2017 Robert Jones Oration
Without limits: developing the social and economic potential of accessible tourism for Queensland
|Prof Simon Darcy presenting the Robert Jones Oration|
Contact details for Professor Darcy
- Email: Simon.Darcy@uts.edu.au
- Phone: 02) 9514 5100
- 2017 Robert Jones Oration in print-friendly format. (PDF File, 229.3 KB)
- Presentation slides for the 2017 Robert Jones Oration in print-friendly format (PDF File, 1.7 MB)
2017 Robert Jones Oration
- 2015 Robert Jones Oration: Mr.Maha Sinnathamby on visitability
- 2014 inaugural Robert Jones Oration: Dr Margaret Ward on public interest in the design of private housing
- the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and other research that identifies the economic and social benefits of accessible tourism
- the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with disabilities
- universal design as it is identified in the first 2 points
- the travel chain
- the importance of developing an access/inclusive culture through management and emphatic process.
United Nations' agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism First and foremost, by 2050 there will be some 1.5 bn people with disabilities living in the world with increasing levels of quality of life and disposable income. Yet, this is only the starting point of those who benefit from accessible tourism. As identified in Australia the beneficiaries include people with disability as shown in Figure 1, including those who have a temporary disability through injury or illness, families with young children, seniors with access needs and through universal design the creation of safer working environments . The safer working environments' argument stems directly from universal design creating environments that do not require the lifting of equipment and have better ergonomics for the ongoing health of the workforce. This research suggests that at any time 31% of the population may benefit from these inclusions.
- article 20 personal mobility - where individuals may require personal support or other assistive technology to assist their independent, dignified and equitable wayfinding. Opportunities are emerging for innovative tourism products and services to assist those with personal mobility barriers to reach even the most pristine or cultural sensitive environments e.g. TrailRider ;
- article 9 that incorporates accessibility in its broadest sense across the built environment, common domain, transport, ICT, and geographic equity in urban and rural areas;
- article 27 work and employment, which has been a focus of governments in breaking the poverty cycle for people with disability and reducing welfarism. Yet this cannot occur unless all the other requisites are in place to create a more enabling environment for people with disability to engage in work and employment with the same ease as the nondisabled;
- article 30 specifically identifies the importance of a
cultural lifeincluding the arts, sport, recreation and tourism. Do we live to work or do we work to live? Whether a person is employed or not there needs to be an inherent respect for their right to a life that is inclusive and enriching of what it means to be a citizen and in our case an Australian.
- Killeen v Combined Communications Network Pty Ltd  FCA 27 ;
- Haraksin v Murrays Australia Ltd (No. 2)  FCA 217 ;
- King v Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd (No. 2)  FCA 8 .
- Uber and the disruption of point to point traditional taxi services . What seems to have been lost in the argument is the hard fought for rights of people with disability like myself who are reliant on paratransit systems. The right to paratransit systems was fought long and hard in each state of Australia and have provided those with mobility, vision and cognitive disabilities who are unable to use public transport or transport themselves to have a viable alternative. Uber and other share economy offerings seek to deregulate what were classic areas of
market failure. In other words, regulation was required to ensure that for reasons of equity people with disability have the same rights as other public transport users. Uber does not invest in rolling stock, moves its profits offshore and we are rushing to deregulate a billion-dollar industry without thoughts for the long-term consequences to those who regulation was originally put in place to ensure a more level playing field.
- Similarly with Airbnb and other share economy offerings in the accommodation sector — where are the platforms for inclusion of accessible rooms?
- Without wanting to get into the technicality of the accommodation sector, Queensland has another issue that is worth mentioning. Much of the supply of commercial accommodation currently occurs as serviced apartments which, as Class 2 buildings under the Australian building code, do not require visitability, accessible or adaptable room supply. As a state that wishes to position itself as accessible and inclusive how can you not provide the same opportunities to almost 20% of the population?
- While these last 2 points about the accommodation sector have been on the scene now for over a decade and there has been excellent initiatives by individual operators and chains, there has been a lack of a systematic approach to the accommodation sector's information collation, presentation, promotion, marketing and distribution of accessible rooms stock. Additionally we have seen a multitude of Australian human rights complaint cases highlighting the lack of understanding between suppliers and consumers as to what constitutes room accessibility . Surely we can improve communication and coordination of marketing and promotion of accessible accommodation to provide opportunities for consumers to make a more informed decision about accessible accommodation for their needs and to assist accommodation suppliers and improving occupancy and yield of their accessible rooms stock ? Current accommodation marketing, promotion and distribution in Spain and the UK present valuable examples where accessible accommodation stock is used as a mechanism to gain a competitive advantage [1–6].
Accessible tourism is a form of tourism that involves collaborative processes between stakeholders that 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 adopts a whole of life approach where people through their lifespan benefit from accessible tourism provision. These include people with permanent and temporary disabilities, seniors, obese, families with young children and those working in safer and more socially sustainably designed environments.(Darcy & Buhalis 2011, p10-11) .
sense of place, their destination competitiveness, sustainability and opportunities for accessible tourism, they must be in a position to have people of different disabilities be able to seamlessly get to and from the destination. The United Nations and the World Bank refer to this as the
the travel chainand it is not dissimilar to the concept of a
continuous pathwaythat underpins the Disability Standards for Access to Premises . The travel chain is a seductively simple concept that is so central to the way people with different abilities need to think about how they are going to travel from point A to point B in undertaking any journey to ensure their mobility locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The travel chain has been defined as:
refers to all elements that make up a journey, from starting point to destination — including the pedestrian access, the vehicles, and the transfer points. If any link is inaccessible, the entire trip becomes difficult.
I just wanted to do cool things without the hassleand this quote sums up the frustration some people with disability have who feel that they are abandoned by the industry when it comes to providing the information they need on which to make an informed decision to book a trip for the accessible experiences that they want to immerse themselves in. Whether that is going to Sea World on the Gold Coast, going to one of the great outdoor events at Southbank in Brisbane or getting to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 . In my own case it was some 20 linkages to the travel chain that was required back in 2012 when I was on a business trip but had always wanted to fish off Magnetic Island. With a bit of a luck everything came together and as Figure 3 shows I caught (and released) a coral trout from a great accessible boat with a real character of a local guide, Cliffy. However, if the tourism industry, government and non-for profit sector have a strategic approach to accessible tourism marketing, promotion and distribution then it should require less luck to have these great experiences.
Everyone Welcome(Figure 4).