RESOURCES

Barrier free tourism for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region


Barrier free tourism for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region
UNESCAP April 2004

Often referred to as the world’s largest growth industry, tourism is being undertaken by increasing numbers of people travelling to more countries and regions of the world. Its impacts are multi-faceted, with social, cultural, political and environmental implications as well as economic.

The tourism industry has focused increasingly on segmentation as a way to provide better service to specific tourist groups who are differentiated by demographic and psychographic characteristics. New market segments are continually being sought by the industry as other segments mature. As western populations age, “grey tourism” (also called the seniors market) has emerged as a major new market segment. This was brought about through the ageing of the generation who has historically led market shifts during the latter part of the twentieth century.

Closely linked to the needs of the seniors market are people with disabilities. The travel needs of this group have been categorized as barrier-free tourism (BFT). BFT offers a new opportunity for segmentation that merges the access requirements of the seniors and disability markets. In particular, providing information as well as presenting, promoting and marketing easy access tourism facilities can provide destinations with a greater competitive advantage for attracting these growing niche markets.