Turystyka osób niesłyszących - ujęcie geograficzne
From the theoretical, cognitive and practical aspect, the book deals with the issue of accessibility of tourism to deaf people using sign language. It presents the results of the author’s research into particular traits of tourist activity of deaf people analysed against the background of the reference group of hearing individuals in Poland, with the social model of disability taken into consideration. The study was carried out at the Department of Tourism and Recreation, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Between 2008 and 2010, it was conducted as part of a research project financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education . From the theoretical perspective, an attempt was made to: (1) identify the nature of the phenomenon of tourism viewed as an object of multi- and interdisciplinary research; (2) develop a model for actions aimed to stimulate tourism activity of deaf individuals. From the cognitive point of view, the subject of the research was the characteristics of tourism of deaf people in Poland. To date, no thorough research into this area has been carried out in Poland, and practitioners have repeatedly proposed that this gap should be filled. Filling this gap is a prerequisite for creating an accessible and satisfactory tourist offer meeting the expectations of individuals with a particular kind of disability. Such research has also been long-awaited by the community of deaf individuals, whose representatives have frequently asked a very important (in the age of universal design) question: why are not the needs of people constituting a language minority included in the Tourism Information System, or taken into account when designing tourist facilities and tourist services? The main research problems addressed by the author involved providing answers to the following questions: Q1: Is tourism activity (participation in tourism) of deaf people in Poland similar to that of hearing individuals? Q2: Do the characteristics of tourist activity of deaf people differ from those of hearing individuals? If yes, in what respects? Q3: How to prepare a tourist offer and how to provide tourist information so that the needs of deaf tourists are satisfied? From the cognitive aspect, the main aim of the study was to identify the specificity of tourist activity of deaf people against the background of the pattern of tourist activity of hearing Poles. The specific goals included: G1: identifying the characteristics of tourist behaviour of Poles in the period between 2004 and 2010 on the basis of secondary sources, such as data obtained from: the Institute of Tourism (IT) in Warsaw, the Central Statistical Office (GUS), and the Social Opinion Research Centre (CBOS); G2: identifying the similarities and differences between tourist behaviour of the deaf and hearing sections of the Polish population (including tourist activities pursued at weekends, on public and religious holidays, and during a vacation) on the basis of questionnaire-based interviews whose results were submitted to quantitative statistical analysis. The following hypotheses were formulated: H1: Participation of deaf people in tourism is not different from that of the whole of society. H2: The main factor preventing deaf people from participation in tourist activity is communication barriers. The research was carried out between 2004 and 2010. The main tools for data collection were questionnaire-based interviews carried out concurrently in both the deaf individuals (n=292) and hearing ones (n=1780) in Poland. To analyze the data, the following statistical methods were employed: statistical significance level (p), cluster analysis, regression analysis (odds ratio), and Pearson's Chi-square test for two proportions (structure indices). Calculations were made using STATISTICA software. From the practical aspect, the book is intended for tourism organisers, tourist accommodation managers and institutions responsible for the development of tourism (local, regional, and national ones) as a source of knowledge about the specificity of the segment of tourism comprised of sign language users; it also offers guidelines for creating Tourist Information Systems adapted to the needs of this particular group of tourists. Furthermore, it attempts to encourage deaf individuals to active participation in creating Tourist Information Systems and preparing tourist offers aimed specifically at sign language users. The book consists of six parts. Part one (chapters 1 and 2) includes the Foreword, and it introduces the reader to the context of tourism, geography and disability research. It explains the meaning of the key term, i.e. “tourism”, and it defines the scope of tourist research, which is determined by tourism’s heterogeneity. It focuses on the evolution of various approaches to this issue (from multi- to interdisciplinary ones), seeking to secure full autonomy for the knowledge of tourism. For the time being, however, tourism is the object of research pursued by representatives of numerous scientific disciplines, including geography. Therefore, subsequent sections present the scope of research into tourism conducted from a geographical perspective, as well as geographers’ academic achievements pertaining to disability, and different approaches to disability (from both a medical and a social viewpoint). Part two (chapter 3) presents an overview of relevant literature, and it discusses factors determining the development of tourism of deaf people (who constitute a distinct social subgroup), as well as various characteristics of this kind of tourism. Particular attention is focused on those traits which lead to the formation of a cultural community (such as: language, social identity, stereotypes, social stigma, or attitude to social integration). Subsequent sections present some selected conceptions of factors influencing tourist behaviour, which determine the segmentation of the tourist market and the adjustment of supply to demand, i.e. steps taken to improve the quality of services, and, consequently, increase the satisfaction with tourist trips. The choice of the conceptions was determined by the author’s