Considering Service Animals in Tourism

Authors: Jillian Rickly*, The University of Nottingham
Topics: Tourism Geography, Disabilities, Animal Geographies
Keywords: tourism, animals, guide dogs, disabilities, accessible
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Accessible tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the tourism industry and increasingly recognized as essential to supporting mobility and leisure as human rights. This has contributed to active research in regard to human disabilities and mobilities needs in tourism. Yet, the ways in which transportation services, accommodations, and tour operators provide for the needs of service animals remains underdeveloped and underexamined. Service animals are increasingly utilized to mitigate mobility challenges, including visual impairment, physical disabilities, disorder response, and emotional and psychological support. As they often accompany their handlers on holiday, service animals are also becoming more prevalent in the tourism and travel sector worldwide, revealing our lack of understanding of their needs in tourism mobilities. This paper summarizes the current state of our understanding of service animals in tourism studies, particularly in relation to ethics and animals. It builds from this to present preliminary findings on the travel behavior of service animal users, particularly the resources available to them and the common challenges they face.

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