Darcry & Daruwalla: Personal and Societal Attitudes to Disability



This paper has examined the role, nature, and impact of disability awareness training in the industry. It has shown that such training can be a valuable resource in forming and changing the personal attitudes of nondisabled persons towards those with disabilities. While previous studies have identified the need for disability awareness training, tourism has not been forthcoming in developing access and service provisions to meet the needs of this group. Human rights legislation in many Western countries has had the salutary effect of preventing service providers from overtly discriminating. However, the industry as a whole has been reluctant to embrace the concepts of universal design (for access) and disability awareness training, while at the same time it claims to be informed (Darcy 2002; Goodall 2002; O’Neill and Knight, 2000).

Operators and service providers need to be moved from the mindset
of just wanting to meet their legislated human rights obligations to
exemplary service provision.

As they do when focusing on any market segment, service providers need to internalize a more holistic embrace of attitudinal modification to accommodate the tourism experience. The service and the experience would then be lifted from the banal to the truly memorable. This internalization of positive attitude by industry service personnel would influence both personal and societal attitudes towards people with disabilities and help in the creation of a more civil society.

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