Experimental Service Design Strategy for Accessible Tourism in China

Experimental Service Design Strategy for Accessible Tourism in China



  • Introduction

This part of the research projects gives specific emphasis on the experimental service design for accessible tourism in China. Accessible tourism has been urging to satisfy the needs and demands of all people irrespective of their incapacities, physical limits, and oldness (Buhalis, & Darcy, 2010). Provision of accessible tourism is coupled with several challenges that may be deemed discriminative, and in many cases, people with disabilities and the old are not granted the right to inclusion. Fairness and self-esteem is a concern that strategic tourism designs should consider as the primary factor that would enhance the fair distribution of tourism goods (Holland & Lam, 2014). Addition of people with physical challenges to the tourism world is a sign of equal distribution of rights across all sets of people in the tourism industry. This research explores the broader aspects of accessible tourism by investigating the essential attributes of accessible tourism. Additionally, the study also considers the elements of design that is desirable in enhancing accessible tourism for all. Several articles and publications have been used throughout this study, and hence, exploration of different experiences from various scholars have been accessed in details. According to Elsbach & Stigliani (2018), modern civilization has continuously advocated for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the tourism industry. However,  Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood (2009), asserts that many considerations ought to be weighed for such people to fit within the tourism industry. For, example, there must be rules and regulations that must be applied during this process of inclusion, such as endorsing best tourism practices as well as devoting resources to the industry. Experimental service designs for specific tourism zones have been used to improve the tourism industry across the globe. These have widespread benefits that contribute primarily to the growth and development of the tourism industry.  The use the unique travel routes designed by online travel service agency helps tourist attraction promotion (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). This is so hard for people with an incapacity to partake the business easily as a whole and are known that a person with an inability is no diverse from any other individual in their ambitions for a notable experience. Industry and organizations still reflect on admittance and not the practice. There is an essential alteration, and it stalks from a mix-up that Universal Design means to design for the incapacitated and not human cantered project (Holland & Lam, 2014). This study, therefore, includes the questionnaire designs that consists of all groups of people and the design innovations necessary to experiment service design for accessible tourism.

  • Broader Aspects of Accessible Tourism

Tourism is a component that comprises of various aspects among which some are known to be costly where people with disabilities are concerned (D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli, 2011). Majorly, the element of attraction includes the factors that give the tourist a glimpse of surprise expected from the whole scenario, for instance, the place, lakes, monuments, beaches, mountains, and nature. Accessibility of the tourism attraction center is very paramount, where the tourists find the means of reaching the tourism area by the best ways possible. Where else Brown & Katz (2011), states that accommodation, on the other hand, is a significant determinant of the vulnerability of the tourism zone. For example, some places require that tourists rest after long travels or take an overnight stay. Turner (2016), argues that amenities are also desirable for accessible tourism; these include other services required by tourist during their travel like drinking water, cafeterias for their meals and sanitation. Finally, the activities that an attraction zone holds are very impressing to the service design in tourism, for example, boating, history and architecture, nature walks among many other activities.

  • Definition of Accessible Tourism

The term accessible tourism has been used in various scenarios to describe a new area of research in academics and the tourism industry (Brown, & Katz, 2011). According to D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli (2011), people with disabilities have had worse experiences in traveling without any possible articulation of the defining element in the tourism industry. According to the study done by Holland & Lam (2014), where they attempted to define accessible tourism as nexus to universal design, they concluded that accessible tourism as not isolated to disability. Although people’s bodily states are linked to their life span, this allows researchers to be more inclusive of a broader group of people who gain from the provision of accessible tourism (Holland & Lam, 2014). Accessible tourism is a specific form of tourism that combines the collaborative process among stakeholders to enhance people with access requirements such as cognitive dimensions of access, hearing, vision, and mobility to function independently through an equitable process in delivering universally designed tourism products, environment, and services. D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli (2011), reaffirms that accessible tourism adopts a complete set of life approach where all people benefit out of accessible tourism, these include families with young kids, temporary and permanent disabled people, obese and seniors. Accessible tourism is vital for comprehending the rights of the biosphere’s aging population. People at old age face several challenges related to body weakness, and therefore they need time to stretch their bodies in leisure parks and other amenities that relieve them from loneliness (D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli, 2011). Creation of necessary alterations in the environment provides incapacitated people with peace of mind.

  • Attributes of Accessible Tourism
    • Physiological

According to Morrison (2013), physiology is defined as the relationship between the brain and the surrounding environment. Social psychology deals with individual behavior influenced by a group of people. In tourism, the physiological understanding of tourists tends to take the direction of attitudes and motivation. People with cognitive abilities are relieved their mental stress by visiting tourism zones. When people interact, they exchange ideas that are very touching and sometimes improves the quality of life. Including people living with disabilities in tourism is a method that triggers their minds to be more realistic and changes their ways of thinking (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). When tourists have accessible means to tourism areas, they change the environment which they lived before. The behavior that tourists possess after visiting an attraction zone is based on social, emotional, cognitive aspects, and motivation (Turner, 2016). The significant gains from tourism physiological perspective are satisfaction and experience, expectation, and decision-making benefits.

