SANParks and the Kruger National Park (KNP) have made enjoying the South African bush and spotting wildlife more accessible to more people this week.
General Manager of the Marula Region of the Kruger National Park, Lucy Nhlapo officially unveiled four activity vehicles on behalf of KNP Management; which will be used to transport tourists with mobility challenges on game viewing activities.
Speaking on the park's Visitor Management Plan and the 14-seater activity vehicles, Nhlapo said “KNP aims to enhance the recognition for and appreciation of people with disabilities; including our tourists. We would like to ensure that the Park promotes access whilst creating an inclusive environment which provides wildlife experience for all."
During the launch, Nhlapo also indicated that it is a reality that people living with disabilities are still being discriminated against in some areas of our society. Some people are born with a disability; others get sick or have an accident that results in a disability.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than 1 billion persons, globally, live with disabilities. If the children, spouses and caregivers of those persons are factored into this count, then the number of persons directly affected by disability worldwide numbers at more than 2 billion. This number, therefore, represents a huge segment of the potential global tourism and hospitality market that remains untapped and vastly under-served. People with disabilities use and enjoy the Park, and this important segment of the market should not be excluded from interacting with nature.
“We believe that the launch of the activity vehicles for people with mobility challenges will increase awareness and understanding as well as improving access to the tourists with disabilities; in particular the wheelchair users for their benefit and enjoyment. We place commitment to equity and diversity and these we can only achieve if we give access to everybody in our tourism offerings, regardless of their physical, intellectual or sensory capabilities,” concluded Nhlapo.