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Master’s thesis: “Did you think that with this video you offend many old, faithful customers?”

Master’s thesis: “Did you think that with this video you offend many old, faithful customers?”

Accessible hospitality is built on a thought that hospitality should not depend on tourist’s background or personal traits such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or physical abilities, for instance.

In her Master’s thesis, Anu Harju-Myllyaho studied how accessible hospitality is generated – how it is understood by tourism companies and their customers. The data was collected from online discussions of gay friendly tourism and hospitality companies in Helsinki.

The results indicate that accessible hospitality is a complex issue. People participating in the discussions carry along the variety of their personalities, pasts, presents and futures. The participants in the discussions, both companies and customers, share a will for more inclusive tourism services. Every participant’s goal is quite the same: to be included. However, the way people see accessible hospitality varies, which makes communication rather challenging. This may lead to situations where including one group of people leads to a sense of exclusion for another. For instance, including rainbow people making them visible seems to automatically lead to a sense of exclusion for some.

People are rarely only one thing and it is challenging to build services that would be suitable for all. It seems to be somewhat problematic for an individual company to handle identity intersections such as sexual orientation and aging or sexual orientation and ethnic background. It might be beneficial to take a holistic approach to accessible hospitality – to look at the issue of inclusion in tourism as a part of socio-economic inclusion as a whole. Only if we understand the social impacts of tourism, being a tourist and being a host, we can start building accessible hospitality.

Anu Harju-Myllyaho: Towards accessible hospitality – Intersectional approach to rainbow tourism.

The supervisor of the thesis was Senior Lecturer José-Carlos García-Rosell.

Master’s theses are published in the open source archive Lauda.

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