Jetsetting with Janet

Jetsetting with Janet: The importance of inclusive and accessible tourism

todayNovember 11, 2022 138 1

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South Africa is renowned for being a top-tier travel destination with incredible places and experiences that attracts tourists from around the world. However, not all local tourist attractions cater for differently abled people. 

On Jetsetting with Janet, host Janet Pillai speaks to four people who are striving to help tourist destinations, products and services be accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations.

Able 2 Travel – Accessible Travel

Owner of Able 2 Travel and Accessible Tourism Ambassador, Tarryn Tomlinson, stives to create a more inclusive society through social development and the media.

Her life changed at the age of 18 when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. 

“I became ill and I’m in a wheelchair now. My life really was turned upside down. I had to leave school in my final year, because my school was inaccessible. I couldn’t go to university because universities were inaccessible. So I needed to study marketing, via correspondence,” she said. 

Tomlinson has now used her education and skills to start her own businesses and has a disability awareness TV series commissioned by the SABC, called “Activated”. 

“A lot of the tourism catering in South Africa is not really thought out properly, they are often done by able bodied people, it’s done without the participation of someone with a disability. So we’re giving substandard offers to our tourists. We don’t have any information on our websites as to what the access points are of a building, making it very hard for people from overseas with disabilities to book,” she said. 

Tomlinson also runs a business called Liveable, where they assess hotels and guest houses to help them with the access challenges. 

PRIZE: An adaptive paragliding experience

Maya Architects

A building design element that is too often overlooked is accessibility, but for Nadira Haripersadh, CEO of Maya Architects Professional Architect, this is the focus of her work which is in the field of universal design and inclusion.

Haripersadh has collaborated with Tomlinson from Able 2 Travel to pursue building inclusive built environments. 

“It’s an awareness of people with different abilities, different disabilities, and an understanding of how spaces around you have affected how you move,” she said. 

Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA)

FEDHASA Chairperson, Lee-Anne Singer who also serves on the board of Cape Town Tourism, said they strive to be the representative voice for the hospitality industry. 

“I’m approaching it from the point of view that everyone is a tourist. Every single citizen in South Africa, or our international visitors, everyone is a tourist. So how do we make our spaces and our places and our people accessible to everybody?” she said.

PRIZE: One-night stay in a Deluxe Suite for two people, on a room only basis, at the Colosseum Luxury Hotel in Century City, Cape Town

Adaptive Paragliding

Chief Flight Instructor at Adaptive Paragliding, Matthew Van Zyl, says they have a new paragliding “fly chair” for people who are differently abled or as many are now saying “people with determination”. 

Van Zyl has been paragliding and travelling the world for over eight years and got the fly chair idea from the United States. 

“With the New fly chair we have created an all inclusive sport that sees People with various degrees of disability be able to enjoy. We are flying at Signal Hill, Cape Town, and we’re trying to get as many new people to experience this thrilling sport,” he said. 

PRIZE: One adaptive paragliding experience valid for one year

Written by: Kelly-Jane Turner

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