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, July 6, 2013

Compounding Constraints to International Air Travel: the case of Simon Darcy's non-attendance at the IV International Congress on Tourism for All, ONCE Foundation/UN WTO - Avila Spain



One of the truths in the lives of people with disability is that the personal is political. I am a Professor at the UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney where I research, teach and collaboratively engage with our stakeholder communities on critical business, not-for-profit and government issues. However, I am also a power wheelchair using person with a high-level spinal cord injury where my professional persona quite often collides with the reality of living with a disability. As such, my research activities that are reported on the blog involving accessible tourism are also very instrumental in that I have an "insider's perspective" on what it means to be treated differently, discriminated against and marginalised in the travel process.


The video presentation "Understanding the Economic Challenges and Opportunities through the Travel Chain and Value Creation" was to be presented in person at the IV International Congress on Tourism for All hosted by the ONCE Foundation sponsored by the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation held in Avila, Spain 25-29 June 2013. However, as the video outlines a series of international travel constraints involving airline schedules, archaic airline policy, destination policy regarding medication and availability of disability equipment hire in destinations meant that I was not able to attend the Conference. What is incredible is that I am an experienced traveller, research and consult in the area, am aware of my rights, articulate in both written and verbal communication, and I still had these issues.

What I didn't want reinforced was that it was my disability that led to my nonparticipation at this conference. As outlined above and in the video, clearly it is a series of structural constraints involving government policy, airline practice, destination coordination and attitudes of those in management across these areas that make travel so much more difficult for people with disability than the nondisabled general public. This video was my technological solution to participation by distance at the conference but should in no way be considered a substitute for the benefits with disability participating in all aspects of social life. In the video I deliver these messages to an audience with high-ranking government officials, CEOs across the tourism sector, international and National non-government organisations and other people with disability that attended the conference. While my messages may have been surprising to the nondisabled in the audience, I have had many e-mails of support from those people with disability who attended the conference offering their stories of support and anecdotes of similar constraints that they have been subjected to in their efforts to travel.

The video itself presents a way forward for accessible tourism through understanding the concepts of the travel chain, the economics of the sector, the importance to move from focusing on accessibility to experience development, how this can add to the value chain and the importance of mainstream economic data sources as a starting point to document return on investment in this important area.

References
Darcy, S. (2013). Understanding the economic challenges and opportunities through the travel chain and value creation. Keynote presented at the IV International Congress on Tourism for All, Avila, Spain - ONCE Foundation & United Nations World Tourism Organisation. 

1 comment:

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