The embodied tourist experiences of people with vision impairment: Management implications beyond the visual gaze

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Journal Article
Tourism Management, 2012, 33 (4), pp. 941 - 950
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This paper reports the findings of a qualitative study that investigated the embodied tourist experiences of 40 people who are vision impaired. The study, informed by the concept of "embodied ontology", explored the corporeal and socially constructed experience of tourism. The findings highlighted the benefit of holidays for the participants and de-centred the "visual gaze" in the tourist experience. The quality of the tourist experience related to participants' feelings of inclusion or exclusion in terms of their access to information, experience of wayfinding, travelling with a guide dog, and the knowledge and attitudes of others. It was evident that participants needed to manage their tourist experiences closely and constantly. The paper concludes that the tourism industry and community must understand the multi-sensory nature of the tourist experience if quality accessible experiences are to be available for tourists with vision impairment. Provision of multi-sensory experiences also enhances the experiences of sighted tourists. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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