Gaining Access at Historic Tourism Sites: A Narrative Case Study of Physical Accessibility at Glamis Castle
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Today, tourists seek authentic experiences from places they visit. For countries where the historic environment is a key component of tourism, the concept of maintaining authenticity is vital to encourage potential visitors. Historic buildings, such as castles, were built in a time when accessibility for people with disabilities was not a major concern. Today, the number of people living with a disability is increasing and is expected to continue to grow as a result of the aging population and longer life expectancy. While all people may have a desire to participate in tourism, and a similar growing interest in an authentic experience, a historic site is enjoyed by all interested visitors only when it is accessible to all. How does a service provider enhance accessibility while continuing to preserve authenticity of the historic site? A service provider of a historic site is faced with the extra challenge of juggling both disability and heritage policy requirements. Satisfying the needs of both can be difficult and may, at times, feel like accessibility at a historic site is an impossible goal. Researching the interaction between these two types of policy and the influence they have on accessibility and disability at historic sites assists in the discovery of policy areas that interfere with a service provider’s ability to enhance accessibility. This may increase knowledge of how to increase accessibility, and how policy currently influences the perpetuation of accessibility and disability at these tourist sites. The purpose of this case study is to explore Glamis Castle in Scotland to illuminate accessibility at the confluence of three power contexts: the economics of tourism, the preservation of historic buildings, and the inclusion of people with disabilities. Stories uncovering the confluence of the three power contexts and its influence on Glamis Castle were created. Using narrative case study methodology and Roe’s (1994) approach to narrative policy analysis, stories about accessibility and disability at Glamis Castle were created through visual and textual data, and a review of policy and other related documentation. The stories reveal the current state of disability and heritage policy and its effect on Glamis Castle, the current perpetuation of disability and accessibility at the site, and current challenges that service providers may face at historic sites. The stories reveal the need for service providers, staff, and the public to be provided with more educational opportunities to help enhance accessibility at historic sites and encourage inclusion; specifically, they provide insight into the influence choice has on enhancing accessibility at the macro, organizational and individual levels.
Cite this work
Heather Barlow (2013). Gaining Access at Historic Tourism Sites: A Narrative Case Study of Physical Accessibility at Glamis Castle. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/7176