knowledge of issues relating to tourism of deaf people . Hence, considerable attention is focused on a group’s influence on individual tourist behaviour, behavioural theories, and satisfaction derived from leisure (e.g. flow). Subsequent sections deal with how the tourist sector responds to various types of tourist behaviour (i.e. through the segmentation of the tourist market and improving the quality of services). The functioning of the Tourist Information System in Poland is also analysed; this issue is the “leitmotif” of the final part of the book, in which the conception of a Tourist Information System adapted to the needs of deaf people is outlined. Part three (chapters 4 and 5) contains information on tourism behaviour of both deaf people and the whole of the Polish society. On the basis of an overview of relevant literature, tourist activity of deaf individuals as well as barriers preventing deaf people from participation in tourist activity are analysed. Also discussed are practical solutions applied in the tourist and recreational sector, intended to make this sector more open to deaf clients (guidelines for tourism management, new technologies, good practice), as well as national social policies in the field of tourism of disabled people. The profile of tourist behaviour of Poles includes both particular characteristics and trends observed between 2004 and 2010, and it was drawn up on the basis of reports prepared by IT, GUS and CBOS. Part four (chapter 6) presents the results of the author’s research carried out among both deaf and hearing Poles. First, the methodology of the research and the respondents’ characteristics are discussed. The statistical analysis of traits of tourist behaviour of deaf and hearing respondents included: (1) trips made at weekends and on public and religious holidays; (2) trips made during a vacation; (3) attitudes of deaf and hearing respondents to social integration during free time; (4) barriers to participation in tourist trips. Part five (chapters 7 and 8) presents conclusions reached on the basis of the results of the comparative analysis of the traits of tourist behaviour of hearing and deaf Poles, with particular focus on the similarities and differences. It also presents conclusions drawn from the discussion of the results of the author’s research in the light of the current state of knowledge about tourism of deaf people. These conclusions led the author to develop her own model of actions aimed to stimulate the development of tourism of deaf people as well as to develop a model of the structure of a database in a Tourist Information System adapted to the needs of sign language users. The final conclusions refer to the theoretical, cognitive and practical aspects of tourism of deaf people discussed in the book. The various views presented in the book point to the fact that although tourism is a very fast developing branch of industry (both quantitatively and in terms of diversity of its forms), the very nature of this phenomenon has not changed. The central elements of the system of tourism, delineating the scope of research, are: (1) man (an individual or a group of people) – the subject of tourist activity; (2) the object of tourist activity – tourist destination or tourist destinations, determining the tourist route; (3) interactions between the subject and the object of tourist activity, occurring in the process of travelling; (4) tourist infrastructure, which may or must support the process of travelling, as well as facilities and tourist and paratourist services adequate for the character of the trip; (5) tourist information essential for planning trips and during trips. The development of tourism, its importance for the quality of man’s life and for the economy, has stimulated the progress of research conducted by representatives of numerous scientific disciplines. Initially, this research was of multidisciplinary character, but with time, as it developed and the relevant terminology and methodology became more uniform, the interdisciplinary approach began to prevail, and it is still the dominant one. Further development of interdisciplinary research aimed at consolidating the theory and methodology of studies on tourism may secure full autonomy for the science/sciences of tourism as a separate scientific discipline. Undoubtedly, this autonomy would, to a large extent, help solve problems requiring complex research, connected, among other things, with planning and managing tourism development in various spatial scales, as well as with tourism of the disabled. However, the model of evolution of studies on tourism towards an independent scientific discipline, developed by the author, points to the need to clearly define the object and methods of research, the research problems and the scope of scientific knowledge, as well as to identify the relationships between tourism and other scientific disciplines. These actions require a concerted effort and a compromise on the part of representatives of the various scientific disciplines involved in tourism research. The results of the research on the characteristics of tourist behaviour of deaf people were used as a basis for developing a model of a system of actions aimed to stimulate tourism activity of deaf individuals, which points to the need to take action in three areas. The first one, in keeping with the social model of disability, includes: changes intended to adapt the environment to the needs of disabled people, equalizing opportunities for access to education and the labour market, and social integration. The second area concerns the very essence of tourism – adapting tourist offer and tourist information to the specific needs of sign language users. The third area (the central point of the model) is connected with the stimulation of the community of deaf people aimed at improving their situation with regard to the level of education and economic status, better social integration, more involvement in the process of preparing tourist offer, and, in particular, in the process of providing tourist information. The importance of adapting a Tourist Information System to the needs of deaf tourists led the author to develop a model