Attitudes and experiences of tourism operators in Northern Australia towards people with disabilities

Publisher:
Routledge
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
World Leisure Journal, 2012, 54 (3), pp. 215 - 229
Issue Date:
2012-01
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The last decade has seen an increasing interest in disability, access and tourism. This has culminated in the emergence of a body of work on ``accessible tourism. Disability and access have been the subject of a great deal of government regulation and coordination through building codes, awareness training and state-based tourism marketing authorities and policy engagement. Yet, the supply-side perspective of industry responses to this consumer group has been under researched (Darcy & Pegg, 2011). This study seeks to redress this omission through examining the attitudes and experiences of tourism operators. The area chosen for the study was Queensland, Australia. In-depth interviews were conducted with 32 tourism operators across five major regional tourism locations. The interviews investigated the level of engagement with the consumer group, their motivations for catering for the group and their experiences with the service provision to the group. The results of the study showed that, while the macro policy environment is conducive to having an accessible built environment, transport and service sector, the level of engagement by the tourism industry still involves an ad hoc process of trial and error on the part of individual operators. In comparison with previous decades, tourism operators are now making significant efforts to make their products and services more accessible to people with disabilities. However, most operators in the study noted that there is still a weak demand from the accessible tourism market and low recognition of their existing product offerings.
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