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Evaluation of an Existing Issue of Accessibility for the Older Generation in Tourism Activities

Evaluation of an Existing Issue of Accessibility for the Older Generation in Tourism Activities
Author: Korpela Laura
2 Commentries

The world has recognised the indispensable reality of increasing numbers of people with disabilities in our future as world’s population is ageing and this generation has a higher risk of becoming disabled. The profiles of tourists and their preferences are becoming gradually fragmented, simultaneously, the competitiveness of a destination will depend on the ability to produce and market tourism services to an ageing, however, multi-ethnic population.

Key Words: Older generation, tourism, accessibility, disabilities, transformation, tour operators

The portrayal of old age is difficult to comprehend, since the definition is individually created. Simultaneously, what is considered as being disabled is still currently a complex social dilemma. Still, challenges that people with disabilities are facing every day are first and foremost caused by barriers in accessing services which for others would be self-evident. By recognising the needs of this group, could provide people with disabilities a life with lesser limitations (Akinci and Kasalak, 2016), as leisure and recreation are acclaimed as peoples right. Therefore, tourism should also be accessible for those who have limitations.

When trying to place which tourism services should be provided for older generation, age should not be the determining fact to categorise which form of travel should be targeted for each age group, whereas the considerations should go through socio-demographic combinations related to the stage of life. Similarly, another approach to explain the behaviour of this generation could be the lifecycle theory, since the travel behaviour is depending on the levels of income, availability of time and state of health (Alen et al., 2017).

The part of this generation that is capable to travel without political or economic restrictions is assimilated as demanding, while it is natural for physical and mental disabilities to appear while ageing (Akinci and Kasalak, 2016). Furthermore, the stereotypes promoted by tourism advertisers have left suspicion and negative attitudes towards tourism practitioners from this age group. Older generation is ignored in marketing and often confuse older people as helpless, weak and confused, whereas this generation clearly advocate that prevailing impressions should be knowledgeable, capable and motivated. Again, older people have a higher risk of getting infected by a disease while traveling and are more exposed to serious consequences while infectious.

Tourism practitioners are aware of the growing interest of this group towards more adventurous and physically challenging forms of tourism activities that are consistently targeted towards younger generations. Still individuals with disabilities and the older generation have same motivations to travel (Zsarnocsky, 2017). Tourism industry is often labelled as an untrained, low-paid and disorganised economic sector. As a result, it is difficult for practitioners to create these activities available for older individuals with disabilities since lack of comprehensive training and information on how to operate in such situations. At the same time, there is no standard for such service and the accessibility service varies from destination to another, especially cultural perspectives standout greatly from nation to another.

At its best, tourism industry functions as a nurturing power towards socio-cultural factors of people empowering minority groups such as women and disabled communities. Correspondingly, a study from Spain proves that the ones from the ageing society who pursuits tourism activities are healthier and more active than the ones who do not. Current tourism research has proven the benefits of leisure for health and overall well-being. If tourism activities would be available for the majority of people with disabilities, leisure could accelerate the recovery and rehabilitation process. The markets of modern tourism industry are characterised by increasing amount of competitive destinations battling for consumers. Instead of trying to provide tourists something extraordinary, why tourist practitioners are not providing something that is actually meeting the customer needs?

However, in the past, negative attitudes towards the participation of disabled people towards tourism activities have framed the development process. At the same time, withdrawing from a participation can result into a sense of self-abasement, dissatisfaction and reduced self-confidence. General attitudes towards the senior travellers, influence the service outcome. However, by receiving knowledge about ageing, changes the willingness to serve senior tourists, furthermore, interaction with elderly heaves a successful outcome.

Evidence shows that baby boomers and silent generation both prefer to approach traveling plans via tour operators and travel agencies. The elder group under the disabled category branch is also more willing to pay a premier price for quality service. Tour operators could transform their services to greet the new generation of old people, and this generation could be the doorway for the organisations to develop tourism products available for people with limitations.

Logically, discovering the travel preferences of the new generation of old people and developing tourism destinations to meet their needs, could be beneficial to both, tourism practitioners and the generation. This group has flexible seasonal adjustment considering that most of the individuals are retired and outside the labour market, which is why it is an appealing market segment.

Akinci, Z. and Kasala, M. A. (2016) Are Travel Agencies Ready for Accessible Tourism in Turkey? The Tendencies and Expectations of Travel Agencies as Supply Side of Accessible Tourism in Turkey. Journal of Business and Hotel Management, 3(1).

