 2004; Miller & Kirk, 2002; Shaw, 2007; Shaw, Veitch, & Coles, 2005), the US (Davies & Beasley, 1994; Gallagher & Hull, 1996; Griffin Dolon, 2000; US Dept Justice, 2007 ; Van Horn, 2007) and Australia (Darcy & Taylor, 2009; Public Interest Advocacy Centre, 2007; Small & Darcy, 2010). These issues certainly affect other countries and there has been significant coverage of air travel disability and embodiement discrimination in the media in France, South Africa, India, Canada and Malaysia. I called for other researchers in other countries to include an analysis of the human rights implications of accessible tourism as part of their research agenda for their own citizens as well as those who travel to their countries.

References
Aldred, R., & Woodcock, J. (2008). Transport: challenging disabling environments. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 13(6), 485–496.
Burns, K. K., & Gordon, G. L. (2009). Analyzing the Impact of Disability Legislation in Canada and the United States. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 1044207309344562.
Darcy, S., & Taylor, T. (2009). Disability citizenship: An Australian human rights analysis of the cultural industries. Leisure Studies, 28(4), 419-441.
Davies, T. D., Jr., & Beasley, K. A. (1994). Accessible design for hospitality: ADA guidelines for planning accessible hotels, motels and other recreational facilities. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Gallagher, J. M., & Hull, A. H. (1996). Cruise ship accommodations for passengers with physical limitations due to disability or age. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 50(8), 685-687.
Goodall, B., Pottinger, G., Dixon, T., & Russell, H. (2004). Heritage property, tourism and the UK Disability Discrimination Act. Property Management, 22(5), 345-357.
Griffin Dolon, J. (2000). Accessibility, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the natural environment as a tourist resource. anatolia: International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 11(2), 101-110.
Handley, P. (2001). 'Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place': Anti-discrimination legislation in the liberal state and the fate of the Australian Disability Discrimination Act. Australian Journal of Political Science, 36(3), 515-528.
Heap, M., Lorenzo, T., & Thomas, J. (2009). ‘We've moved away from disability as a health issue, it's a human rights issue’: reflecting on 10 years of the right to equality in South Africa. Disability & Society, 24(7), 857-868.
Imrie, R. (1996). Disability and the city: international perspectives. London: Paul Chapman.
Imrie, R. (2000). Disabling environments and the geography of access policies and practices. Disability & Society, 15(1), 5-24.
Miller, G. A., & Kirk, E. (2002). The Disability Discrimination Act: Time for the stick? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 10(1), 82-88.
Prideaux, S., & Roulstone, A. (2009). Good practice for providing disabled people with reasonable access to the built environment. Built Environment, 1(1), 59-81.
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. (2007). Flight Closed: Report on the experiences of People with Disabilities in Domestic Airline Travel in Australia. Sydney: Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Shaw, G. (2007). Disability legislation and empowerment of tourists with disability in the United Kingdom. In A. Church & T. Coles (Eds.), Tourism, Power and Space (pp. 83-100). London: Routledge.
Shaw, G., Veitch, C., & Coles, T. I. M. (2005). Access, disability, and tourism: changing responses in the United Kingdom. Tourism Review International, 8(3), 167-176.
Small, J., & Darcy, S. (2010). Chapter 4: Tourism, disability and mobility. In S. Cole & N. Morgan (Eds.), Tourism and Inequality: Problems and Prospects (in press) (pp. pp1-30). Wallingford CABI.
UN ESCAP. (2008). Disability at a glance: a Profile of 28 Countries and Areas in Asia and the Pacific (Vol. 2002,  Available from http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability
United Nations. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Geneva. www.un.org/Overview/rights.html: United Nations.
United Nations. (1975). Declaration on the rights of disabled persons. Geneva. www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/72.htm: United Nations.
United Nations. (1976). The International Year of Disabled Persons 1981 (General Assembly resolution 31/123). Geneva. www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/disiydp.htm: United Nations.
United Nations. (1993). Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (General Assembly resolution 48/96). Geneva: United Nations.
United Nations. (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm: United Nations General Assembly A/61/611 - 6 December 2006.
United Nations. (2008, 3 May). Landmark UN treaty on rights of persons with disabilities enters into force.   Retrieved 12 May, 2008, from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26554&Cr=disab&Cr1=
United Nations. (2009, 2 June 2009). Enable. from http://www.un.org/disabilities/
US Dept Justice. (2007 ). Common ADA Problems at Newly Constructed Lodging Facilities. Washington, DC: Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.
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.
World Tourism Organization. (1985). Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code (WTO/034 General Assembly Sixth Ordinary Session Held at Sofia (People's Republic of Bulgaria)). Madrid, Spain: World Tourism Organization.
World Tourism Organization. (1991). Creating Tourism Opportunities for Handicapped People in the Nineties (A/RES/284(IX) (Resolution A/res/284(IX) of the General Assembly held at Buenos Aires, Argentina). Madrid, Spain: World Tourism Organization.
World Tourism Organization. (2005). Accessible Tourism for All A/RES/492(XVI). Madrid, Spain: World Tourism Organization.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Access Classification Schemes and Accessible Tourism Information Provision


