Research on disability tourism and accessibility has predominantly focused on visible disabilities, while research on invisible disability and tourism has received very limited attention. For the most part, work on invisible disability and tourism has featured primarily on social media platforms and has been written by individuals who are themselves People with Disabilities (PWDs). This has resulted in a gap in scholarly research on invisible disability and tourism and one which this dissertation sets out to address.
This study considers invisible disabilities and how they feature within the tourism industry with the focus on accessibility. A Tourism Journey Model was devised within this context and a study was made of three counties: India, South Africa and Australia. The legislation and tourism experiences relating to invisible disability were analysed and compared in these countries that represent the global South and global North. While the most recent legislation and regulations in these respective countries were consulted as primary documents, the experiences of tourists with invisible disabilities were assessed through the creation of a fictitious scenario based on social media sources. This research intends to draw attention to the accessibility of tourism regarding disabilities, with a specific focus on invisible disabilities. It highlights the gaps in the legal systems of South Africa, Australia and India regarding invisible disability tourism and accessibility, as well as the issues experienced by tourists within this realm. As regards all the phases of the Tourism Journey Model, it appears that Australia and India have a slight advantage over South Africa in terms of accommodating invisible disabilities. However, in the final analysis the study emphasises the importance of making the invisible visible.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria 2020.