Exploring Occupational Therapy's Role in Tourism and the Experience of Traveling with a Disability
The purpose of the 14-week capstone experience was to explore occupational therapy’s role in the tourism industry and further understand the experience of traveling with a disability. The capstone project took place at a small tourism company in Anchorage, Alaska, called Alaska Private Touring. The student completed a thorough literature review on traveling, accessibility, barriers encountered by people with disabilities while traveling, and occupational therapy’s success in working in a community setting. There is very little information on occupational therapy’s role in the travel industry. The occupational therapy student then focused on building a foundational background on accessible travel, common barriers to travel for people with disabilities, and the general experience of traveling with a disability. Once the occupational therapy student reached a plateau in information, they began to develop programming and tools to gather accessibility information and client information. An unexpected portion of the project was expanding a definition for travel from an occupational therapy perspective and creating a model to accompany it. After developing the evaluation tools, the occupational therapy student began collecting information and completing activity analyses throughout Alaska. The occupational therapy student compiled the information and shared their findings through a presentation at Alaska Private Touring. To further share the role of occupational therapy in the travel industry, the occupational therapy student and capstone advisor are completing an article for OT Practice Magazine.