Emma Akian

Document Type


Publication Date



Tourism is a universal activity, but not every individual has equal access to travel. This proposal analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the accessible tourism industry to identify ways of making travel both more accessible and sustainable. It focused on the benefits of incorporating accessibility into the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environment, community, and economy. With an estimated 1.3 billion people living with a significant disability globally, tourism providers are neglecting a significant demographic of travelers with immense influence over tourism revenue. Barriers to accessible tourism include a lack of comprehensive information, poor digital accessibility, and both physical and social obstructions to inclusivity. This project analyzed a case study from the Routledge Handbook of Nature-Based Tourism Development and expanded upon its ideas with a potential business model promoting accessibility within Costa Rica’s tourism industry. Using principles from two businesses, Senda Monteverde and Il Viaggio Travel, it was determined that the use of sensory-immersive experiences and educational influences to create tourism activities would be an inclusive way of permitting travelers with disabilities more freedom. Collaboration between sustainable and accessible tourism providers could strengthen economic and social impacts in each sector. Furthermore, it could help establish nations like Costa Rica as pioneers in ethical and nature-based accessible tourism.

Faculty Mentor

Paul Bagdan, Ph.D., CHE

Academic Discipline

College of Hospitality Management



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