Alen, E., Losada, N. and Carlos, P. (2017) Understanding tourist behaviour of senior citizens: lifecycle theory, continuity theory and a generational approach. Ageing and Society, 37 1338-1361.

Zsarnoczky, M. (2017) Accessible Tourism in European Union. CERS Central European Conference in Regional Science.

Commentary on Korpela Laura's Discussion
Author: Jessica Mills
I have chosen this discussion to comment on due to the interest I have for the topic and strand 1, improving wellbeing through social and accessible tourism. The reason for this is due to the knowledge gained from reading this paper fuelling the interest to research deeper into this topic. It was very insightful and gave myself an different way of thinking about travel as a disability is not something I struggle with myself. This paper makes a strong connection to the way the young view the elderly, highlights where the problems lie and what we must do to make travel more accessible to all.

It is clear the author aims to show the emphasis of the implementation needed to make tourism more accessible to those who really need it. When discussing points regarding the lack of the elderly in advertising and aimed at the them, the fact that the elderly are now more and more interested in taking part in active events and are in some cases drawn away from these situations due to how we perceive the elderly to stereotypically be, we are actually doing more to prevent these accessible dream holidays becoming a reality. This is due to not listening to the people that need change to enjoy their travel and have full potential to encourage the generation to travel more. It could be thoroughly successful for travel companies also in terms of investment. It is astounding how such a large market has gone so unnoticed and really draws your attention into the fact that if travel companies do not listen to their audience, How are they to they know where they can help with accessible tourism?

If we were to implement the increase of disability awareness and accessibility whilst travelling it will also help the elderly and disabled mentally and physically for their wellbeing. Although there are positive marketing sides also, breaking into a new market can mean competition and the expansion of the accessible tourism market, “UNWTO is convinced that accessibility for all tourist facilities, products and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourist policy”(UNWTO, 2019).

The author has a steady flow throughout the text making it a leisurely read. The author also portrays the opinion that we must not judge the elderly generation so harshly and this is something I would like to agree on. An example is that “cruise companies are operating unscrupulous policies that allow them to profit when elderly customers fall ill" (Morley, K. 2019). When the elderly are unwell overcharging and not disclosing information about money back is cruel, stressful and immoral. Why are we downgrading a generation we can build up to be better?

In Conclusion the discussion brings to light many of the problems the elderly and disabled face in a forward and unforgiving, but motivational, manor for change. It really makes the reader open their eyes and take into consideration the lack of help for those in a more difficult situation whilst travelling.


Morley, K. (2019). Exposed: The cruise companies profiting from elderly customers' health problems. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/12114936/Exposed-The-cruise-companies-profiting-from-elderly-customers-health-problems.html [Accessed 23 May 2019].

UNWTO (2019). Accessible Tourism | Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility. [online] Available at: http://ethics.unwto.org/en/content/accessible-tourism [Accessed 23 May 2019].
Commentary on discussion
Author: Chunlu Tian
I chose this discussion paper to comment that is interesting for the topic. Improving wellbeing through social and accessible tourism to become the important development for tourism in the world. The reason is that shows some of the knowledge that is currently being faced and used that research to show interesting. For this discussion, the author presents own opinions, and proposes appropriate solutions that this can help me learn more about related topic.

It clearly describes the subject of this discussion paper, which is an important issue for current tourism industry. Through analysis the development of accessibility for old generation in tourism, it better expresses their impact on tourism. With the development of tourism, the future development of tourism mainly focuses on old generation and accessible tourism. Obviously, the author’s purpose is very clearly. The author perfectly describes the needs of the old generation for accessible tourism. Old people are the main users of accessible tourism. Accessible tourism needs to take into account the ideas and needs of the old people, which can more perfectly realise the development of accessible tourism in the tourism industry. In addition, older people need to speak for themselves to promote the development of accessible tourism. This not only provides convenience for themselves, but also helps others with the need for accessible facilities.

Therefore, this can provide us with more information on accessible travel. According to it, the older generation of tourism is an important market for the future tourism industry. Therefore, accessible tourism needs to be more perfect (Alen, et al., 2012). On the other hand, the development of accessible tourism needs to take into account the psychological changes of tourists. This is because, although we believe that accessible facilities are convenient and beneficial, this will have some psychological impact on some tourists. These aspects are presented in the discussion.

In conclusion, I think this discussion perfectly reflects the relationship and influence between the older generation and accessible travel.

Alen, E., Dominguez, T. and Losada, N. (2012) New opportunities for the tourism market: senior tourism and accessible tourism. Available from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0ace/e4b54211154f2ba6d05bdaaf7d39ffbab3ee.pdf [access 24 May 2019].