A Netnographic Study of Physically Challenged Indonesian’s Behaviours within Virtual Tourism Destinations

One of the levers behind the 2030 agenda for sustainable development is leaving no one behind. It is important for physically challenged people because of the lack of understanding of the culture and various obstacles they encounter often causes them to be marginalised especially in tourism.   Natural tourism destinations are one of the most challenging tourist destinations because of the access for wheelchair tourist. The lower the accessibility, the lesser control they have when travelling.  However, how technology can make tourism more inclusive for wheelchair users is the aim of this study.

Research on IT and tourism has changed the general understanding of how to change our technology and society. Virtual tourism is one of the technologies that is starting to be developed in tourism. Despite this, tourists' experiences in virtual tourist destinations remain relatively unexplored, especially for people with physical challenged who use wheelchairs. However, whether and how this virtual tourism experience could influence the level of exclusion-inclusion has not been discussed in detail. Employing qualitative research approach, this research tried to better understand the behaviour of physically challenged when travelling to tourism destination using virtual reality headset. The location for this research is in Jakarta, Indonesia. Participants are selected from the age range of 18 to 45 years old. The findings of this research indicated that physically challenged who use a wheelchair more inclusive in the tourism destination when using VR headset. Although some participants still want to go to the actual tourism destination, this technology can be used as an alternative for tourism destination which is still exclusion, especially for this group. Based on thematic analysis, there are 5 themes to make virtual tourism more inclusive: authenticity, attraction, activities, accessibility, and amenities. This study contributes to the theory, methodology and application recommendation.

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