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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

English Tourism Awards recognise accessible tourism and the spillover effect from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

The English tourism awards have identified the exceptional performance being made in accessible tourism over the last few years. In particular, they identify the University of Leeds Access for All developments that have provided the infrastructure for the Canadian Paralympic wheelchair rugby team to stay, train and enjoy the accessible and inclusive environment.

This type of initiative builds on the excellent work of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Now Program that specifically identified accessible tourism as one of the targeted outcomes of games planning and execution. One outcome has been the integration of accessible tourism within the Tourism Vancouver website. The website goes on to integrate a series of accessible tourism resources. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Tourism Australia's website that has stripped all reference to accessible tourism over the last 18 months except to suggest two other organisations to contact -

 accessible vancouver
Photo 1: Tourism Vancouver welcoming tourists with disability Source:

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games organisers have certainly sought to build upon the Beijing 2008 games, which provided an excellent accessible games experience but not necessarily an ongoing legacy of access or accessible tourism. London's approach to legacy has been at the forefront of their discussions from the involvement of youth through to the integration of disability in all aspects of the Olympics and Paralympics. Of course, legacy is a consideration that is best judged long after the games is finished and let's hope London seize their opportunity and create a lasting legacy of accessibility long into the future.

Academically legacy has only been the subject of substantive research over the last decade. A major paper on conceptualising and measuring mega-sport event legacies is Preuss' (2007) "Cube" conceptualisation that examines planned/unplanned, negative/positive, and tangible/intangible dimensions of legacy. Preuss' conceptualisations drew on the major event legacy literature but without reference to Paralympic or disability related major events. In developing the conceptualisation of legacies for major events, Dickson, Benson & Blackman (2011) extended Preuss' conceptualisation through considering Olympic and Paralympic legacy by including timeframe together with planning, tangibility, spread of impact and magnitude of the effect. These conceptualisations were then measured by the components of economics, sports participation, infrastructure, environmental, urban renewal, transport and volunteer/social capital using a radar or spiders web graphic. The inclusion of the fledgeling Paralympic legacy literature has provided another dimension to the social legacies of mega sporting events. The Paralympic legacy literature has recently been supplemented through the publication of Legg & Gilbert's (2011) book aptly titled Paralympic Legacies.

Dickson, T. J., Benson, A. M., & Blackman, D. A. (2011). Developing a framework for evaluating Olympic and Paralympic legacies. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 16(4), 285-302.

Legg, D., & Gilbert, K. (Eds.). (2011). Paralympic Legacies. Champaign, IL USA: Commonground Publishing.

Preuss, H. (2007). The conceptualisation and measurement of mega sport event legacies. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 12(3), 207-228. 

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