by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa Tourism is advocating for disability inclusion in the sector.
This as the lack of adapted and accessible hotel rooms, restaurants, stores, bathrooms and public spaces being one of the most significant challenges.
Through the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), SA Tourism works in partnership with all key stakeholders to create awareness and encourage tourism businesses, operators and establishments to implement best-practice standards and be universally accessible to all travellers.
TGCSA, as the custodians of quality assurance and service excellence, has universal accessibility criteria which ensures that accredited establishments are able to provide guests with universally accessible tourism product offerings that comply with global standards.
“Tourism is open for all to enjoy; however, persons living with disabilities still face challenges such as inaccessible hotel and accommodation establishments,” Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Acting Chief Quality Bureau Office of TGCSA, said.
In raising awareness on issues related to lack of accessible services, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities is observed annually on December 3.
The day aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.
The United Nations (UN) has declared the theme for 2021 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (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, globally, it is estimated that there are over 1 billion (or about 15 percent of the world’s population) people living with disabilities.
In addition there are more than 2 billion people, such as spouses, children and caregivers of persons with disabilities.
“As a tourism industry we need to pull together for more meaningful investments into the socio-economic building blocks which will reduce the barriers that prevent persons living with disabilities from travelling,” Kotze-Nhlapo concluded.
– CAJ News