Govt bids to make tourism accessible to the disabled

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IN line with international best-practices, government has committed to adapt tourism services to make them accessible to people living with disabilities.
Addressing journalists in Harare this Tuesday, Tourism deputy minister Anastancia Ndlovu said her ministry has already launched a survey which seeks to establish the sensitivity of the industry to the needs of the disabled.
“The number of accessibility challenges is massive and visitors may be affected on every part of the route, either in terms of access to information, local transport, accommodation, visits and or participation in cultural or sporting events, whether as spectators or participants,” said Ndlovu.
She added, “Due to the ageing population in the industrialized countries, the rate of disability among people with the capacity to travel is also increasing, adding to the demand for an accessible environment, transport and services—thereby adding to the market value of the accessible tourism segment.
“By now, the tourism industry will recognize that people with disabilities have equal rights to tourism services and opportunities: independent travel, accessible facilities, trained staff, reliable information and inclusive marketing.
Tourism for All—Promoting Universal Accessibility is the theme for this year’s commemorations scheduled for Friday in the midlands town of Kwekwe.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability while more than 2 billion people are directly affected by disability.
The 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes the right to access sports, cultural, leisure and tourism activities by persons with disabilities. In 2009, the UNWTO also adopted the Declaration on the Facilitation of Tourist Travel.
According to WTO statistics, tourism currently contributes about 11 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.Advertisement