This line of research focuses on how travel and recreational experiences and offerings are shaped by significant demographic and epidemiological trends (e.g., population ageing and growing proportions of chronic illness and disability affecting people’s mobility, senses and cognition).
Release of report on accessible tourism in the Netherlands (Dec. 2019): See blog entry
Related activities and output
2019: Co-author of a chapter on accessible tourism in the annual Dutch Trendrapport
van der Duim, V.R., Smit, B., and Ormond, M. (2019) 'Naar een inclusieve toeristische sector', in T. Vermeulen et al. (eds.), Trendrapport toerisme, recreatie en vrije tjid 2019, PleisureWorld NRIT en CBS, pp. 124-127. ISBN: 9789-94-91625-09-1. (in Dutch)
2019: Co-author of the 'Accessible Tourism: Towards an inclusive travel industry' report commissioned by the ANVR, the Nederlandse Branchevereniging Aangepaste Vakanties (NBAV), ReisWerk and Centre of Expertise in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality (CELTH)
van der Duim, V.R., Smit, B., Ormond, M., Papp, B., Fricke, J., Schmitz, P., and van Heiningen, J. (2019) Toegankelijk toerisme: Op weg naar een ‘inclusieve’ reisindustrie, Wageningen University. (in Dutch)
2018: Supervisor and consultant for the Accessible Tourism in the Netherlands: Sector Analysis Report 2017 (Cremers and Schmitz 2017), commissioned by the Nederlandse Branchevereniging Aangepaste Vakanties (NBAV), ReisWerk and Centre of Expertise in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality (CELTH)
This report examines the current situation of the accessible tourism sector in the Netherlands by first portraying supply and demand, and then investigated the sector’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Strengths of the accessible tourism sector identified were: large variety in offer, motivated and ambitious branch organization, motivated and loyal group of volunteers, and a focus on well-being. On the other hand, weaknesses have also been perceived, such as the heavy reliance on donors and governmental funds, lack of reliable data about the market, and underdeveloped professionalism. Opportunities include growing political and social awareness, the potential of the Dutch landscape and social environment, and a growing market in general. The external threats revolve around an increase in care and care costs, threats to the stock of volunteers, and the lack of training on accessible tourism.
2015-17: Expert consultant, BSc and MSc thesis and ACT supervisor, and Wageningen University & Research Science Shop project steering committee member for 'De meerwaarde van watersportactiviteiten voor mensen met een beperking' ['The added value of recreational water sports for people with disabilities'].
The project (access a PDF of the final report in Dutch) was commissioned by the Dutch not-for-profit accessible tourism provider SailWise that offers adventurous water sport holidays for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. With four accomodations in three different locations in the Netherlands, the organization relies heavily on a team of enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers to support holiday-makers with disabilities as they sail clippers and dinghies, paddle in canoes and kayaks, and learn to windsurf and water-ski. SailWise has found anecdotally that participation in its holidays yields positive results that extend into participants’ daily lives even after they return home. But does scholarly research support these findings? To answer this question, SailWise asked the Wageningen University and Research’s Science Shop to investigate the impacts of SailWise holidays on participants. Nine student research projects were subsequently carried out. The studies show that SailWise’s unique approach – one that focuses on what people can do (not what they can’t), includes everyone in decision-making processes and creates the feeling of being on a special adventure together – is highly appreciated by diverse groups of participants (e.g., younger or older, with or without prior water sport experience, with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, whether congenital or acquired) as well as by their families, care-givers and teachers. Results indicate that participation in water sport activities may positively affect participants beyond the holiday itself, fostering greater independence, coping capacity and self-confidence and improved body image. Findings from the research project suggest that more significant long-term effects of participation in active water sport holidays will be more pronounced among the following groups: participants wrapping up a clinical rehabilitation program; participants with limited opportunities to feel constructively challenged in their home environments; younger participants exploring their boundaries as part of their developmental process. Accessible tourism and leisure opportunities for people with disabilities constitute both a burgeoning market and field of study.
Related supervised thesis projects
Pieternel Cremers – 'The influence of specialized guided holidays on the empowerment of people with mild intellectual disabilities and autism-spectrum disorders', MSc Leisure, Tourism and Environment thesis, 2015
Paulina Schmitz (with Pieternel Cremers) – ‘Setting sail: An exploratory expedition towards understanding disability, holidays and happiness’, MSc Leisure, Tourism and Environment thesis, 2017
Eva Berends - 'Identity formation in a recreational environment: The role of the natural, built and social environment', BSc Tourism thesis, 2017
Julia Isrif - 'Disability Tourism: Robinson Crusoe Island as a Therapeutic Landscape and the Impacts of this Landscape on Children with Disabilities', BSc Tourism thesis, 2017
Judith van Nimwegen - 'Dutch policies and their implications for different actors in the disability tourism network', BSc Tourism thesis, 2017
Saskia Peters - 'Edging forward: using sailing holidays to change dependence, self-esteem and body image in people with acquired brain injuries', BSc Tourism thesis, 2017
Ellen van der Pol et al.- 'Sailing activities for disabled people an exploratory study about the added value and evaluation forms of sailwise', WageningenUR- Academic Consultancy Training, 2015
Additional Wageningen University thesis projects
Babs Matthieu (supervised by Pieternel Cremers and Hilje van der Horst) - 'Capturing the perceived empowerment of individuals with an impairment in the context of a PGB and tourism participation', MSc Health and Society thesis, 2017
Marlijn Wagenaar (supervised by Lenneke Vaandrager) - 'Experiencing a watersport holiday as part of a rehabilitation trajectory: identifying the salutogenic mechanisms', MSc Health and Society thesis, 2017