The previous post on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games has brought to the fore the vexed question of access classification systems and accessible tourism information provision. The 2010 Legacies Now organisation’s Accessible Tourism Strategy (2010 Legacies Now, 2010) document focuses on an accessibility icon rating accreditation system for businesses (2010 Legacies Now, 2010). While the approach for basic access to businesses (e.g. continuous pathway, communication provision, websites etc.) may be appropriate 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)


An area that has been most problematic is accessible accommodation provision. For example, the English Tourism Council (2000) put a great deal of resources into developing an accessible accommodation classification system but it has had limited uptake by industry and no evaluation of the system from consumers with disabilities’ perspective. In an Australian context, questions over accessible accommodation classification systems originally administered by the Automobile Association of Australia’s hotel and motel accommodation guide had been fraught with difficulties as evidenced by the number of Australian Human Rights Commission complaints cases (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2009; Darcy & Taylor, 2009). The accumulation of these complaints cases led to AAA Tourism (2006) withdrawing the icon classifications. AAA Tourism then commissioned an accessible accommodation information scheme (AAA Tourism, 2007) but to date this has not been implemented. As Darcy (2007) suggests a great deal of these complaints are due to the complexity of the building codes and Australian standards for access and mobility being simplified from literally thousands of measurements to an iconic representation. As Figure 1 shows, the AAA system of icon access classification was based on Wheelchair "independent access" and Wheelchair "access with assistance", which provided no detailed information about the rooms.


Figure 1: AAA & ACROD Disabled Rooms Access Icons (Graham, 2000; Queensland Tourism, 2000)




This has not stopped others from developing their own accessible accommodation classification systems (Australia for All, 2006). Alternatives to icons have been promoted by Europe for All (2007a, 2007b) and the European Commission (2004) where the detailed information for people with access needs are provided so they can make their own decision about whether the access provided meets their needs. This approach is also supported by the European Network for Accessible Tourism in their philosophy about accessible tourism information provision (European Network for Accessible Tourism, 2007). An Australian example of this type of system for the Deaf and hearing impaired community was completed in conjunction with an industry body (Deafness Forum & HMAA, 2005) and is based on five detailed criteria.


References
2010 Legacies Now. (2010). Accessible Tourism Strategy: accessibility rating icon guidelines business Available from http://www.2010legaciesnow.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Accessible_Tourism/Brand_Standard-Business.pdf
AAA Tourism. (2006). Withdrawal of accessibility rating icons.   Retrieved 8 August, 2006
AAA Tourism. (2007). Access Information Program.   Retrieved 17 Nov, 2007, from http://www.aaatourism.com.au/AAATDefault.aspx?sit=1&pid=398
Australia for All. (2006). Australia for All - One Stop Shop for Accessible Tourism in Australia. from http://www.australiaforall.com/
Australian Human Rights Commission. (2009). Disability Discrimination Act Complaints Cases Register and Decisions.   Retrieved 7 November, 2009, from http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/decisions/decisions.html
Darcy, S. (2007, 11-14 February). A methodology for assessing class three accessible accommodation information provision. Paper presented at the Tourism - Past Achievements, Future Challenges, Manly Pacific Novotel, Manly - Sydney Australia.
Darcy, S., & Taylor, T. (2009). Disability citizenship: An Australian human rights analysis of the cultural industries. Leisure Studies, 28(4), 419-441.
Deafness Forum, & HMAA. (2005). Accommodation Industry Voluntary Code of Practice for the Provision of Facilities for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Retrieved 13 Feb, 2010, from http://www.deafnessforum.org.au/index.php?q=accessible-accomodation
Eichhorn, V., Miller, G., Michopoulou, E., & Buhalis, D. (2008). Enabling access to tourism through information schemes? Annals of Tourism Research, 35(1), 189-210.
English Tourism Council. (2000). National Accessible Scheme: for a quality service you can trust - consultation document. London: English Tourism Council.
Europe for All. (2007a). Europe for All - Better information for discerning travellers.   Retrieved 1 January, 2008, from http://www.europeforall.com/
Europe for All. (2007b). Tourism Providers reports on The Europe for all Self-Assessment Questionnaire: For owners/managers of Hotels and Self-Catering Establishments & The Europe for all Photo and Measurement Guide. (Vol. 2008, pp. Website). Available from http://www.europeforall.com/tourismProviders.seam?conversationPropagation=end&conversationId=162076
European Commission, & Westcott, J. (2004). Improving information on accessible tourism for disabled people. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, EUROPA.
European Network for Accessible Tourism. (2007). Working together to make Tourism Accessible for All in Europe.   Retrieved 1 January, 2008, from http://www.accessibletourism.org/ 
Graham, J. (2000). A Guide to Accessible Caravan Parks in Queensland. Brisbane: Tourism Queensland.
Queensland Tourism. (2000). Accessible Queensland Website  Retrieved 21 November, 2000, from www.tq.webcentral.com.au/accessqld/conditions.html 



