Attitudes towards the disabled in destination marketing organizations

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of destination marketing organization CEO's/Executive Directors towards the disabled. The study uses Wolfensberger's (1983) Social Role Valorization Theory as a basis for examining these attitudes. This theory proposes that when society gives value to the disabled person, then the society as a whole gains. First, the literature was reviewed to find out the relevant information about the disabled in the tourism industry. Second, Wolfensberger's Social Role Valorization Theory was assessed to see if his model actually worked. Third, a test was administered to see if individual attitudes would affect the hiring of disabled workers in destination marketing organizations.

The findings showed that Wolfensberger's model of Social Role Valorization did not work within this group of individuals. The findings also showed that many of the destination marketing managers would not hire the disabled in their organizations due to the problem of the disabled having a "poor appearance" to their customers. The data suggested that the respondents were not fully forthcoming because of the issue of "political correctness" in the destination marketing organization. Because of this the issue was raised that it may be difficult in the future to do this kind of research dealing with issues of discrimination toward disabled persons.