November 08, 2007

Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions

When does travel - moving from point A to point B - become tourism?

Webster says that tourism is:

Function: noun
1 : the practice of traveling for recreation
2 : the guidance or management of tourists
3 a : the promotion or encouragement of touring b : the accommodation of tourists

(Source: http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=tourism)

Wikipedia elaborates with:

Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act. A tourist is someone who travels at least fifty miles from home, as defined by the World Tourism Organization (a United Nations body).

A more comprehensive definition would be that tourism is a service industry, comprising a number of tangible and intangible components. The tangible elements include transport systems - air, rail, road, water and now, space; hospitality services - accommodation, foods and beverages, tours, souvenirs; and related services such as banking, insurance and safety & security.

The intangible elements include: rest and relaxation, culture, escape, adventure, new and different experiences.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism)

Bottom line? Tourism is when you find yourself 50 miles or more away from home - for the right reasons.

Travel & Disability at Suite 101 concerns itself with "Inclusive Tourism" and the means to achieving it, "Inclusive Destination Development."

In this case "inclusive" refers to accommodating a broad range of tourists not to a particular payment scheme for the travel product. There can be confusion because "all inclusive" is also used by the travel industry to describe self-contained resorts and/or packaged tours where all expenses and amenities are included in the initial price.

Rather "inclusive" is used in the sense that it is used by the World Bank in its promotion of "Inclusive Development."

The World Bank promotes "Inclusive Development" as economic and regional development that allows for full social participation of people with disabilities. "Destination Development" is the phrase used by the tourism industry to describe the strategic application of planning, development, and marketing resources to enhance a location as a desired destination for travelers.

"Inclusive Destination Development" uses the word "inclusive", in the sense it is used by the World Bank, to mean "allowing for the full social participation of people with disabilities." Thus, Inclusive Destination Development is "the systematic and strategic application of resources to render a location a destination of choice for persons with disabilities."


The goal of Inclusive Tourism is to accommodate the broadest range of tourists possible without stigma or the need for special accommodation

Inclusive Tourism is one important means through which persons with disabilities participate in society at a distance from their homes. At the same time, the presence of these tourists provides a model - and source of funding - for the inclusive practices and infrastructure necessary for their presence. Inclusive Tourism partially funds Inclusive Destination Development. Inclusive tourism is an example of democratization and the dissemination of human rights through a market-driven mechanism.

Known by various names in various places such as, accessible tourism or tourism for all, inclusive tourism is made possible by the widespread adoption of the Seven Principles of Universal Design:

1. Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users.
2. Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
3. Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
7. Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility. *

Related to Universal Design is the concept "Visitability." Visitability refers to private homes and a certain minimum set of standards that make them hospitable to one subgroup of those with disabiities - guests using wheelchairs:

While the concept of Visitability is very simple, the definition has several interactive layers: The spirit of Visitability is as important as the list of features.

That spirit says, it's not just unwise, but unacceptable that new homes continue to be built with basic barriers... These barriers cause daily, draining drudgery; physically unsafe conditions; social isolation; and undesired institutionalization... The features list must be partly rigid and partly flexible. The inflexible Visitability features are:

* Wide passage doors
* At least a half bath/powder room on the main floor
* At least one zero-step entrance

(source: http://www.concretechange.org/Definition_of_Visitability.htm)

Visitability is not directly relevant to the hospitality industry, and thus tourism, as it only seeks address the construction of new private homes. However, as the concepts of Universal Design and Visitability redefine the housing market, hotel and resort guests will come to expect non-exclusionary architecture in order to recreate the familiar sense of home and socialize with their disabled travel companions.


Resources:

The World Tourism Organization http://www.world-tourism.org

Concrete Change http://www.concretechange.org

The Rolling Rains Report http://www.RollingRains.com

* Compiled by advocates of universal design, listed in alphabetical order: Bettye Rose Connell, Mike Jones, Ron Mace, Jim Mueller, Abir Mullick, Elaine Ostroff, Jon Sanford, Ed Steinfeld, Molly Story, Gregg Vanderheiden

Posted by rollingrains at November 8, 2007 01:34 AM