We got invited by the Ladismith tourism for an educational to see what Ladismith had on offer. This also coincided with some festivities and the CBL Paddafees (Frog festival) a fundraiser for a NGO – wardrobe of love. We got booked into a 1912 dwelling with stunning features and comfortable beds called Towerzicht.
Ladismith reading from the concrete road marker outside the tourist office is 249 miles from Cape Town. The tourist office is in the old Otto Hager Church. According to the current maps Ladismith it is 320km away from the mother city.
Years ago I camped in the small town of Ladismith over Christmas. Remembering very hot weather and not a lot going on probably due to all being gone for the holidays. But had a great time the 3 days camping there. I did notice all the old buildings and visited the small shops etc but meant nothing to me.
But this time we had a local tour guide, Alistair Reizenberg taking us around. Like normal, most locals do not always want to pay for the services of a guide. Since being a tour guide myself I did notice we pick up interesting facts and stories about an area we can relay and make it even more interesting. So with 1 of the 2 local guides taking us around it was well worth it.
First we went to the Seweweekspoort pass and stopped at certain points. Here Al pointed out some interesting ruins, plants, streams, and formations. The water of a stream we stopped at was crystal clear cold and great to drink.
Even with some mint growing nearby to put in our water bottles too make it taste even better. Convicts build the pass for 6 km without the presence of an engineer before AG Smidt took command over them in 1861 and finished it in 1862. He was a brother in-law of the famous pass builder Thomas Bain. A well worth pass to visit and explore where you can even see a scarce protea called the Aristata. Seweweekspoort pass is also a certified Unesco World Heritage Site.
World Tourism Day is held on the 27 September each year. Idea is to bring attention how important tourism is to cities, countries and there people.
In Cape Town it was taken even further and September was made Tourism month. So this meant all around small functions and indabas to celebrate and discuss what the tourism market means in Cape Town.
In South Africa September is also seen as Heritage month with the 24th being heritage day and then also a public holiday. Dive Inn Cape Town attended 2 events, one at Wine tourism Indaba (Groot Constantia). The first at the Protea hotel in Stellenbosch (hosted by Metrorail and variety of partners).
The current online life hash tags for world tourism day would of course be the norm thus. #tourism4all #WTD2016 was created and used all around.
Tourism for all was the main theme for this year and focuses on Universal accessibility in tourism.
A lot of travellers do have disabilities and only for some this is catered for. The norm is normally wheel chair access, parking and specialised restrooms. But this is not the only disabilities out there. Vision for example is also a big issue. Writing is small on all paper work, taps you cannot make out which is hot or cold. Steps in showers can also be an issue for most people.
For some the restrooms and bath rooms are also not very well planned and it could be an issue as well.
Counters can be too high for people in wheel chairs. Most wine tasting rooms do have ‘Bartop’ counters and it’s too high for the wheelchairs. This is mostly an issue for the smaller farms. Lucky the farms with the bigger tasting rooms have separate tables where all the guests can sit and enjoy the stunning wines at eye level.
On World tourism day Derek Hanekom, Minister of tourism stated the following:
“The Department of Tourism is undertaking many initiatives to promote Universal Accessibility:
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa provides tourism establishments with guidelines on UA features
A new incentive programme which will become effective in 2017 will support tourism businesses to become UA compliant
The Service Excellence program for staff at attractions includes Sensitivity Training, training for tour guides to serve clients with special needs, and Sign Language training
A database of UA compliant providers and suppliers is being compiled to help tourists make choices
The Department is working with South African Tourism to market UA products domestic and internationally, and encouraging the development of UA tourism routes
We have engaged various organisations that represent people with disabilities to explore how the tourism industry can serve them better, including Blind SA, Deaf SA, the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa, and the South African Disability Alliance.
The Department has been working with Cape Town and Durban to conduct UA audits on tourism businesses and public attractions, transportation and other places of interest
This year, the Department will develop a UA Assessment Tool for government-owned provincial parks, and provide raining for staff at tourism attractions
Next year, we will conduct audits at government-owned parks in four provinces, identify the gaps and recommend solutions.”
World tourism day summary.
Thus in short we as suppliers or providers need to think how we can change our outlook on people of disabilities and how to change how we tour with our guests.