South Africa: New Partnership Aims to Create Awareness on Accessible Tourism

Africa, Tourism, December 10 2021

The lack of adapted and accessible hotel rooms, restaurants, stores, bathrooms and public spaces is one of the most significant challenges for those living with impairments.

To address this obstacle, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) and South African Tourism have initiated a partnership to work with all key stakeholders.

This initiative aims to create awareness and encourage tourism businesses, tour operators and establishments to implement best-practice standards and be universally accessible to all travellers.

According to Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, acting chief quality assurance officer and chief conventions bureau officer of the TGCSA, the council is a custodian of quality assurance and service excellence. It has universal accessibility criteria which ensure that accredited establishments are able to provide guests with universally accessible tourism product offerings that comply with global standards.

Universal accessibility refers to the design of products and services that are accessible to all people. It ensures that all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic class, ethnicity or physical disability, have equal access to services and products for their benefit.

“Tourism is open for all to enjoy; however, persons living with disabilities still face challenges such as inaccessible hotel and accommodation establishments,” said Kotze-Nhlapo.

This issue was once again highlighted on International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), observed on 3 December.

This annual occasion creates awareness of issues related to the lack of accessible services to people with impairments. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of those with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.

The United Nations declared the theme for this year’s IDPD as “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19 world”.

According to the World Report on Disability, released by the World Health Organization, it is estima­ted that over one billion people – about 15% of the world’s population – live with disabilities.

In addition, more than two billion people are the spouses, children or caregivers of people with disabilities.

According to Kotze-Nhlapo, this year’s IDPD aimed to highlight the fact that people with disabilities are among the most marginalised and discriminated against population.

“As a tourism industry we need to pull together for more meaningful investments into the socio-economic building blocks,” said Kotze-Nhlapo.

“This will reduce the barriers that prevent persons living with disabilities from travelling.”

Originally Published on News 24

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