Accessible but not usable: Mapping tourist destinations

Front cover of a tourist guide showing Trieste at twilight. A scene with buildings and water with small boats.Promoting tourism and making it more accessible is the goal of a group of tourism operators in Trieste in Italy. The University of Trieste is helping with a study focused on whole of journey information including facilities, attractions and destinations. They found that while some destinations were technically accessible they were only “usable with difficulty”. During the process, researchers found that some tourism operators, while supportive of accessibility, were reluctant to change anything citing heritage as a barrier. However, Italian legislation has allowances for accessibility requirements in heritage sites. The method involves mapping the usability of facilities using a process that gathers information from both academics and from representatives from the disability sector. The article covers the methodology, the development of tools and the processes for collecting data. The title of the article is, Tools to Upgrade Facilities for All: How to Improve Business Dealing with Tourism

Abstract: Providing quality services to any traveller requires constant efforts to
ensure that tourist destinations, products, and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their health condition, physical limitations, gender, origin, age. This entails a collaborative process among all the interested parties: administrators, tourist agencies, tour operators, and end users, who expressing their points of view can objectively contribute to reach shared and effective solutions. A single visit destination can involve many factors, including access to information: the project A Region for All, promoted by Promoturismo FVG in collaboration with CRAD FVG and the University of Trieste, focused on this issue. Promoturismo FVG is a semipublic destination management organization. Its mission is to develop the regional tourism system collaborating with all the active subjects to improve the promotion and to optimize the resources by concentrating the efforts. The organization pursues its objectives by planning and organizing the offer through specific tourism products. In 2016 a mapping process has been started to investigate the usability of the relevant services to tourists / visitors with special needs along the itinerary of eight tourist centers of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. To date, more than 200 facilities (bars, restaurants, pharmacies, cash machines…) have been detected. The paper will present the development of the work conducted by TrIAL – Trieste Inclusion & Accessibility Lab at Department of Engineering and Architecture within the University of Trieste for the management of the mapping process. On the strength of the mapping experience developed during the previous project LabAc (Laboratory of Accessibility) for the Province of Trieste and the project Trieste for All for the Municipality of Trieste (from 2013 to 2016), the research group has adopted and set a series of digital tools, has identified specific indicators and has focused on an efficient return of data to Promoturismo FVG. The overall project is still ongoing: collected data have not yet been published by the organization. Overall monitoring and evaluation activities are still lacking and will be part of a future phase of research.

The article is from the proceedings of the UDHEIT 2018 conference held in Dublin, Ireland, an open access publication.