Children and families with children are examples of user groups who want special arrangements for their holidays.
Photo: Magnus Strøm / nordnorge.com
ACCESSTOUR. Accessible Tourism for Inclusion and Value Creation in Rural Areas of Norway
A new research project (322655) led by Nordland Research Institute will help tourism providers in rural areas to realize the potential that lies in making destinations more accessible to all.
Older people, people with disabilities, families with young children. These are different examples of people who may have a greater need for accommodation than others - whether it concerns travellers or those who live in a place.
Visitors to tourism destinations in the rural areas will encounter challenges of many kinds. Are there adapted transport options to and from the destination? Are there adapted accommodation and restaurants? What about experiences both indoors and outdoors? Are the facilities adapted for children and families with children? Is there sufficient information about the offers, and is the information also available for the visually impaired?
The potential for improving accessibility and information is consistently great. Tourism that is adapted for everyone can contribute to more people choosing the adapted destinations.
"We often travel with family and friends, and the one who has the greatest need for facilitation will largely determine the choice of destination", says researcher at Nordland Research Karin Marie Antonsen, who is project manager for the new research project ACCESSTOUR.
"The purpose is to increase knowledge about how we can develop sustainable local communities and accessible tourism destinations in rural areas. The project will investigate the potential that lies in the facilitation of tourism for such destinations.
ACCESSTOUR will help increase accessibility for visitors from outside, but also for locals with different functional abilities. If this is successful, value creation will be able to increase both for the tourism industry and the local community.
The market is large. "In Norway, 15 percent of the population live with a disability, be it mobility impairment, impaired vision or hearing or psychosocial disabilities", writes Handikapnytt.
"Many of those planning a holiday need adapted facilities and experiences. The project will develop and test tools for mapping and evaluating the level of accessibility to destinations and businesses in the tourism industry", says Antonsen.
"We will also explore how technology can contribute to increased accessibility".
Result of collaboration over time
ACCESSTOUR is a research project that will both contribute to increased value creation for tourism and new knowledge. The project is a result of previous research projects and collaborations. With a desire to develop Storheia in Hadsel municipality as an accessible outdoor area, Hadsel municipality and Egga Development contacted Nordland Research already in 2020.
In the autumn of 2020, Nordland Research Institute was awarded pre-project funding from NFR to assess the basis for a major main project. The project has taken shape both through ideas, themes, challenges and knowledge gaps that were highlighted at project workshops in Vesterålen in the autumn of 2020, and on preliminary findings in the project Experiences for all, which has now been completed.
"ACCESSTOUR is largely based on cooperation and co-creation between many different interests and actors", says Antonsen.
"In addition to the many Norwegian partners from research, tourism, the public sector and organisations, we are pleased to have included "ENAT" - the European Network for Accessible Tourism. ENAT has extensive expertise both through research and user experiences. They will probably have a lot to teach us, says Antonsen.
Financial support: Norges Forskningsråd (NFR - Norwegian Research Council)
Project Coordinator: Nordland Research Institute
R & D partners: Nordland Research Institute, Beitostølen helsesportsenter, SINTEF digital, Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge, ENAT
Destination partners: Visit Vesterålen, Destination Lofoten, Visit Telemark, Beitostølen Utvikling
Enterprises: Whale Safari, Museum Nord, Hotell Richard With, Nyksund Chamber of Commerce, Røa, Nyvågar, Reinefjorden sjøhus, Telemark næringshage, Tromsø Accessible Tours, Telemarkskanalen Regionalpark
Public Sector: Hadsel kommune, Øystre Slidre kommune, Nordland fylkeskommune
Organisations: FFO - Funksjonshemmedes fellesorganisasjon
Others: Egga utvikling, Norsk Turistutvikling