  • Population

Population is the number of people in a particular region within a specific period (Brown & Katz, 2011). Tourism is one of the most vital economic activity in the development of people’s welfare. Tourism population comprises of the young, the middle age, and the old generation who have the passion for exploring attraction zones. Brown & Katz (2011), argues that population attributes are vital to the kind of amenities provided by experimental design aimed at creating equity for all sets of people in the tourism industry. Also, countries with regressive population rates experience difficulties in the growth of tourism and their socioeconomic conditions continue to deteriorate (Brown & Katz, 2011). Therefore, international agencies thrive to use accessible tourism as a useful tool for alleviating poverty.

  • Social

Buhalis & Darcy (2010), assert that sustainable and accessible tourism has a potentiality of promoting social developments through creation of employment opportunities, poverty alleviation, and income redistribution. According to the resources retrieved from (https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/news/TakePartInResearch.aspx?rpi=453), there are many positive impacts of accessible tourism, such as contributing to changes in individual behaviors, improving family relationships, enhancing moral conducts, creating admirable expressions, and changing in values systems. According to Buhalis & Darcy (2010), tourism is not only exclusive an economic activity but also involves cultural, political, environmental, and social aspects. The social-cultural impacts of accessible tourism are complicated to measure. Therefore the attitudes and perceptions of the host tourists have differences that impact people’s lives either indirectly or directly. However, D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli (2011), argues that there are social costs that result from friendly tourism activities such as communities adopting the use of substance used by tourists like drugs and alcohol. Creating congestion is also inevitable and may come with violations of certain levels of human rights. For example, communities living along the beaches are displaced by the tourism industry to vacate their land to be used for hotel guests, and thus, these communities are barred from accessing their indigenous land.

  • Financial

As an economic activity, tourism is associated with many financial benefits that can be measured by their valuable contribution to the economy (D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli, 2011). Some social costs attract visitors whose lifestyles conflict with individual behavior. Enhancing accessible tourism helps diversify and stabilize the financial position of governments through the creation of extra tax revenues that include levies from sales tax, airport taxes accommodation, and restaurant taxes changed to tourists (Buhalis & Darcy, 2010).  The aspect of financial improvements comes with accessible tourism in a manner that business opportunities are created where the majority of the secure population employment either directly or indirectly in cases where hotel jobs such as hotel and tour services are concerned. However,  Brown & Katz (2011), states that there are many financial challenges related to the development of infrastructure that costs the government great deals of the financial burden. The employment created through accessible tourism tends to be seasonal, and workers are laid off at the end of the season (Brown & Katz, 2011). These have adverse effects on people’s income and can cause destabilization of people’s living standards.

  • Broader Aspects of Design
    • Management

Management is very crucial in providing accessible tourism design and services (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). These are necessary for ensuring that the tourism industry complies with legal requirements that provide equal rights for all people, including people with disabilities. Similarly, Brown & Katz (2011), argues that managers of tourism zones are responsible for providing their tourists with facilities that ensure accessibility is equally distributed among all tourists. The motive being viable management is to increase the potential customer base through the provision of access for aspiring customers with special needs, the elderly, and people with disabilities. However, with the extension of life expectancy that is witnessed in the western world, there are lesser potentials for the elderly compared to the young as opposed by the prevailing conditions of the tourism industry (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). The management of tourism departments should endeavor to train their staff in catering for the problems that might be encountered while providing accessible tourism market. Minimizing the differences between the standard designs and available designs in terms of increased satisfaction and location is very significant to the management of the tourism industry (Turner, 2016).

  • Thinking

`           Tourism is a social, economic and cultural phenomenon that consists of movement of people to different countries or places that are outside their usual environment for business and or other professional reasons (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). Tourists visit sites, and life goes on. When people visit sites, they leave behind money. They happily and willingly part their hard-earned cash for exchange with a service that is provided by either local or international service provider. It’s a fantastic thing that tourism is a method thought to be an agent of transfer of wealth. Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood (2009), adds that accessible tourism design creates opportunities for the development of new amenities and facilities that are used for recreation that would not have been in existence. Additionally, accessible tourism links people to new residents where they seek an emotional and spiritual connection with nature through visiting areas with natural resources that include waterfalls, unique flora, and fauna as well as mountains.