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



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Accessible Alpine Tourism Project in Australia


A colleague, Scott Rains of the Rolling Rains Report, alerted me to the Snow Mountains accessible tourism resources (Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association, 2010). What Scott didn’t know was that the resources are an excellent example of operationalising previous research and value adding through new research. The resources were developed as part of the Australian Accessible Alpine Tourism project (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008). The Alpine Accessible Tourism Project was funded under Ausindustry’s Australian Tourism Development Program and was co-ordinated by Disabled WinterSport Australia (DWA). The project built on DWA’s 30 years of providing snow sport experiences and sought to develop, document, market and promote accessible summer tourism experiences. Within a participatory action research (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) and destination management approach (Laws, 1995; Ritchie & Crouch, 2002). The methodology involved:
  • Working in collaboration with stakeholders in alpine areas through workshops, seminars and individual consultation;
  • Evaluating over 100 tourism providers based on an access auditing protocol developed by Cameron (Cameron, 2000, 2004, 2008);  
  • Developing a web-based toolkit for tourism operators who wished to develop their levels of accessibility (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008);
  • Providing disability awareness training to outdoor activity operators to aid them in being more inclusive in their activities;
  • Producing Mobility maps of alpine communities in New South Wales and Victoria; and
  • Establishing a promotional strategy to disseminate information to journals, newspapers and other marketing bodies to promote those businesses that had been assessed (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008).

Photo 1 is from the launch of the CD-ROM that culminated in a hike up Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia, to celebrate the  the International Day for People with Disabilities in 2008. Participants included representatives of all access groups, including five people using wheelchairs, one person with a guide dog, a mother with two children in a cycle trailer and several older people. The hike was by no means easily accessible with the gradients and surface not compliant to Australian Standards for Access and Mobility (Standards Australia, 1992a, 1992b, 2002, 2009)but in the spirit of adventure tourism the participants with access considerations accepted the challenge and the inherent risk involved. Other Australian destination management projects and local government approaches Including have been summarized in Darcy and Dickson (2009).

Photo 1: Mt Kosciuszko Trek



References
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/
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.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2003). Strategies of qualitative inquiry (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dickson, T., & Hurrell, M. (Writer). (2008). Alpine Accessibility Tourism Toolkit [DVD]. In T. Dickson (Producer). Australia: Australian Tourism Development Program/Australian Federal Government Initiative.
Laws, E. (1995). Tourist destination management: Issues, analysis and policies: Routledge London.
Ritchie, J. R. B., & Crouch, G. I. (2002, Dec 3). Destination Performance Index: Indicators of Performance and Success for Destinations. Paper presented at the WTO Think Tank on Tourism Destination Management, Madrid.
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
Standards Australia. (1992a). AS 1428.2 - Design for access and mobility - Enhanced and additional requirements - Buildings and facilities ([Rev. ] ed.). North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (1992b). AS 1428.3 Design for access and mobility - Requirements for children and adolescents with physical disabilities North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (2002). AS/NZS 1428.4 - Design for access and mobility - Tactile indicators North Sydney, NSW: Standards Australia.
Standards Australia. (2009). AS 1428.1 Design for access and mobility - General requirements for access - New building work (4th ed.). Homebush, NSW: Standards Australia.



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