South Africa Focuses on Accessible Tourism During Visit of Disability Expert Dr. Scott Rains
26/01/2009 | 0 comments
South African tourism authorities are knuckling down to the issue of accessible tourism during a month-long visit of leading US disability expert Scott Rains. Dr Rains, a wheelchair-user for 37 years and an advocate for the rights of disabled travellers, will be meeting South Africa's largest disability organisations and tourism bodies during his month-long visit to the country. The aim of his trip is to evaluate the quality of the South African tourism product for disabled and older travellers – and ultimately to build awareness of the importance of good access to the country's tourism industry as a whole.
The Kwazulu-Natal Tourism Authority are currently hosting Dr. Rains on a ten-day tour of the region organised by disability tour operator Access2Africa Safaris. As well as visiting Durban's Ushakamarine World and the Zulu village of Dumazulu near Hluhluwe, he will be viewing South Africa's Big Five at the Umfolozi/Hluhluwe and Bonamanzi game reserves. The group will spend several nights at Makaranga Lodge, a luxury hotel near the Valley of a Thousand Hills that has been specially designed for wheelchair users.
Meetings with the head of the QuadPara Association of South Africa and numerous tourism stakeholders will follow, in which Dr. Rains will give feedback and advice on how to improve both facilities and information for disabled travellers to the area. The issue of disabled access was put into the public eye in May last year, when wheelchair-using UK professor Stephen Hawking visited Cape Town and met Nelson Mandela. The growing number of disabled and older travellers, both in South Africa and around the world, means that good access has becoming a vital part of tourism operators' profitability.
Dr. Rains will be visiting Cape Town and the Gauteng province around Johannesburg in February, as well as covering the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in George on 14 February.
Dr. Rains was made a Lifetime Honorary Member of ENAT in 2008 for his continuing contribution to the understanding and promotion of accessible tourism worldwide.
Chart his trip on www.rollingrains.com/travelogues
Further information available from Monica Guy:
Email: monicaiguy[@]gmail[dot]com, telephone: +27 7909 16799.