#TourismForAll: making Cape Town more accessible

Tourism Month in September 2016 will see the celebration of Universal Access, with Cape Town Tourism advocating for a 'Tourism for All' approach where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy the tourism industry in Cape Town. Additionally, inclusivity irrespective of financial capacity is encouraged to enable disadvantaged individuals to enjoy tourism attractions and experiences in their city.

Universal Access in tourism speaks to ensuring the inclusion of people with a disability, the elderly, pregnant women, people with kids and carrying heavy loads, as well as people that have a short-term impairment due to sickness or accident.

In a drive to allow everyone the right to discover and enjoy the magic of Cape Town, access to all facilities are being addressed. UA is a way of thinking that eliminates barriers and makes things easier to use. It is a way of designing things that are accessible and user-friendly for human diversity, social inclusion, and equality. This includes the built environment, but also the way information is displayed and communicated, how products are designed and environments made usable. The inclusion of the above group of people is an exceptional business opportunity. It requires a change in the mindset of the approach to tourism and in how it is delivered. Accessible products and services improve the quality of the tourism offering and speak to both responsible and sustainable tourism.

It is important to look at each component and how this impacts on the individual/s travelling. Providing access at each component of the travel journey is key to ensuring access is embraced.

The standard tourism journey:

• Stimulation, planning and anticipation: staff should be well trained to address the various needs of all potential clients. Websites should be accessible and information made available in a variety of forms.

• Ease of booking: booking at a tourism venue or of a product and service should be easy to do, and booking services simple to use.

• Travelling to the destination: there needs to be not only transport to the destination but various options for transport including accessible transport.

• The destination experience: everything at a destination should be accessible including the rooms, the restaurants, all products and services, wine tasting rooms, boat trips, trails, nature hides, etc.

• Going home: getting home should be easy to do and should accommodate everyone.

• Recollection of the experience: this is where the product or service is evaluated and where a first-time tourist is converted into a loyal supporter and either promotes the tourism product or not.

It is of paramount importance that the tourism industry appreciates the components that contribute towards a positive experience. The principles of independence, equity, and dignity underpin this. These can be achieved through the support of a universal access expert and require a comprehensive understanding of universal design and destination management processes.

(Information supplied by Amor Malan, Project Manager, African Centre for Universal Access)

Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism: “As a tourism destination we are challenging all of our partners and stakeholders to take consideration of how visitors and locals experience what we have to offer. It can only be of increased benefit if we make all of the sights, experiences, attractions and the city as a whole accessible to all”.

Reaching the disadvantaged and disenfranchised
SANParks, Kirstenbosch, Iziko Museums and many others have open days that make these attractions more accessible with free or reduced entrance fees. Table Mountain Cableway allows for locals to travel for free on their birthday with a green, barcoded ID book. Schools are providing tours to school kids to venues across the city and many organisations are working with the previously disadvantaged to expose them to tourism enterprises. There are opportunities to volunteer within organisations such as these, too.

Besides these initiatives, it’s possible to explore the city for very little, options include hiking on the mountain or beaches, or the cost of a train or bus fare. Cape Town’s picturesque parks and rivers offer a relaxing environment, central to becoming a tourist is to explore the places nearby.

Cape Town Tourism has committed to a three-year extended “Accessible Cape Town” campaign that promotes Universal Access as partners with City of Cape Town’s Tourism Department.

SOURCE: BIZCOMMUNITY
http://m.bizcommunity.com/Article.aspx?l=196&c=373&i=149978
 

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