How Tourism Can Include the Disabled

Disability Travel Information

Author: Edith Cowan University
Published: 2023/02/08 - Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contents: Summary - Definition - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: How tourism can include people whose health conditions usually keep them at home. Around 20 percent of the world's population suffers from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or mental disorders - a group of people the travel industry needs to accommodate. The tourism industry must cater more to vulnerable people with physical or psychological disorders, a market described as essential but too often overlooked.

Introduction

Travel Medicine in Hospitality: An Interdisciplinary Perspective - International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Can I come, too? How tourism can include people whose health conditions usually keep them at home. Around 20 percent of the world's population suffers from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or mental disorders - a group of people the travel industry needs to accommodate.

Main Digest

Following the disruption of COVID-19, the global tourism industry has largely opened up again; however, traveling remains a serious challenge for a large group of people.

The World Health Organization estimates 20 percent of the world's population suffers from non-communicable chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or mental disorders.

These conditions can make traveling difficult; some people may even avoid taking holidays altogether.

A cross-disciplinary research project from Edith Cowan University has highlighted the impacts this decision can have on people with these health challenges and outlined the future repercussions for the industry.

Through collaboration between ECU's School of Business and Law and its Centre for Precision Health, the project has put forth the concept of 'travel therapy,' which sees tourism as a means of improving mental health and wellbeing.

Continued below image.
Boat on a mountain lake in Austria. The village of Hallstatt can be seen on the right side.
Boat on a mountain lake in Austria. The village of Hallstatt can be seen on the right side.
Continued...

Researcher Dr. Jun Wen said it is vital the tourism industry catered more to vulnerable people with physical or psychological disorders, a market he described as important but too often overlooked.

"Most can travel but remain vulnerable during trips and need intensive services," he said.

"The world has an aging population, so there will be more and more people dealing with the challenges that bring, like dementia, physical limitations, and so on."

"There are also more people being diagnosed with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety."

"Tourism needs to be able to accommodate vulnerable travelers such as these for the industry's survival - but also because health is important and as our previous work has shown, tourism can help support health."

What the Industry Can Do

Dr. Wen said numerous initiatives could make destinations more accessible for vulnerable people.

Strategies could be implemented throughout the tourism industry chain (food, accommodation, transportation, travel, shopping, and entertainment). They could include considerations or allowances for caregivers who may need to accompany travelers.

Dr. Wen said education was critical.

"Staff and stakeholders need training to be made aware of vulnerable travelers' needs and demands," he said.

"This can include developing manuals to standardize services for vulnerable travelers, enhancing accessible infrastructure, and equipping professional emergency and care facilities appropriately, such as with first-aid tools."

"The industry can also customize services for different traveler segments, such as people with dementia, depression, or anxiety."

Dr. Wen said technological advances could also play a great role in bringing the benefits of tourism to more people.

"Not everyone can take physical trips," he said.

"The tourism industry should develop virtual products that enable all travelers to be present in a destination and to enjoy fun and health-related benefits."

Attribution/Source(s):

This peer reviewed publication was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its significant relevance to the disability community. Originally authored by Edith Cowan University, and published on 2023/02/08, the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity. For further details or clarifications, Edith Cowan University can be contacted at ecu.edu.au. NOTE: Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): Edith Cowan University. (2023, February 8). How Tourism Can Include the Disabled. Disabled World. Retrieved July 16, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/travel/disabled-tourism.php

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