  • Experience Service

A range of tourism sources and stakeholders use the term tourism experience to relate to nature, but in the broader aspect, the term would mean benefits, meanings, activities, and satisfaction derived from tourism (D’lppolito, Miozzo, & Consoli, 2011). Some linear recreational models include episodic activity based where they start with the planning phase, travel phase, and later the experience of an on-site visit with the last stage being the return phase. Tourism and vacation experiences are interrelated in that during the holidays; people decide to tour various destination of their choice. The diversity in the tourism models depicts the dimensions of experience which are linked to the purpose of the travel. According to Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood (2009), tourism experience is a corporate of social and environmental activities that take place during travel to tourism zones. The services rendered by the tour guides may be appealing, or sometimes they may be very dull. When such services are tendered by tour guides, the tourist usually develops a lousy attitude towards tourism since their satisfaction was not met. However, Morrison (2013), argues that the quality of tourism experience service is associated with service delivery and quality, auditing, and control as well as quality assurance. The quality of tourism experience service is a component that cannot be foregone since, among the accessibility of tourism factors, quality of services is what drives the tourism industry.

  • Broader Aspects of Branding

Suppliers of tourism goods and services have realized that the role of brand penetrates beyond the identification of good and services required by the consumer (Brown, & Katz, 2011). The ability to create, protect, maintain, and enhance brands is among the most crucial responsibilities which are considered to be part of the business strategies. In the process of brand building, the tourism industry develops the worthiness of the brand and its equity to customers (Cousins, 2018). Many approaches to brand equity have been adopted by various groups where they define brand equity as a combination of behavior and associations that influence the increase in sales compared to non-branded goods and services (Morrison, 2013). Tourist brand equity includes activities that relate to destination awareness, destination image, destination loyalty, destination quality, and brand experience. Destination branding strategizes on the factors that are fueled to compete effectively with non-branded destinations. These convey developments that promise memorable travel experience which is uniquely associated with destinations.  Morrison (2013), argues that creating and supporting brand names of tourist zones, logos, wordmarks, among other graphics helps to identify the differences in destinations in the tourism industry. Branding can be a complicated process that requires the stakeholders to manage and control occasions with underdeveloped identities (Turner, 2016). It has become a business discipline that development of destination brands is associated with the experimental element of understanding the decisional tourism process. Branding is related to the diversity of challenges that destination marketers find it challenging to solve (Prabawa, Majid & Widiatmoko, 2019). There is a challenge with achieving the balance between developments of creative advertising and public relations. Many political decisions have influenced the process of branding; the government officials in many state-owned tourism areas fail to acknowledge the external benefits associated with branding. Additionally, Brown & Katz (2011), argues that budgetary constraints are also another hindering factor to tourism branding. Destination branding experts should be very sensitive to the cost of the materials used to make destinations more attractive compared to non-branded destinations (Ribeiro et al., 2018). Alongside the lack of adequate funds, political influence, and paucity interfere with managers work by creating an artificial position that deprives the effectiveness of the designed brand (Brown, & Katz, 2011). To achieve a successful brand building strategy, the tourism industry has to compose a framework that is unique and follows a set of market segments that are free from political and paucity issues.

  • Contemporary Gap in Research

Accessible tourism considers three main three factors that are deemed to be the key to tourism destination. First, the traffic way to reach the destination. And followed by the barrier-free facilities of the destination. Thirdly, the tourist attraction and local specialties (Cooper, Junginger & Lockwood, 2009). When the accessible tourism gets the first two items information, it will be more attractive for them to make decisions and the following research process, continue to learn relevant academic resource and keep learning how the tourism brand offers people with disabilities a better service in term of accessible tourism. Then the study is going to conduct a survey and visit to disabled people, to get information about their needs for tourism services and experienced services. According to Brown & Katz (2011), design analysis requires separate considerations for different groups of disabled people, for example, visually impaired people, infants, the elderly, and other people with mobility impairment. The design of the humanized expression-oriented system in tourist attractions can design suitable routes for different tourists. For the accessible facilities in the Chinese critical scenic area, there is still a problem to resolve, which is how to strengthen the management of facilities to ensure the systematized operation of these facilities. Promoting travel brand’s marketing strategy of developing accessible travel, making more detailed countermeasures from the aspect of strengthening marketing strategies and developing and upgrading tourism products for the disabled, to providing more professional and sophisticated services.

