Within the tourism sector, sustainability has been studied widely at different levels and with different lenses. In the last few years, many research activities have been carried out to assess the social dimension of tourism. Under this perspective, scholars have focused on the accessibility of the tourism and hospitality sectors. This study represents the first-ever attempt to assess how tourists’ physical handicaps or special needs are considered in a very specific kind of accommodation facility: the mountain hut. To do so, semi-structured interviews were conducted with mountain hut managers about four mountain huts—29% of all the mountain huts located in Gran Paradiso National Park, the first established Italian protected area. The results underline both strong and critical points. Considering that many mountain huts are located in severe environments (e.g., medium-high altitudes and reachable only on foot), they have limitations in hosting visitors with physical constraints, who, on the other hand, normally do not attend this kind of facility. By contrast, all of the mountain hut managers were able to satisfy visitors with special food needs, for example, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, showing their capability to cope with new forms of tourism demands and expectations.

Should I Stay or Can I Go? Accessible Tourism and Mountain Huts in Gran Paradiso National Park

Riccardo Beltramo
;
Stefano Duglio;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Within the tourism sector, sustainability has been studied widely at different levels and with different lenses. In the last few years, many research activities have been carried out to assess the social dimension of tourism. Under this perspective, scholars have focused on the accessibility of the tourism and hospitality sectors. This study represents the first-ever attempt to assess how tourists’ physical handicaps or special needs are considered in a very specific kind of accommodation facility: the mountain hut. To do so, semi-structured interviews were conducted with mountain hut managers about four mountain huts—29% of all the mountain huts located in Gran Paradiso National Park, the first established Italian protected area. The results underline both strong and critical points. Considering that many mountain huts are located in severe environments (e.g., medium-high altitudes and reachable only on foot), they have limitations in hosting visitors with physical constraints, who, on the other hand, normally do not attend this kind of facility. By contrast, all of the mountain hut managers were able to satisfy visitors with special food needs, for example, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, showing their capability to cope with new forms of tourism demands and expectations.
14
5
2936
2952
https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/14/5/2936
Mountain tourism, hospitality sector, mountain huts, accessibility, natural protected areas
Riccardo Beltramo, Stefano Duglio, Giulio Mario Cappelletti
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1845258
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