Improving the Accessibility of the Tourism Industry in New Zealand
Internationally, the accessible tourism market has been identified as a growing segment that could lead the way for social inclusiveness, as well as providing the industry with financial gains and destination competitiveness. Despite the increased number of people who travel with access requirements, the sector still lacks an understanding of the expectations and experiences of access tourists. Accessible tourism covers an array of impairments from people who are immobile, visually impaired, an invisible impairment, parents with pushchairs, and seniors. The purpose of this study was to understand the expectations and experiences of the access consumer to suggest improvements for accessibility for the New Zealand tourism sector. The social model of disability was adopted to examine the sector and framed the semi-structured interviews with access consumers. Key results identified from the data were the need to achieve dignity in service offerings to gain experiences that facilitate independence and equity of access, access to information before the travel that is clear and accurate to aid planning, and accessible transport and education. In conclusion, the paper calls for the New Zealand tourism industry to align with the Disability Strategy sustainability goals to achieve equity and inclusion and create enjoyable accessible experiences in their tourist offerings.