In conclusion, accessible tourisms’ growth has grasped some attainments in China. However, there are still numerous places demanding growth in China. The connected government rules and guidelines about the accessible tourisms’ growth are not comprehensive yet. These might result in some difficulties because of the scarcity of monetary resource to support its additional growth. The additional growth of accessible tourism is essential for adequate support from the government and the improved consciousness of the public regarding the importance of tourism to disabled persons. Tourism can carry numerous advantageous impacts on disabled people, counting the beneficial physical health and the mental health outcome. Because of these motives, it is significant and needed for the government of China to rise sand endorse the growth of accessible tourism to endorse the health state of the whole civilization in general and the beneficial consequence for growing the social wellbeing for the disabled people. Universal design does not project for the incapacitated. It is an all-encompassing viewpoint to make a culture of insertion. Get the vision precise, and all else trails with an inventive and pioneering solution that will entice one of the fastest rising marketplaces of any business. Clients who have precise access requirements are part of each tourism ‘segment.’ Both the elder cohort and people with incapacity have an imagery issue and are understood as inert non-involved persons. As a consequence, they are overlooked in product contribution. A Package or the Customer tactic is mandatory in the growth of Travel Service to People with an Incapacity. Their welfares are as extensive as any other group of individuals. They might be seeking mountain adventure, concert performance or a hotel for honeymoon. In business rapports, they are just ‘customer,’ but they require good admittance. Otherwise, they will select to go somewhere else. They also travel with family and friends. Through not marketing to voyagers with an incapacity, tourism organizations risk not one client but possibly many more whether it be family group, group of friends, wedding function or corporate conference. It is about recognizing people with an incapacity as a large part of the traveling civilization. Including imagery containing people with disabilities relishing travel all-round the biosphere with the families and friends will give those potential clients with incapacities the stimulus and assurance that they too can enjoy the prospect to experience new terminuses that can lodge their availability requirements. Broad accessibility to tourism must be treated the same as any other terminus marketing.


4.0. Questionnaire Survey (Customers)

Questionnaire survey is a method that is used for a quick and efficient gathering of data from various study samples. About this study, the questionnaires survey plays a significant role in the perception of accessible tourism. The main advantage of this method is that a large number of people can be reached for data collection relatively quickly and economically. This method provides quantifiable answers which are easy to analyze.

4.1. Expert Interviews

Expert interviews are conducted when the interviewee is an expert in the field under investigations. In relation to this research, the credibility and credentials of the interviewee are determined to facilitate data accuracy and reliability.

4.1.1.  Accessible Tourism & Brand Ctrip.com

The questionnaires contents in this section comprise of questions that relate to customer accessibility to tourism and brand Ctrip which is Chinese provider of travel services that include accommodation reservation, packaged tours, and corporate travel management and transportation ticketing. Some of the questions that customers are asked are; how often do you use Ctri.com international? What did you like about Ctrip?

4.1.2.  Barriers and Limitation

Many obstacles emerge during customers accessibility to tourism. Some of these barriers include the inclusion of people with disabilities in the tourism industry. Many facilities do not have proper set amenities for people with visual impairment, people with hearing problems, and even the elderly. Additionally, some barriers limit the effectiveness of the study, like leisure constraint models that are very difficult to understand for various groups of people.

4.1.3.  How can tourism brands change the experiential service for accessible tourism?

Tourism brands penetrate beyond the identification of good and services required by the consumer. The ability to create, protect, maintain, and enhance brands is among the most crucial responsibilities which are considered to be part of the business strategies. In the process of brand building, the tourism industry develops the worthiness of the brand and its equity to customers. Through the creation of tourism value, accessibility improves considerably, and many people can understand the kinds of tourism areas favorable for them.

4.1.4.  Design and Innovation

The questionnaire administered to customers is designed in such a way that customers do not feel offended by questions asked. For example, there is the use of technological systems in gathering information in this research, such as the internet and the use of telephone calls. Using technological methods enables the customer to give their views without fear of intimidation. The questions contained here are simple and direct to the customer.

4.2. Tourism Interviews (Physically Impaired Customers)

People with physical impairment are not supposed to be discriminated in the tourism industry. Therefore it is necessary to include them in the investigation of accessibility to tourism. Most of these particular case group of people are handled with one on one interview where the researcher by word of mouth extracts information from them and records the questionnaire on behalf of the customer. The questions contained in their interview includes; how often do you visit tourism areas? Do you feel comfortable with the tour guides leading you?

4.2.1.  Experience for Brand Used

People with physical impairment have their tastes and preferences, and therefore, in the questionnaire, some questions require such people to give information about what they like most in the tourism areas. For example, what type of areas do you like visiting the most? Do you enjoy the company of tour guides leading you to tourism areas?

4.2.2.  Experience for Tourist Attractions

Tourism attractions are the primary purpose of why people visit tourism areas. In the questionnaire section where people with physical impairment are concerned, there are questions such as how frequent do you visit tourism attraction areas? Would you like to revisit the fields once again? What do you like most in the tourism area?

  • Individual Interviews

For individual interviews in this research, the customer is allowed to express their feelings on various issues relating to tourism. For example, an individual is asked, what do you feel when you visit a tourist attraction area? Do you think it’s worth what you pay in the tourism area?