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Tourism & Accommodation

Tourism is described as an industry with 8 sectors which includes Accommodation, adventure tourism and recreation, attractions, events and conferences, food and beverage, tourism services, transportation and travel trade.

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa determines the minimum compliance standard for Universal Accessibility in the industry to ensure equitable and dignified access to everyone visiting an establishment for accommodation, travel, products and services.

Tourism is one of South Africa’s most important windows to the world and by having groups of tourists, families or friends accompanied by people with for example ( but not limited to) physical disabilities (mobility aids, wheelchairs, etc), not being able to travel, stay, spend money and enjoy our beautiful country, its people, rich culture, what it offers and represents to its fullest potential, is an undignified tragedy.

The following are only a few of the key areas which may present some access issues.

  • No or inadequate accessible online booking
  • Misleading advertising of accessible tourism and accommodation
  • No or inadequate accessible modes of transport / transfers / outdoor events / sight-seeing / safari facilities
  • No or inadequate level, firm, even and slip resistant surfaces
  • No or inadequate Designated Accessible Parking Bays (DAPB)
  • No or inadequate accessible pathways / ramps / landing / steps and stairs
  • No or inadequate Continuous Accessible Paths of Travel (CAPT) - especially during emergencies
  • No or inadequate accessible information / signage / communication / navigation
  • No or inadequate Emergency Evacuation Plan
  • No or inadequate Evac chair (for stairs) and accessible assembly point
  • No or inadequate Handrails and grabrails
  • No or inadequate Height adjustable beds
  • No or inadequate Unisex accessible toilets (USAT)
  • No or inadequate Lowered counters (reception and self-service dining surface)
  • No or inadequate Wheelchair Circulation Space
  • No or inadequate accessible dining area
  • No or inadequate accessible spa’s  / bedrooms /  furniture / amenities
  • No or inadequate hearing / speech / vision assistive devices or technology
  • No or inadequate accessible lifts (e.g. audio prompted and tactile signage)
  • No or inadequate garden access
  • No or inadequate assistance animal accommodation / amenities
  • No or inadequate Swimming pool access via ramp/ steps / hoist (mobile or overhead)
  • No or inadequate Legible menus and information brochures
  • No or inadequate Staff and management training / understanding of the needs of people with disabilities.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against through Non-Compliant Accessible Tourism & Accommodation, please feel free to fill out and submit our Disability Discrimination Complaint (DDC) Form, which we will review, then take to the relevant authororities.

You can also read the information and follow the links below the form to find out more about Accessible Tourism & Accommodation and the companies that provide these services in South Africa.

Accessible Travel & Accommodation

South Africa is a popular tourist destination and tourism accounts for a substantial amount of the country's revenue. South Africa offers both domestic and international tourists a wide variety of options, including Picturesque Natural Landscapes; Beautiful Beaches; Tours; Trails & Botanical Gardens; World Renowned Game Reserves; Highly Regarded Wines and Wine Farms and so much more.

Traveling and going to new places can however be daunting for persons with disabilities, especially those persons with Mobility Impairments who use wheelchairs or Scooters. In the past Transport Services, Restaurants, Hotels, Safaris, Beaches and other activities and forms of entertainment, were not always accessible for persons in wheelchairs, due to this inaccessibility and the fear of the unknown, some persons with disabilities were afraid to Travel on holiday or go to new places.

Modern society however is becoming increasingly aware of the concept of the integration of persons with disabilities and the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has been focusing on Accessible Tourism and making more South African attractions universally accessible to all travelers. They have recently engaged with various organisations that represent persons with disabilities, to explore how the tourism industry can serve them better and to ensure that tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. Accessible Tourism encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations and enables persons with all disabilities to function independently and with equity and dignity, through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environments. Steps have been taken to promote guidelines, and major resources are now dedicated to Accessible Tourism which includes:

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Accessible Travel

South Africa is a very popular and relatively accessible tourist destination. They aim to ensure that all aspects of tourism are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. Despite this, one of the biggest obstacles still faced by many travelers with Mobility Impairments, is finding suitable Accessible Travel and Transport which can cater for persons who use Mobility Aids such as Wheelchairs or Scooters. Persons who rely on this type of equipment traditionally face many obstacles when traveling, they not only require extra space to maneuver and store their Mobility Aids and other equipment, but many of these people also have difficulty transferring to and from their Mobility Aids into a seat or into a vehicle.

There are various options when traveling in South Africa or overseas, including traveling by Air, Sea, Rail or Road, which are all possible to some degree for persons with Mobility Impairments. Each person is different and each form of travel offer its own pro’s and cons. Your travel arrangements can be booked online via the company web site which may also specify more details on what disabilities they can cater for. When deciding to take a trip, whether it is for a holiday or for business, it is important to start organizing & planning your transportation and travel arrangements a couple of weeks or months before departure.

Click on the link below to find more information, links and tips about the different forms of travelling that is accessible to you, as well as some of the companies and web sites that can assist you in specific areas.

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