Title of Paper

Is accessibility enough? Exploring how inclusive tourism promotional marketing is for people with disabilities in Southeastern United States

Author Bios (50 Words)

Stefanie Benjamin, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management Department at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include social equity in tourism around the intersectionality of race, gender, sexual orientation, and people with disabilities and is the Co-Initiative Coordinator and Research Fellow for Tourism RESET. She also researches film-induced tourism, implements improvisational theater games as innovative pedagogy, and is a certified qualitative researcher exploring ethnography, visual methodology, and social media analysis.

Ethan Bottone is a Ph.d. candidate in the department of geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His dissertation research explores landscapes of African-American travel related to the Green Book. He also has research interests in other of just tourism, including the inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism and the interpretation of American Indian removal at both public and private tourism destinations.

Miranda Lee is a senior at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Art degree with a concentration in sustainability and Beyond accessibility: Exploring how people with disabilities are marketed in hospitality and tourism industries geography. After graduation, Miranda hopes to continue her education by attending graduate school where she hopes to study sustainable tourism.

Abstract (150 Words)

Globally, over one billion people experience some form of disability. The number of people with disabilities (PWDs) continues to rise due to an ageing population, the spread of chronic diseases, and improvements in measuring disabilities. However, tourism promotional materials continue to perpetuate a homogenous gaze catering to non-disabled audiences. Thus, informed by critical disability theory (Devlin & Pothier, 2006), and an inclusive tourism approach (Scheyvens & Biddulph, 2018), this study explores how PWDs are represented in tourism promotional materials, specifically tourism brochures, from the American Southeast. Through a content analysis of over 200 county-level brochures from nine southeastern states and interviews with state-level tourism marketing directors, three emergent themes were identified: ADA compliant is ‘good enough’; ‘Diversity’ means including more people of color or ‘ethnic’ groups; and Pets are welcomed but how about PWDs? The findings offer insights for inclusive tourism and breaking down the physical and psychological barriers that hinder PWD participation in travel and tourism.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Is accessibility enough? Exploring how inclusive tourism promotional marketing is for people with disabilities in Southeastern United States

Globally, over one billion people experience some form of disability. The number of people with disabilities (PWDs) continues to rise due to an ageing population, the spread of chronic diseases, and improvements in measuring disabilities. However, tourism promotional materials continue to perpetuate a homogenous gaze catering to non-disabled audiences. Thus, informed by critical disability theory (Devlin & Pothier, 2006), and an inclusive tourism approach (Scheyvens & Biddulph, 2018), this study explores how PWDs are represented in tourism promotional materials, specifically tourism brochures, from the American Southeast. Through a content analysis of over 200 county-level brochures from nine southeastern states and interviews with state-level tourism marketing directors, three emergent themes were identified: ADA compliant is ‘good enough’; ‘Diversity’ means including more people of color or ‘ethnic’ groups; and Pets are welcomed but how about PWDs? The findings offer insights for inclusive tourism and breaking down the physical and psychological barriers that hinder PWD participation in travel and tourism.