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Social Inclusion of tourists with mobility disability: A Case of China

Social Inclusion of tourists with mobility disability: A Case of China
Author: Yahao Guo
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Abstract: The paper deals with the lack of social inclusion of disabled tourists within Chinese Tourism. While focusing on issues of mobility, the paper sheds light on the barriers faced by disabled tourists when travelling in China and the solutions the country can implement to help bring inclusivity.
Keywords: Disability, Inclusivity, Tourism, Travel
Social inclusion refers to the acceptance of people within the society. Exclusion on the other hand, is marked by inequality and the feeling of ‘otherness’. While tourism is today considered a right that should be enjoyed by all and every individual is entitled to it, there are certain groups of people who even today cannot exercise this right even if they want to. One such group which remains socially excluded from tourism and the activities involves such as leisure and recreation includes people with disability. People with disability encounter several barriers when it comes to tourism and holidaying. These barriers can include societal attitudes to physical limitations. As disability is an umbrella term and are refers to people with different physical, psychological and intellectual, the paper focused on people with mobility disability and the barriers that they may face while travelling. The paper aimed to focus on understanding inclusion of people of disability in the realm of tourism, in order to do so, it emphasised on the status quo of access tourism for the disabled individual’s China. The paper argued that compared to European nations, China lacks social inclusion and needs to create a model that focuses on a holistic approach.
The paper highlighted what it means to be disabled and handicap. A person with disability may not feel handicap while conducting his or her day to day business. However, the barriers that restrain them from doing daily activities make them feel handicap. This limitation which create obstacles while handling daily chores or actions such as using the bathroom or buying groceries, related to being handicap. Likewise, in terms of tourism, a disabled person may feel restricted if they are unable to carry out everyday activities in certain situations, making them socially excluded. Moreover, they can also be treated as other or patronised as being ‘special’, further making them feel as not being a part of the larger society. In order to socially include people with disability into the so-called normal population, it is essential that they are able to enjoy basic rights such as travelling or going on vacation. The paper highlighted through the experiences of travellers and how these barriers can act as challenges when it comes to travelling in context of China. The paper puts forward the argument that compared to European nations, China lacks social inclusion and needs to create a model that focuses on a holistic approach.
In age of internet it has become comparatively easy for people to go online and make a reservation at a hotel or book a cab or hire a guide. For most tourists visiting China, the experience is enthralling and beautiful, however, people with disability may have to face several barriers when it comes to travelling in the country or visiting famous monuments. Though the country has regulations and laws that focuses on non-discrimination against disabled people and entitle them to the same rights as any other person, there are challenges that a disabled person tourist or not may face in the country. This paper uses a qualitative methodology and relies on secondary sources in order to inquire about the inclusivity of disabled people within Chinese tourism. Based on the case study method, the essay uses the experiences of disabled travellers and how they view inclusivity in China. Moreover, as the paper is based on secondary sources ethical considerations involves, reliability and credibility of resources.
The paper lastly focused on the solutions that can be implemented by the government to make the country more socially inclusive for people with disabilities. Looking at the Chinese scenario, it can be stated that the country lacks a holistic approach when it comes to social inclusion of tourists with disability. Authorities label disability as a homogeneous group wherein a solution of one size fits all can be applied. Quite the reverse, it is a heterogeneous group and different people can face different challenges or barriers. Thus, the paper proposed that a model should be implemented in the country that not only addressed the barriers and focuses on finding solutions for the whole group but also focuses on individualistic solutions that emphasise on varied dimension of disabilities.
Three important sources used in the paper:
Figueiredo, E., Eusébio, C. and Kastenholz, E., 2012. How diverse are tourists with disabilities? A pilot study on accessible leisure tourism experiences in Portugal. International Journal of Tourism Research, 14(6), pp.531-550.
McKercher, B. and Darcy, S., 2018. Re-conceptualizing barriers to travel by people with disabilities. Tourism management perspectives, 26, pp.59-66.
Smith, R. W., 1987. Leisure of Disable Tourists: Barriers to Participation. Annals of Tourism Research, 14 (3), pp. 376–389.