Research profile 2: Kevin Quigley

Kevin Quigley, School of Public Administration

Scenario planning and the future of tourism for persons with disabilities

With Lorn Sheehan, Rowe School of Business, Faculty of Management

The global tourism sector has been devastated by COVID-19: financial losses in the sector are already more than five times the loss experienced during the 2009 global financial crisis. This impact will require a significant industry realignment; there will be an intense search for efficiencies.

As the tourism sector finds its footing, how will the sector meet the needs of persons with disabilities? They may have a heightened sense of risk as a result of the pandemic, be more susceptible to diseases, need better access to health services when on holiday, require assistive devices and enhanced sanitation protocols and contact-less technologies. Information will have to be communicated in accessible formats. Persons with disabilities may require assistance that challenges aspects of social distancing directives and border controls. They are often avid travelers whose right to accommodation is protected by law if not always in practice. Prior to COVID-19, accessible tourism was expected to represent 25% of the market by 2025.

This project examines the governance of ambiguous risks—for which there are legitimate, competing and irreconcilable knowledge claims—that currently manifest in discussions about tourism and persons with disabilities as a result of COVID-19. The intuitive logics school of scenario planning provides an effective way to address the issues that result from ambiguous risks. The project will juxtapose experiences in Atlantic Canada and Scotland.

Research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.