Tourism for the physically disabled

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In the European Union there are between 13 and 20 million handicapped. That represents between 5% and 9% of the total population of the EU (Eurostat, 1995). One can understand the importance of this group for the whole European society.


<ul><li> 1. JOSE JAVIER MONROY VESPERINASTourism for the physically disabled peopleCOMPARISON BETWEEN EU, NETHERLANDS AND SPAIN</li></ul><p> 2. C APTULO 1INTRODUCTION 3. S ECCIN 1 In the European Union there are between 13 and 20million handicapped. That represents between 5% and 9% ofOVERVIEW OF THE the total population of the EU (Eurostat, 1995). One canPROBLEM AND GOALS understand the importance of this group for the wholeEuropean society.OF THE PROJECTHandicapped is a wide concept with two synonyms:Disabled and incapacitated. In fact Disabled is the union oftwo words Dis- and -able. The meaning is a person who is notable to do things on his/her own. He or she needs some sort ofhelp in normal life. We can apply this first definition toworking and leisure time. The handicapped are then a specialgroup with special needs. However, this interpretation canguide us into a misunderstanding. "Special needs" are onlyspecial when the environment makes them so (Baker, 1989).On the other hand, Handicapped people are quitedifferent. Firstly, it is necessary to consider the different kindof disabilities (without taking into account mix-disabilities): SENSORY: Deaf or blind. PHYSICAL: Wheel-chair. MENTAL: Autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, etc.2 4. TRANSNATIONAL: In our case the European level (EU)For the purpose of this thesis we will consider only one kind of NATIONAL: Policies in Spain and the Netherlands.disability: the Physically handicapped. The reason is thatdifferent kind of disabilities build different kinds of socialgroups. It is very difficult to compare them in a transnationalTo get an idea the current expenditure on socialresearch. Nevertheless we will some times mention the other protection per inhabitant is 4.348 ECUS per year: 5.387 ingroups to have a better idea about the real situation of theThe Netherlands and 2.555 in Spain (Eurostat 1992). Thatdisabled in Spain and the Netherlands.marks a big difference in possibilities and programmes. The tourist industry (&amp; the market) has an importantpart to play in making holidays and tourism available to all. The goal of this research is a comparison between theHowever we should recognise that the private sector with itstourism opportunities for physically handicapped in Spaincommercial basis is not the largest provider of holidaysand the Netherlands: understand the relationships betweenprogrammes. Traditionally the National State represented bytourism and handicapped. In our post-Fordist society, despitethe ministry of Welfare and health, was responsible for policythe crisis of the Welfare state, Holidays are still a social right.on care and other facilities for disabled people. Two partiesHolidays for handicapped is a social demand. The UN tookare involved in the realisation of this policy: Government (atthis point into consideration (Resolution 48/96 based in thecentral, provincial and municipal level) and communityreport A/48/627) which affirms that tourist organisations,organisations with a volunteer base. The three aspects drawhotels and travel agencies should offer special services forup the framework of our research. Every study about tourismhandicapped (article 11,2). That is our starting point: Tourismopportunities for the handicapped should take into accountas a social right and tourism for handicapped as socialthree levels of intervention:demand.In most of the European countries the state or thegovernment is responsible for the disabled leisure (and STATE PROVISIONtourism) policies. Then we can distinguish two further aspectsof intervention from a political and governmental perspective: VOLUNTEER ORGANISATIONS THE TOURIST MARKET3 5. The comparation of holidays provision for handicappedbetween The Netherlands and Spain should consider this firststatement. How the state arranges holidays programmes withsubventions to volunteer organizations. However thecomparation is difficult because both countries are quietedifferent. The expenditure on social protection as percentageof gross domestic products is 27,1 in the EU. in Spain 33,0and in Nederlands 31,0 (Eurostat, 1992). The Position of theEU give some indications about the subject.. In this UnitedUnion how is "armonize" the holidays programmes orpackages for the phisically disabled? We will see this detailfurthermore. From this perspective we will analyze thesituation in both countries and finally the touristic offer andsupply. The provision offerted for the voluntary organisationand tourism companies. The conclusions andrecommendations will finish this thesis.4 6. C APTULO 2THEORETICALBACKGROUND 7. S ECCIN 1Leisure has a wide field of meanings, related to time off.What is in fact leisure? The answer is a philosophicalDEFINITION OF THE question: Time and space. Time to take some days off. Place