Us and them? Is there a need for ‘accessible apps’
Academic studies in the field of tourism and hospitality continue to highlight technology as a vehicle to both simulate and enhance tourism experiences (Errichiello et al., 2019; Li et al., 2018; Scott et al., 2019; Tham et al., 2021). But while Tlili et al. (2021) explains that the integration of technologies in tourism has in many cases improved the tourism experience. Thirty-six million people are living with some form of sight loss (WHO, 2021) and age is commonly associated with declining vision (Age UK, 2022). Richards et al. (2021) note that smartphone apps alongside booking sites and information boards continue to come in inaccessible formats together with limited functionality for some users; meaning that the existing travel booking and mobility apps simply do not enable all people to live and travel independently (Khan and Khusro, 2021). This presents challenges for users who require support and assistance from smartphone and smartwatch devices (Chorfi et al., 2017). Besides the foundations of any tourism experience are permitting accessibility to destinations (Darcy, 2010), it is noted that inaccessible technologies limit both choices and enjoyment of travel for people with disabilities (Richards et al., 2021) and by extension older travellers who often face the same or similar accessibility challenges. Therefore, this submission will discuss the capabilities of travel apps and the need for such knowledge to be accessible.