Sandra Rhodda is Director of Access Tourism New Zealand and Access Tourism Research Programme Leader at the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (TRI), Auckland University of Technology and she writes about a travel related research project she is currently working on.
Access Tourism has not been a well-researched topic in any country in the world. There is little information about what people with any kind of impairment say they want and need in the way of Access Tourism, and virtually nothing is known about these needs from the point of view of people with hearing disabilities. Recently, the New Zealand National Foundation for the Deaf approached me about doing a survey to fill this gap. Relatively speaking, New Zealand has fairly good access for people with disabilities, and we were instrumental in the creation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Having said that, there are areas that definitely need improvement, particularly when considering the built environment, transport, and attitudes towards people with disability. In order to gain a better understanding of the Access Tourism needs of both New Zealanders and people from other countries who have hearing loss, TRI has constructed two surveys that ask a number of questions about their Access Tourism experiences and needs. One survey is for non-New Zealand residents (the international survey), and one is for New Zealand residents (the domestic survey). The surveys are for people who have any degree of hearing loss, whether slight or total.
By Sandra Rhodda