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Access to historic environments for tourists with disabilities: a compromise?

Goodall, B., Potinger, G., Dixon, T. and Russell, H. (2005) Access to historic environments for tourists with disabilities: a compromise? Tourism Review International, 8 (3). pp. 177-194. ISSN 1544-2721

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3727/154427205774791609


Historic environments, the basis for heritage tourism, are difficult to access for people with disabilities. Many countries have introduced legislation to promote equal rights for people with disabilities. Historic environments, however, enjoy protection under national planning systems which limit the physical access improvements that can be made. The significance of historic environments for tourism in the UK is outlined. Barriers restricting tourists with disabilities accessing historic sites are reviewed from the heritage tourism service provider's viewpoint. Interests of the major stakeholders are considered in terms of the apparent conflict between conservation and access issues as heritage tourism service providers seek to comply with disability discrimination legislation. From a study of access improvements made by major heritage tourism service providers, good practice is identified. However, physical access improvements to enable tourists with disabilities to visit historic environments are a compromise because of the strength of conservation interests. Questions remain as to whether this compromise is acceptable to the tourist with disabilities and whether intellectual access is an acceptable substitute for physical presence.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:3569
Uncontrolled Keywords:Heritage tourism; Historic environments; Tourists with disabilities; Conservation planning; Disability discrimination legislation; Access improvements; UK
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