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Sydney for All Portal: A Model to Replicate Around the World

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Sydney for All Travel 2.0 Portal

Sydney for all logo

The inclusive tourism market incorporates people with disabilities and those who are ageing and who have access needs (mobility, vision, hearing and communication). Significant numbers of Australians and people from overseas have disabilities – 600 million worldwide. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 4 million Australians have a disability [1]. Based on the National Visitor Survey 88 per cent of these people travelled within Australia in the previous year, 7 per cent travelled overseas and most travelled in independent groups with an average size of 4.1 people. The accessible tourism market has recently been valued at $4.8 billion to the Australian economy [2] with significant latent demand.

Yet, finding tourism experiences and day trips that are accessible has been a major issue for people with disabilities and those with access requirements. Many disability organizations provide member created word of mouth lists, tips and stories to help others plan their day trips and holidays more easily. However, these information systems are incomplete and problematic.

A prototype Web “portal”,, aims to make it easier to find accessible destination experiences around Sydney for those with access needs.

The portal reflects the findings of a research project and seeks to provide accessibility information about key tourism experiences that people can enjoy when they are in Sydney. The area covered by the portal includes The Rocks, Circular Quay, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. It also includes the Sydney Fish Markets, a ferry trip to Manly and a visit to North Head. The research project was sponsored by the Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre, Tourism NSW, the Tourism and Transport Forum and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. The project was led by Associate Professor Simon Darcy of the University of Technology, Sydney.

One key feature of the portal is its ability to provide information to people with vision impairment. The portal has been developed to meet international W3C Web Accessibility standards and was independently assessed by Vision Australia to verify compliance with those standards.

Sydney portal

The information provided on the portal was gathered by people with disabilities actually experiencing the attraction and documenting that experience. Information was also provided by the attraction, many of which have implemented strategies to improve their access for people with access needs. For example, the Sydney Opera House has not only started to improve mobility access but also access for people with vision and hearing impairment.

The web portal offers information by icon, text, photographs and links to additional information. It embraces ‘wayfinding’ maps, transport, parking, toilets and most importantly the experience itself. The portal will also help providers within the tourism industry plan to market collaboratively, improve their services and encourage more tourists with disabilities to visit them.

As this is a test site and will be reviewed at the end of three months, feedback on the portal and suggestions are welcome. People can complete the independent survey that is linked to the portal, or you can contact either the researchers directly on or

The long-term aim is to have a more expansive portal that will assist people to plan their holidays and will incorporate detailed transport, accommodation and disability support information.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2004). Disability Ageing and Carers Summary of Findings, 2003 (Cat No. 4430.0). from

[2] Dwyer, L., & Darcy, S. (2008). Chapter 4 – Economic contribution of disability to tourism in Australia. In S. Darcy, B. Cameron, L. Dwyer, T. Taylor, E. Wong & A. Thomson (Eds.), Visitor accessibility in urban centres: Technical Report 90040 (pp. 15-21). Gold Coast: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (forthcoming).

Further Information, please contact:

Dr Simon Darcy, University of Technology, Sydney – 61 2 9514-5100

Bruce Cameron, Easy Access Australia –

Web Portal Front Page

Peace through Tourism Course Launched

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Peace through Tourism Course Launched

World Leisure International Centre of Excellence logo

While I have not reviewed the final curriculum I did contribute in the research phase of this promising new course:

At the 4th IIPT African Conference, May 20th – 25th 2007, Kampala, Uganda, a course on Peace through Tourism was launched, discussed and enthusiastically received by the international community. WICE – World Leisure International Centre of Excellence at Wageningen University, The Netherlands – developed this course; course director is Dr Jan te Kloeze.The course is an initiative aiming to consolidate the concept of Peace through Tourism. It is open to external participants, members of institutions interested in the subject, and tourism and peace policy makers.

The course – duration 4 weeks – is divided in four thematic units:

1. Sustainable tourism and the world today;
2. Theory of peace making and peace keeping in a national and international context;
3. The role of tourism in promoting international understanding;
  4. Tourism and community development: tourism as an agent for poverty reduction.

Peace through Tourism Course Launched
A trans-interdisciplinary approach is used to outline the potential of tourism as a peace tool. Lecturers from WICE together with international academics, carefully selected from the WICE world wide network of renowned experts are giving the lectures.

The classes will take place at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. When certain conditions are met, the course can be given in other guest countries too.

Costs and fees: € 3,770.—[including living costs, travel costs, and fee; fee only: € 1,750.–].

About World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE)
In 1988 the Association began exploring the concept of a truly international post-graduate programme in leisure studies. Ultimately this led to the creation of a framework for the World Leisure International Centres of Excellence (WICE). The purpose was to provide an unique opportunity whereby postgraduate students from countries around the world and international leisure specialists come together in one location for a two-year program leading to a graduate degree.

The first such program was established in The Netherlands in 1992, with substantial support from the Dutch government. Today, through a contract with Wageningen University, a leading international institution in Holland, the WICE program gives students access to the resources of the University and at the same time provides instruction and consultation through a visiting faculty of 40 professors in any given year. Up to 25 students are admitted each year. Students completing the program receive a M.Sc. degree in Leisure and Environments. Many of the graduates have gone on to occupy senior leadership positions in their home countries.

A WICE Advisory Panel, responsible to the World Leisure Board, reviews and advises on existing programmes and new initiatives. For more information, visit

Accessibility Improves in New Zealand Tourism

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
The Department of Conservation (DOC) on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is sitting up and taking notice of access tourism. Knights Point 1.JPG DOC manages more than 1.9 million hectares ... [Continue reading this entry]

Alaska by Kayak – and Wheelchair

Sunday, June 8th, 2008
Alaksa tests the language of comparatives and scrambles metaphors: "Land of the Midnight Sun," "the No-See-Ums are so big you can see them." From May 25 to 30, 2008 I was invited to tour Glacier Bay ... [Continue reading this entry]