of the structure of a database in a Tourist Information System adapted to the needs of sign language users, based on the idea of a cooperation network, whose important link is the community of deaf people, as well as on the potential of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs). In the cognitive dimension, the comparative analysis of the traits of tourist behaviour of deaf and hearing people (including tourist activities pursued at weekends, on public and religious holidays, and during a vacation) shows that tourist activity (participation in tourism) of deaf Poles is not significantly different from that of the hearing section of the society. The findings revealed both differences and similarities between the characteristics of tourist behaviour of both groups. The unique traits of tourist behaviour of deaf people include: (1) greater popularity of: trips to visit one’s family and friends; trips with friends; trips made in spring and autumn, i.e. beyond the peak (summer) season; two-week trips; means of transport such as train; accommodation at one’s family, friends, spa hotels, hostels; forms of recreation involving visiting exhibitions and art galleries; (2) greater: importance of such factors as easy access and good opportunities for improving one’s health when choosing a tourist destination; interest in places of religious worship, going on pilgrimages, taking part in rallies and hikes, rehabilitation stays; focus on domestic destinations; pursuing – beyond one’s place of residence – the same kind of leisure activities as those pursued at home; barriers preventing deaf people from going on tourist trips, such as: lack of interesting offers available at travel agencies or lack of reliable information enabling deaf individuals to plan trips on their own; (3) less favourable attitude to social integration during tourist trips with hearing individuals (consequently, recreation in public places is less popular among deaf people). The traits of tourist behaviour common to both deaf and hearing people, identified also on the basis of data on tourist activity of Poles obtained from IT, GUS and CBOS, and encompassing the period between 2004 and 2010, include: considerable influence of variables such as age, education and professional activity on the choice of tourist destinations; predominance of individual trips or trips with family and friends; use of sources of tourist information, of which the most popular ones are the Internet and the opinions of close-ones and friends; predominance of trips made in the summer season, with seaside being the most popular destination; financial problems pointed out as the main factor preventing deaf individuals from going on trips. A major problem when performing a comparative analysis using statistical data obtained from IT, GUS and CBOS is the heterogeneous research methodology employed by these institutions, as well as a lack of information on whether the surveyed samples (representing the whole Polish society) included disabled individuals. Information on the degree and kind of disability ought to be included in the group of those basic variables (such as age, education and income) which are taken into account in the analysis of tourist activity and in the segmentation of the tourist market. The scope of the study makes it possible to corroborate the initial hypothesis (H1): “participation of deaf people in tourism is not different from that of the whole of society”, the similarity lying in the very fact of going on tourist trips. As regards the traits, however, this participation, apart from common attributes, is also characterized by traits which are unique to the community of deaf people, which makes it possible to identify the needs of this group with regard to creating an accessible and satisfactory tourist offer meeting its expectations. Hypothesis H2, “the main factors preventing deaf people from participation in tourist activity are communication barriers”, was not directly confirmed. Just like the hearing section of the population, also deaf people pointed to financial problems as the main hindrance. However, it was shown that the specificity of this kind of disability may affect the economic status of deaf people, who are worse off than hearing individuals. The data on deaf tourists using sign language ought to find practical application since: (1) it may help improve the quality of life of deaf individuals; (2) it may help tourism managers win over a new group of clients; (3) it may help create a universal tourist offer and a universal Tourist Information System thanks to a cooperation network based on the idea of stimulating tourist activity, as well as the resourcefulness of deaf people and changing mentality of tourism and leisure organisers (perceiving deaf people as both clients and competent workers or partners, particularly in the field of providing services for individuals and groups of people using sign language). A quantitative approach was adopted in the study. The comparative analysis included a set of traits common to both studied groups. To identify factors determining the behaviour of deaf people during their free time also other characteristics should be taken into account, e.g. the type of their immediate social environment (among other things, whether there are any hearing people in their immediate family). Additional qualitative research should be done on issues relating to tourist satisfaction, which are only rarely brought up in the context of disabled people. Furthermore, the model of the structure of a database in a Tourist Information System adapted to the needs of sign language users should be tested in experimental conditions in cooperation with representatives of: (1) scientific centres conducting studies on tourism with particular focus on information and communications technologies; (2) the Polish Tourist Organisation; (3) deaf people and institutions for deaf individuals, e.g. the Polish Association for the Deaf; (4) entrepreneurs and providers of tourist services. The results of such experiments and tests might help define optimal rules for the practical application of the proposed solutions.
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