Simon Darcy on Inclusive Travel

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Author & speaker Candy Harrington cites an important study in her reflection on the question "What Does it Take to Create Inclusive Travel?" That seminal study, Anxiety to Access, was undertaken by Simon Darcy in New South Wales, Australia in 1998.

It is a "must read" for those who follow the discussion here at Rolling Rains Report. Below is an excerpt from chapter 8 debunking myths about people with disabilities as travelers:

Excerpts from: Anxiety to Access

8.1 Market Myths and Realities

The information collected for the study has challenged a number of myths
about the market of people with a physical disability, their tourism patterns
and experiences. Some of the myths include:

Myth 1: People with a disability are a small market anyway so why

Reality The market is large (see market estimate figures in Chapters 4, 5
and 6) and reflects those mainstream market groups such as
young singles, young couples with children,
older retirees etc.

Myth 2: The market doesn�t travel or spend because of income

Reality The market has income constraints but travels on a level
comparable with the rest of the population. However, the market
also cites other reasons apart from financial reasons for non
travel as being the major constraints encountered. People with a
physical disability want to travel more frequently.

Myth 3: It is easier to ignore the market and their needs.

Reality It is not easier or okay to ignore the market for two reasons.
Firstly, it is illegal to deny access to this market intentionally or
unintentionally under the DDA and complementary state
legislation. Secondly, it is economically short sighted to do so.
Potentially it is a large market that can be reached cost efficiently
through the networks of organisations representing people with
physical disabilities.

Myth 4: The market tends to travel in large groups and is therefore too
difficult for the average establishment to cope with.

Reality On average 80-90% of all travel by people with a physical
disability is with a partner/carer, family or friends who do not
have a disability. Of those who undertook travel with other
people with a disability most travelled with 1-2 other people with
a disability.

Myth 5: Disabled people are better off doing things organised by
institutions or Government agencies who know what their
needs are and how to cater for them.

Reality The majority of people with a physical disability live in the
community and access tourism experiences as individuals. They
use mainstream integrated tourism products and services with no
institutional or government intervention.

Myth 6: I�ve never seen anyone in a wheelchair at my establishment
before so why should I provide facilities now?

Reality People can not use a facility if they can not get in! This fact has
been overlooked by the Government and tourism industry in the

Myth 7: I�ve got a disabled room/facility but I�ve never seen anyone in a wheelchair use it so why did I bother going to the expense of
putting it in?

Reality People will not utilise a service they are not aware of. It is like
the idea of the chicken and the egg - what comes first? In this
case the accessible facilities, the information/promotion and the
market use by the consumer. Unlike the movie Field of Dreams,
where the line was �build and they will come�, in providing
accessible facilities the line is �build, market and they will come!�

Myth 8: It is not a good business decision to go out of your way to
provide these expensive facilities for people with a physical
disability who will not utilise them in any case.

Reality The facilities are not expensive when included from the
beginning of a project. People with a physical disability are also
loyal customers of those establishments who do a good job
catering for their needs. Such establishments find a high degree of
return visitation and high occupancy rates.

Many of these myths and misconceptions have developed because of a lack
of understanding and information about people with a physical disability,
their tourism patterns and their needs.

�Anxiety to Access� by Simon Darcy

Further Articles by Simon Darcy are listed here.

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