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Online communication of accessibility conditions in touristic spots: the design–communication gap in Porto destination

Beatriz Casais (School of Economics and Management and CICS.UMinho, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)
Celine Castro (Faculty of Economics, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 15 July 2021




It is important to design accessible destinations for disabled tourists. However, to attract this market segment, it is also important to efficiently communicate online the accessibility provided. This paper aims to analyse the online communication of physical accessibility conditions designed for disabled tourists, to discuss the existence or non-existence of a design–communication gap in tourist destinations.


The authors analysed the physical accessibility of a selection of touristic spots in Porto, Portugal. The online communication regarding the physical accessibility of these spots’ informative websites was also analysed. Subsequently, a content analysis of these same websites was conducted to ascertain whether accessibility conditions for disabled tourists are disclosed in line with the physical and online facilities observed.


The destination websites’ online contents targeting disabled tourists are generic and do not inform about all the accessible facilities provided by the touristic spots analysed.


The authors found a gap between the accessible destination design and its communication in destination websites. This situation creates a barrier for people with physical disabilities and it is particularly concerning, considering that this market segment seeks for information in online sources to plan trips and does not find on the internet all the information about the accessible facilities provided. This fact may hinder the positioning of destinations as inclusive places and impair accessible tourism competitiveness. A better online communication of the accessible destination design is recommended.


为残疾游客设计出无障碍旅游地是非常重要的。然而, 为了吸引这部分游客市场, 有效地在线宣传提供的无障碍条件也是非常重要的。本论文分析为残疾游客提供的无障碍设施的在线宣传, 以讨论旅游地是否存在设计-宣传差异。


本论文分析了葡萄牙波尔图城市游客景点的无障碍设施。本论文还分析了这些景点网站对于无障碍设施的描述。本论文采用文本分析方法, 对这些网站内容进行分析, 验证是否为残疾游客提供的无障碍设施如网上宣传介绍一直。


研究结果表明, 景点网站针对残疾游客的内容太过笼统, 并没有介绍景区提供的全部无障碍设施。


本论文展示了无障碍旅游地设计与其网站宣传之间的差异。这将对残疾人造成障碍, 尤其是那些通过在线信息来确立旅游计划的游客, 他们无法在网络上找到全部关于提供的无障碍设施的信息。这将阻碍景点定位为全包容性旅游目的地, 影响其无障碍旅游竞争力。本论文推荐无障碍景点设计应该有一个更好的在线宣传。



Conflict of interest: On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


Casais, B. and Castro, C. (2021), "Online communication of accessibility conditions in touristic spots: the design–communication gap in Porto destination", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 196-209.



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