What is "Accessible Tourism"?

There is no single, universally accepted definition of "accessible tourism". Here we refer to some of the ways in which the term is defined and used. The concept is certain to evolve as it is applied in more and more contexts around the world. 

- “Accessible Tourism” (also known as “Access Tourism”, “Universal Tourism”, “Inclusive Tourism” and in some countries such as in Japan “Barrier-free Tourism”) is tourism and travel that is accessible to all people, with disabilities or not, including those with mobility, hearing, sight, cognitive, or intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, older persons and those with temporary disabilities"  (Takayama Declaration - Appendix, UNESCAP, 2009). 

- " 'Accessible Tourism' refers to tourism that caters to the needs of a full range of consumers including persons with disabilities, older persons and cross-generational families. It entails removal of attitudinal and institutional barriers in society, and encompasses accessibility in the physical environment, in transportation, information and communications and other facilities and services. It encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations." (Takayama City and UNESCAP Conference - Press Release - Takayama, 2009)

- "Accessible tourism is the ongoing endeavour to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. It encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations. The improvements not only benefit those with permanent physical disabilities, but also parents with small children, elderly travellers, people with temporary injuries such as a broken leg, as well as their travel companions." (Accessible Tourism on Wikipedia - downloaded 1 January 2010).

- ...a process of enabling people with disabilities and seniors to function independently and with equity and dignity through the delivery of universal tourism products, services and environments. The definition is inclusive of the mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access (Darcy, 2006, p. 6).
Darcy, S. (2006). Setting a Research Agenda for Accessible Tourism. In C. Cooper, T. D. LacY & L. Jago (Eds.), STCRC Technical Report Seriespp. 48). Available from http://www.crctourism.com.au/BookShop/BookDetail.aspx?d=473

- ...Accessible tourism enables people with access requirements, including mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive dimensions of access, to function independently and with equity and dignity through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environments. This definition is inclusive of all people including those travelling with children in prams, people with disabilities and seniors (Darcy & Dickson, 2009, p. 34). Reference: Darcy, S., & Dickson, T. (2009). A Whole-of-Life Approach to Tourism: The Case for Accessible Tourism Experiences. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 16(1), 32-44.

- ...When people hear the word “accessible” attached to tourism they think they have a pretty good idea what that means. And there is the problem. Almost everybody thinks they know what it means but, since it has never been fully defined, almost everybody has invented their own personal definition. That is a recipe for disaster. If travellers and the industry have no common language, then imagine how frequent disappointment and disputes will become? If hotel owners and construction teams have no way to describe the solutions they want designed and built, then how likely is either side to be satisfied with the result? Reference: Dr. Scott Rains' slide presentation on "What is Inclusive Tourism?"   
(Note: Increase the slide presentation to full screen for easier reading. Unfortunately, the text transcript below the slideshow is jumbled up). 


Further definitions and uses of the term may be added to this page.

Readers may send their comments or additional definitions to ENAT via the Contact Page.