Accessible Tourism Discourse and the Pandemic: Linguistic Resilience and Communicative Strategies in the Promotion of ‘Tourism for All’

Stefania Gandin


Since its outbreak in Asia in 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has represented an unprecedented challenge for the tourism sector. In addition to the income losses due to travel restrictions and constantly-changing public health protocols, the uncertainty related to the rapid and increasing evolution of the pandemic has inevitably forced tourism operators to rethink how their work is organised and develop new approaches and procedures for planning and promoting their activities. In this scenario, tourists with disabilities have been hit even harder by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, since they have generally been excluded from the main communication channels during the pandemic (UNWTO 2020c). However, more inclusive and accessible approaches by tourism operators could become a profitable opportunity to reboot their activities and overcome the critical effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in a contemporary and future perspective.  

This study will focus on how tourism discourse is tackling the challenges of the pandemic in the promotion of accessible holidays and Covid-19 related information. By means of discourse analysis and corpus-based methodologies, we will take into consideration the main linguistic and pragmatic features characterising a corpus of promotional web resources employed by public and private operators working in the field of accessible tourism. The research aims to identify and highlight the most effective communicative strategies employed in this sector during the pandemic, in order to understand how language may potentially contribute to a more resilient response to the current tourism crisis. Results will show that verbal and non-verbal resources are the main tools strategically co-employed by accessible tourism operators to instil new trust in the sector, to comply with constantly-changing national and international public health advice and government rules and, at the same time, to ensure safety and social inclusion to visitors and travellers with disabilities. 


Accessible tourism discourse; Covid-19 recovery; inclusion

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