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How has accessibility adapted for wheelchair users within the tourism industry?

How has accessibility adapted for wheelchair users within the tourism industry?
Author: Alice Brown
1 Commentries
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how has accessibility adapted for wheelchair users within the tourism industry. The following paper will focus on accessibility for wheelchair users who are faced by challenges when travelling.

Keywords - Accessibility, Wheelchair users, Challenges, Change, Disability, Accessible tourism.

Main body
The main issue regarding accessibility in the tourism industry for wheelchair users is the lack of understanding of the needs and requirements by those without disabilities and the lack of information provided for wheelchair users.

According to Luiza Souca (2010) accessible tourism is a concept that enables those people with access requirements including mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access to function freely on their own and with equity and dignity through products, services, and environments. The definition given is inclusive of all people especially those with disabilities.
With the number of new disabilities being diagnosed and more and more people relying on assistance of a wheelchair accessible tourism is becoming a important aspect of the tourism industry. Therefore, it is key that the aspect of accessible tourism is understood to prevent challenges.

There is very little research conducted around the tourism industry and the benefits that can be gained to making change in the product development and delivery so that it can be more accessible. The European Union in recent years has commissioned research showing insight to the complexities of accessible tourism. The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities along with the international day for those with disabilities has globally reinforced the language of disability, helping define concepts such as accessible destination experiences, accessible tourism, access grounds along with continuous accessible pathways.

Wheelchair users face daily challenges in their lives, the conference paper specified some of the challenges faced within the tourism industry, research found that the attitudes people had to those in wheelchairs differed to those that are not in wheelchairs.

The article by Patterson, Darcy and Mönninghoff (2012), looks at the attitudes and experiences tourism operators have towards wheelchair users. Those with disabilities are often overlooked and ignored despite being an important aspect of the tourism industry. Tourism has the opportunities to improve the quality of life of such individuals with disabilities, improved travel opportunities allow those with disabilities to experience greater leisure satisfaction. Data displays that 16% of people have a disability indicating the focus disability requires.

Tapooz Travel (2022) are a specific travel organisation that have been operating since 2016, they specialise in providing packages and programmes that are suited to the individual. Packages tailored to an individual with a disability provide inclusion to all. In the tourism sector there are now multiple different companies that now specify in those individuals that are mobility impaired, opening up a new aspect in the tourism market and allowing disabled people to travel. Tapooz travel (2022) offer a wide range of products and services including mobility equipment, all wheelchair disabilities differ from one another, depending on the persons circumstance depends on what equipment they require. Companies similar to Tapooz Travel (2022) provide disabled individuals with ease and reassure, knowing the needs are catered for allows the holiday to be enjoyed.

The tourism Industry are trying to change the products and services to which they offer along with how these products and services are offered to mobility impaired guests. In spite of this there are very little literature around those mobility impaired, because of this individuals are restricted internally and exogenously. Therefore, recommending some form of change, various tourism companies should consider question and answer sections on their websites to provide access for further information. For companies to achieve ‘Tourism for all’ the participation of society needs to change and become more inclusive. The concept of disabled guests should be an aspect that is put forward to change to achieve equality and avoid discrimination.

In conclusion, tourism are working together to achieve access to all, however there is a long way to go regarding accessibility for wheelchair users in the tourism industry. Although with the numbers of wheelchair users increasing vastly tourism destinations need to ensure enough information is presented and the needs and requirements are met to a reasonable standard. Change must happen in order for wheelchair users to feel included in the tourism industry and to feel like there being heard and their needs and requirements are understood.

Reference list

Luiza, S.M., 2010. Accessible tourism–the ignored opportunity. Annals of faculty of Economics, 1(2), pp.1154-1157.

Patterson, I., Darcy, S. and Mönninghoff, M., 2012. Attitudes and experiences of tourism operators in Northern Australia towards people with disabilities. World Leisure Journal, 54(3), pp.215-229.

Nast, C., 2022. 6 Tour Companies Dedicated to Travelers with Disabilities. [online] Condé Nast Traveller. Available at: <https://www.cntraveler.com/story/tour-companies-dedicated-to-travelers-with-disabilities> [Accessed 12 June 2022].
How has accessibility adapted for wheelchair users within the tourism industry
Author: Catherine Emily Beachill
The purpose of this selected discussion paper is to demonstrate how accessibility has adapted for wheelchair users within the tourism industry whilst also investigating accessibility for wheelchair users who are faced with challenges when travelling. This paper is part of strand 2 ‘CONSTRAINT: Towards breaking down barriers to tourism participation: strategies and good practices.
This looks at new innovative ways to break down current barriers in the tourism industry. The author recognises that for wheelchair users, this causes physical constraints and eliminates their accessibility when participating in the tourism industry. Within the discussion paper, the author discusses accessibility in the tourism industry for wheelchair users and how there is clear evidence of a lack of understanding of that audience segment's needs and requirements. The author also gave an academic definition of what accessible tourism is and stated that more people with disabilities require wheelchairs than ever before, meaning that research needs to improve to overcome barriers occurring significantly.
The authors state that data shows that ‘16% of people have a disability indicating the focus disability requires’. Is this statistic based on the United kingdom or the entire world. The author identifies that the primary issue is inadequate understanding of the subject. The author utilised Luiza Souca (2010) to define accessible tourism. However, she might have chosen a concept defined during the last five years or a 2011 book definition, such as Professor Buhalis Dimitrios' "Accessible tourism: concepts and issues." Which the researcher could have used to obtain a more direct and precise definition, as well as to identify issues, whether there were ideas for future improvement, and to reflect on whether this has occurred from 2011 to 2022. This strand was about breaking down barriers to tourism participation through strategies and good practices, the author has stated that the industry is in the process of changing products and services they offer to mobility-impaired guests but does not state within the discussion what those current strategies and practices in place are and states ‘recommending some form of change’ in order to achieve tourism for all but does not provide recommendations from the researchers perspective briefly in the discussion paper meaning people do not know what the researcher thinks.
Dimitrios, B. and Darcy, S. (2011) Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues. [ebook] Bristol: Channel View Publications. Available from https://library.lincoln.ac.uk/items/eds/cat04851a/uln.171185?query=title%3A%28Accessible+tourism%3A+concepts+and+issues%29&resultsUri=items%3Fquery%3Dtitle%253A%2528Accessible%2Btourism%253A%2Bconcepts%2Band%2Bissues%2529%26target%3Deds%26facet%255B0%255D%3Dfulltext%253Ayes&facet%5B0%5D=fulltext%3Ayes&target=eds [accessed 15 June 2022].