toTERMS go away. From this perspective leisure is tourism, followingthe UN directives (Res. 48/49, 1993). Tourism has too a widefield of meanings: Industries for pleasure travel, everythingthat arises form travelling away from residence, journeys fortemporary stay for leisure and recreations purposes, etc. Iwould like to reduce this and understand tourism only from a KEY POINTS perspective: as travels or excursions out of home or livingplace. The UN conference (Roma 1963) Tourism and 1. Leisureinternational travels define tourist as the person who go 2. Disabledabroad for more as 24 hours for other purposes as work. Thatis also a wide definition but enough for the purposes of thisresearch. Travel and leisure play an increasingly importantpart in the life of the late twentieth century. Inability toparticipate on holidays is an isolating factor and can alsoundermine heath. As a social right, leisure and tourism arealso a social demand. There is an equilibrium between thedemand and the offer in the case of the physically disabled?Disabled is synonym of incapacitate. He or she need somesort of help in the Normal life, that mean dependency. Quite abig number of social workers do not like the Word of disableand prefer to call them handicapped. because what they haveis really a disability. "Handicap" is used in the context of thisthesis to assist in describing a basic congenital or acquiredmental or physical defect. Handicapped are then persons with 6 8. a disability (physical, sensory or mental) in his/her life. Thatis in fact the same definition as this one of the Declaration ofthe right of handicapped (Resolution 3447 (XXX) 9-12-1975).However we can also accept the definition of the EuropeanCommission in the foreword of the HELIOS programme. Theterm "disabled people" means: "People with seriousimpairments, disabilities or handicaps resulting fromphysical, including sensory, or mental or psychologicalimpairments which restrict or make impossible theperformance of an activity or function consider normal for ahuman being". 7 9. S ECCIN 2 How has the issue been addressed in the past? We can begin the research in the last century. The Beginning of theSTATEMENTXX century the social policy and provision for the handicapped was largely paternalistic. The voluntary and religious sector was the only one involved. Religious groups (Catholic and Protestant in the Netherlands and only catholic in Spain) We will not consider the fact of the religion wars between Spain and Flanders. as a "previous tourism flows" that generate mutilate. This effect is clear in the two Word KEY POINTSWars. Middle class organisations with religious connotations or origins were in charge of all kinds of provisions for 1. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES handicapped (Hugo van der Poel, 1991). After World War I a 2. INTEGRATIONnew kind of physically handicapped people appear: veterans wounded and permanently disabled by war. Most of the 3. INDEPENDENT LIVING provisions between the wars was oriented towards the 4. MARKETING AND INFORMATIONre-insertion of this group. In England and Holland this case is very clear after World War II and, with special connotations, 5. ATTITUDES AND STAFF TRAINING in Spain after the civil war. 6. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF TOURISTINSTALLATIONS AND SIGHTS; BUILDINGREGULATIONS AND DESIGN The voluntary sector acquired a national dimension during the growth and maturing of the Welfare State 7. TRANSPORT(1944-1976)with the help of the national State The Welfare State offer a paternalistic provision of services relating to holidays for handicapped. Here the development of The Netherlands and Spain are different because of their different political histories. The voluntary sector is independent when providing holidays for disabled people, but it needs of the State assistance to survive.8 10. policy changes in other European Union countries as weobserve in the British and Dutch cases (Van der Poel, 1995). The Netherlands current policies are affected by the twoMild tatcher policies. There was a general turn to the rightWorld Wars and the post war period of reconstruction.and the Neo-liberal system. The social services are affected byConsumption growth, with subsidy by social security was notcost cuttings. It is very interesting to compare this point withknown in the long Spanish post war period. The provision ofthe actual political situation in Spain. Change of governmentsocial services was channelled thorough the pillars of theto the (probable) the right (PP). It is possible that SpainDutch society: Catholic, Protestant and non confessional (lay)follows this trend after a change of government. However thevolunteer associations. In Spain the pillar was the Church andstate still as a source of financing for leisure andthe National Movement of Franco. The role of the Church inrecreation for disabled. Politic, more as sociology, is thethe provision of Welfare for handicapped is one of the mostmain trend.important but this is not widely recognised. In theNetherlands in the mid 1960s the emblematic Ministry ofculture, recreation and