Inclusivity in Higher Tourism Studies: A Necessary Reality

Inclusivity in Higher Tourism Studies: A Necessary Reality

Almudena Barrientos-Báez (School of Tourism, Iriarte University, Spain), Eduardo Parra-López (Instituto de Investigación Social y Turismo (ISTUR), University of La Laguna, Spain), and José Alberto Martínez-González (University of La Laguna, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5691-7.ch018
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The university as an institution plays a key role in its role in improving the quality of life of people. On the other hand, education is shown as a fundamental pillar to achieving an ideal configuration of a heterogeneous, diversified, organized, and inclusive society. Teamwork and respect among the people who are part of the academic community are reflected in the development of the teaching units that make up the Teaching Guides adapted to the European Education Area. With this premise, the objective of this research is to establish the interrelationship between inclusive education in the university and the tourism industry. To this end, it will be analysed to what extent the Tourism Degree curriculum contains subjects related to inclusiveness, particularly with aspects such as disability and mobility. A thorough literature review on this field of study and the analysis of real cases of a sample of Spanish universities is carried out.
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This article is made in the hope of providing a little more visibility to a situation that is there and is likely to be ignored by young university students. The White Book of Design for All at the university (2006), was a before and after to favour substantial changes in the curricula of the different Spanish universities. On the other hand, different public institutions explicitly support this current of thought and good work that support students and professors in supporting the University Training project in Design for All People. It is based on collaboration between different public administrations with private sector companies, both nationally and internationally (CRUE Spanish Universities, ONCE Foundation (National Organization of the Blind of Spain) and the Royal Disability Board). Also through the support provided to organisations, entities, specialists and promoters in studies, research and development, information, documentation and training (ONCE Fundation, CESyA, CENTAC).

Graduates in tourism during the exercise of their profession interact with people who may have mobility difficulties or pathologies that may make it difficult for them to approach and enjoy the tourist destination. Education, therefore, becomes the core of this research.

Currently, non-profit entities linked to specific groups and supported by state or supranational public organisations provide training courses on mobility and accessibility. In the case of this study, reference is made to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO): an international institution whose main objective is to promote tourism in a sustainable, responsible and ACCESSIBLE way for the enjoyment of all. It is directly linked to the United Nations, and defends the application of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to minimise the impacts caused by the sector to the environment and society as a whole, giving additional educational importance to specific training in the making of ethical decisions, as Díaz del Campo defends (2012, p. 14). From here, it encourages teaching with active methodologies that motivate the student to train to increase and facilitate the inclusion and enjoyment of everyone in the tourism sector, both travellers and workers, in follow-up to the principles set by Munuera (2015). From here a conclusion is anticipated that refers to the importance of this knowledge acquired so that young people can be counted in the near future will be part of the tourism industry communicating daily with people who need specific and professional attention and taking advantage to this of its digital nativity (Alonso, et al., 2016) to compensate for the loss of relative importance of traditional media (Marta & Gabelas, 2013, p. 16; Bernal, 2010, p. 6) that would have played a more important role at the time of Sandoval (1998) or in the cases studied, by contrast, by Correyero (2003) and Infante (2014).

On the other hand, it is verified that in the Teaching Guides of the Degree in Tourism (2019-2020), issues concerning accessibility in the tourism field are hardly contextualised. Therefore it is understood that for students to be trained in this particular subject, the corresponding teacher training is essential so that they can program their subjects, including the present subject of study. The end goes beyond the purely academic because the graduate in Tourism must be able to manage, design and direct strategic plans for the improvement in accessibility of a hotel infrastructure of the beach, mountain, urban, a promenade, access to the cable car of a tourist resort, etc.

In 2014, the UNWTO published module I of the manual on Accessible Tourism for All, a work co-produced by the ONCE Foundation, and a year later the three remaining modules were published for professionals that make up the tourism sector. The manual details and bases the social inclusion of people with disabilities in Spain and in the European Accessible Tourism Network (ENAT). This is a manual in a digital version with easy access and recommended reading for students and teachers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Study Plans: A study plan is a template that summarises everything that will be taught in certain areas or subjects.

Accessibility: Accessibility is the set of characteristics and factors that facilitate communication, access and enjoyment for all citizens in the world.

High Education: It is the education that is taught at the university to complete the academic stage of the student including professional and formal aspects with the aim of labour inclusion.

Tourism Degree: The degree in tourism enables the student to enter the job market in the tourism sector by learning specifically about the creation, management, direction, insertion and distribution of tourism products and/or services. In Europe, it is a university career structured in 4 academic courses made up of 60 credits (ECTS) each.

Inclusive Education: Is that education based on principles of solidarity and teaching for all. Especially for those who could suffer some type of social exclusion due to their disability, culture or social condition.

Inclusive Tourism: Inclusive tourism is the total of activities, services and tourist products that allow their enjoyment by and for all regardless of the person´s disability.

University: The University is that public or private institution of higher education made up of different specialisations or faculties that grant degrees based on the learning and development of subjects taught over 4 academic years.

Teaching Guides: A didactic or teaching guide is a document that admits different possibilities of a specific subject for the correct learning, development and understanding by the student.

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