Key Challenges Facing the Development of Accessible Tourism, Using the Example of Szczecin in Poland
Purpose: The main objective of the study was to identify the key barriers to the development of accessible tourism in Szczecin and show the importance of travel issues for people with special needs, including mobility. Design/Methodology/Approach: The survey and Delphi methods were used. A random sample of 305 people participated in the online survey, including 91 people who indicated they are disabled or are a carer and/or parent of a disabled person. The research questionnaire consisted of a metric section (5 questions) and a question section (9 questions). In the Delphi method, the criteria for selecting the research experts were their competence, knowledge and experience in the field being researched. This was a one-off, nationwide survey in the form of an independent, parallel study. An expert questionnaire was created with 24 barriers, of which 18 were selected as the most characteristic of mobility disabilities. The survey was designed to delineate common barriers for the disabilities studied and to identify key barriers for a specific disability. Findings: After analysing the responses of the experts and respondents and the scores obtained by each barrier, it was determined that all the limitations included in the survey are common in Szczecin and present a significant obstacle to exploring the city. Thus, they were only counted in one of the four separate spaces. Practical Implications: The city of Szczecin is not adapted to serve tourists with mobility disabilities. The main focus in Szczecin should be on eliminating or minimising urban barriers, with specific emphasis on improving and lowering the height of kerbs, separating them from the road lanes and modernising old buildings to increase architectural accessibility. Originality/Value: The article presents the results of its independent research conducted using the survey method and Delphi method in the period December 2020-April 2021 on a representative random sample of N=305.