Social Work was established. Other To compare both previous statements in TheNorth European countries also created similar ministries. TheNetherlands and Spain one should find the criteria of theimpact of the economic crisis of the 1970s and 1980s on theactual situation. The first factor is the political one in aDutch society was considerable, provoking an unemploymenttransnational level.Tourism opportunities for therate which peaked at approximately 20%. The same rate ashandicapped people is not actually a clear issue in the policiescurrently in Spain. The effect of the crisis also spread to theof the European countries. Other countries in the EU Englandprovision of leisure and tourism for disabled the person of the Mary Baker for the Working Party has aclear programme about tourism for all. Most of the efforts ofthe European countries are oriented to accessibility. This The political transition occurred at he same time inpoint is very important. Our post modernist society hasSpain. The JOC (Juventudes obreras cristianas - Christianchanged values. Values are the meanings of the society. Theyouth workers) was like a new vision inside the Church, whichnew emergent values of our time demand new opportunities,was traditionally related to the Regime. The transition wasand handicapped people need integration into thesefollowed by the increasing intervention of the private marketopportunities to achieve an independent living. We canin the provision of leisure and tourism for handicappedsummarise these values in the HELIOS programme of thepeople. There are important similarities in the direction ofCommission of the European Communities (Directorate9 11. General "Employment, Industrial Relations, Social Affairs".* INDEPENDENT LIVING: Whatever their disability, allDivision "Integration of disabled people, 1994): disabled people must be able to lead their lives, as far as possible, independently. How does this affect tourism? Travel can be a physical and also a psychological barrier. A* EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES: whatever their disability,handicapped tourist normally needs one or two assistants.all disabled people should have the same opportunities in life However, the ideal is to overcome architectural barriersas other citizens. Opportunities also in the tourism field.without help. And psychologically, not all handicapped haveTourism is a social right since 1936 (The Front populaire in the confidence to travel abroad. The case of the physicallyFrance). Most Europeans today think the same. The right to a disabled is special. Some of them acquire the disability aftermonths holidays is one of the most important issues of thean accident and they remember their former independentWelfare state. Disabled people should have the sameliving. That is another category of physically disabled toopportunities to take holidays at least once per year. The consider.Human rights declaration (1948) affirm the same right. andalso the United Nations (Standard Rules on the Equalisationof Opportunities for Person with Disabilities, 1992): In all The common state regulation include the values orsocieties of the world there are still obstacles preventingorientations of the EU. But this directives are set up inperson with disabilities from exercising their rights (...). It is different ways in Spain and Nederlands (Dutch name forresponsibility of states to take appropriate action to removeHolland). We should then analyse this policies in the aspectsuch obstacles.related to tourism for disable. There is a special department for this services in both Welfare Ministries? * INTEGRATION: A disability in itself should not be anobstacle to participating in social and cultural life and to Organising a tourist programme for handicapped peopleaccess to transport and public services. The European Unionis a hard business. On one hand the political level and on therecognise this but only from an accessibility perspective. other the basis work. If we want to compare this kind ofTourism include the increasing role of the transport and provision in two countries we need some more accordingpublic services. criteria. We can accept the document "Accessible tourism for handicapped people in the 90s" of the WTO (Buenos Aires, 1991). The definition of handicapped is quite interesting, 10 12. because it includes "elderly" and "other people who needfollowed closely by kindness and friendliness. All touristspecial care" .Some countries accept the inclusion of elderly businesses should develop customer care programmes as partand disabled in the provision of social tourism despite bothof their in-service training and these should automaticallygroups being different. This perspective is more oriented tocover the full range of potential customers. The WTO doesntthe private market and is related to the sustainability ofconsider special kind of travel agencies run out only byholidays for disabled without State intervention. The WTO handicapped such Accessible travel S.A. in Madrid.considers the right to holidays for all in society. Handicappedpeople form a social group with growin...</p>