|This thesis explores the embodied nature of the tourism experience, particularly among senior tourists with travel companions holidaying in Bali. The originality of this research is that the approach draws on a range of data to understand what shapes this context, relationships, and individuals’ understandings, of how to create an inclusive environment for senior tourists with disabilities. The research also values the subjective, inter-subjective nature of senior tourists’ experiences, with complexities in the personal, relationship, and emotional fields.
Drawing upon qualitative inquiry, this research sought to understand and explore the experiences of senior tourists with disabilities, to see the world from their points of view. An inductive approach was used, beginning with experiences from senior tourists with disabilities. The data were collected using in-depth semi-structured interviews with seven senior tourists, who identified six travel companions. This was then followed with data collected from tourism providers to analyse tourism providers’ understandings, familiarity, and espoused values. In order to capture the organisations’ understandings, ten individuals from tourism organisations in Bali were also interviewed. Additionally, secondary data analysis was conducted on six tourism organisations’ websites using “Identification organisational communication theory” to highlight their espoused values, rhetoric, and assumptions regarding accessible tourism. The interview data from the senior tourists, their travel companions, and tourism providers, were then analysed using thematic analysis, and the secondary organisational data were analysed using Cheney’s “Identification theory” for analysing the espoused communication and organisational identification.
The results unfolded three emergent findings: “experiencing tourism as seniors,” “relationality,” and “insights from tourism providers.” The experiences of senior tourists with disabilities holidaying in Bali highlight their relationship dynamics in terms of their embodied emotions, and social interactions. The senior tourists reflected on the various ways they experienced tourism: corporeal, sensuous, and emotional. The experience involved the object and inter-subjective aspects of Bali as a holiday environment. These findings contribute to the development of tourism knowledge in the area of senior tourist experiences, family and care travel, and accessible tourism. The thesis concludes with reflections on respecting and recognising individual differences to establish an inclusive atmosphere. It also provides recommendations for Balinese local government and tourism providers on what to continue and what to alter, to create an inclusive context for senior tourists with a disability.