Project Description

Holiday-making with a physical disability has received increasing attention in recent years, however academic knowledge on the topic is limited. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of active holiday-making with a disability, and its connection to the tourist’s daily life. Medically supported tourism and active sport tourism were connected by studying the experiences of physically disabled tourists on an active sailing trip offered by tour operator SailWise. Qualitative methods were used to identify the multi-phased tourism experience. The research discovered high levels of appreciation for the holiday’s distinctive features, such as involvement in decision-making, active sailing, a sociable atmosphere and care provision based on maximum independence. These characteristics suggest that the holiday offers a unique experience to disabled travellers, with a strong volunteer role that allows for sailing participation. The findings propose implications for volunteer tourism and hints towards empowerment, and suggests the potential of active types of tourism for the disabled traveller. Nevertheless, it was found that the holiday has limited meaning except for a break from ordinary living. Recommendations involve a deeper understanding of the positioning of the holiday in the guest’s daily life, in order to maximise the added value of the trip.

Author: N. Sluimer (2015)