Accessibility and Inclusive Tourism Development: Current State and Future Agenda
Accessibility constitutes one important consideration in the field of scholarship relating to inclusive tourism development because it is fundamentally about the inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism and in society. This conceptual paper maps how accessible tourism is currently positioned against an established framework of inclusive tourism development and gives examples of relevant accessible tourism studies to recommend a future agenda for more inclusive outcomes that move towards sustainability. The seven elements of Scheyvens and Biddulph’s (2018) conceptual framework for inclusive tourism development form an appropriate and useful tool upon which to examine the current state of accessible tourism. The application of this framework reveals that we still have some way to go. We conclude this paper with a future agenda that posits attention to all seven elements of the inclusive tourism framework for accessible tourism, notably, to increase the involvement of people with disabilities as tourism producers and consumers; increase their self-representation and participation in decision-making; transform power relations; reimagine tourism places and people; and break down social barriers. We especially urge researchers to examine the dominant ableist discourse, to consider how our inquiry can be more participatory and inclusive, and to seek to bridge inquiry, industry and community.