On Wednesday 30 July 2014 Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) experienced the Bay from a different point of view as they participated in the Wheelchair Wednesday campaign run by the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD). The campaign assists in creating awareness for those who use wheelchairs and also raises funds to donate wheelchairs – 100 in 2014 and 250 in the 3 year existence of the campaign.
Mr Brian Bezuidenehout from APD, expressed his gratitude saying, “It has been amazing to see how the businesses and citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay have been able to unite in this cause to affect change in peoples mindsets and contribute wheelchairs to those in need.”
NMBT participants spent 4 hours in a wheelchair undertaking various daily tasks which included shopping, going to the post office as well as experiencing a restaurant and the work environment whilst in a wheelchair and with an assistant. Ms Sadie Isaacs and Ms Reuann Smith shared that this was an experience that should be undertaken by various citizens and business people especially those in public service as it makes you aware of challenges the wheelchair bound person experiences that you would not ordinarily consider.
Ms Mandlakazi Skefile, NMBT CEO confirmed, “We work very closely with APD as well as the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) to strive to a high standard of Universal accessibility for all disability types. We have come to realise that there is a large market and need for destinations which have universal accessible facilities and would like to be a destination which caters for all markets.”
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has integrated universal accessibility into its grading criteria. This aims to encourage compliance by the hospitality sector with international standards, especially those related to access, signage, and ease of general daily tasks.
Although the day was a challenge for all participants from various organizations that took part, the conclusion was that the project was a great way to highlight challenges and pinpoint where businesses and the destination can improve. NMBT extended their congratulations APD for the successful campaign and sais that it was proud to be part of the movement to create awareness.
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