Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Accessible Tourism in Jordan: Travel Constrains and Motivations

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Accessible Tourism in Jordan: Travel Constrains and Motivations

Article excerpt

Introduction

Tourism represents a basic human right and should be accessible to all people (Richards et al., 2010). Tourists with disabilities are regularly excluded from different types of leisure activities mainly because of different barriers and constraints (physical, social and attitudinal) (Burns et al., 2009). The international statistics approves that the rate of people with disabilities are growing worldwide and they represent about 10% of the whole world's population which equals 650 million people globally (Disabled World, 2012). Currently tourists with disabilities are considered as a growing tourism niche market and their market share is worth almost 117 billion USD per annum (Bizjak et al., 2011). According to the European Commission (2014), it is estimated that the total gross turnover of European Union's accessible tourism was euro 786 billion, whereas the direct gross value added of EU's accessible tourism in 2012 was about euro150 billion, after taking the multiplier effect into consideration.

In the context of the Middle East, the state of people with disabilities is still commonly considered from a medical and charity approach, within a setting of a very narrow and frequently outdated legislative and policy frameworks (Axelsson & Barrett, 2009). However, Jordan was considered as the first nation in the Middle East to act out disability- specific legislation and introduce building codes aimed at accessibility. The law, 'W elfare of People with Disabilities' guarantees entire incorporation into the life of the community in a wide range of fields, including education, employment and health care (MIUSA, 2013).

Whilst much research has been conducted on disabilities and people with disabilities in Jordan, little empirical research into accessible tourism and its participants has found. Thus, the main purposes of this study are to identify the motivations and travel constrains for tourists with disabilities undertaking different tourism experiences in Jordan.

Literature Review

Accessible tourism

Generally speaking, there have been many myths about people with disabilities and tourism (Darcy, 1998). Communities have to increase their awareness toward the needs and requirements of people with disabilities (Yau et al., 2004). However, better understanding the different needs of individuals with disabilities is critical to providing proper information and helping them to engage in different tourism experiences (Eichhorn et al., 2008).

A disability can be defined as: "any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being" (WHO, 1980). The barriers for people with disabilities can be defined as those hindrances encountered while participating or attempting to participate in any tourism experience (McGuire, 1984). However, whilst many tourists might experience barriers to tourism participation, it has been acknowledged that these barriers excessively affect people with disabilities (Smith, 1987; Kennedy et al., 1991; Foggin, 2001; Buhalis & Darcy, 2010). Accessibility involves three levels: accessibility of the built environment, which includes lodgings, private and public spaces, structures and buildings; geographic accessibility that includes the capability to circulate; and access to information and communication which refers to accessible media, easy information distribution and data (Axelsson & Barrett, 2009). Burnett and Baker (2001) propose that the level of support needs for people with mobility disabilities is a valuable tool for market segmentation based on environmental, access and activity criteria.

Accordingly, the literature related to the tourism experience of people with different types of disabilities was dated back to the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s (Poria et al., 2010). Ozturk et al., (2008) have examined the capability of the tourism industry management in Turkey to meet the requirements of disabled tourists. …

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