Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the Future of Accessible Beach Tourism in New Zealand: A Case Study of Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa
This research intends to contribute an understanding of a significant type of tourism for New Zealand for a segment of the population that is consistently underserved; that is, access to beaches for tourists with disabilities. The research follows an interpretive paradigm and uses face-to-face semi-structured interviews to gather the perspectives of stakeholders in a case study beach destination in the North Island of New Zealand. Content analysis reveals critical findings about the need for ‘inclusion,’ ‘information,’ and around ‘public perceptions and assumptions,’ ‘designing for access,’ and the ‘expense of access.’ The findings reveal barriers which prevent beach access, and therefore, tourism participation, for tourists with disabilities. The importance of New Zealanders being able to access the beach is seen as an inherent national right due the country’s strong beach culture. The importance of active provision of information is highlighted as essential to ensure tourists with disabilities know what facilities and amenities are available to them at the beach. The attitudes of the public are identified as a hindrance, as well as attitudes to cost. This research is the only study in New Zealand that has investigated beach access for tourists with disabilities. It has generated some recommendations for the tourism industry and local and national governments in New Zealand which may help to further scope the accessibility market in the country and enable greater participation in a popular tourism activity.