Accessible tourism boosts Africa's travel growth| The Planner

During this year’s Africa Travel Week, part of WTM Africa, the untapped potential of inclusive tourism was a key topic. A diverse panel, including advocates and tourism suppliers, discussed the significant economic contributions that travellers with disabilities can make to the continent. They highlighted the unique spending habits of this group, who typically spend more, often travel with companions, and stay longer, presenting a valuable market for the industry.

Challenges and opportunities in accessible travel

According to the World Health Organisation, over 1 billion people globally, or 15% of the world’s population, have disabilities. This large demographic, which will only grow as the population ages, faces various challenges when travelling, from insufficient information on accessible amenities to physical barriers that hinder full enjoyment of travel experiences.

Tarryn Tomlinson, CEO of LiveAble, stressed the financial and social imperative of enhancing accessibility:

“Property owners must ensure their facilities are accessible,” she noted.

Panellists also discussed the importance of tailored communication, as needs vary widely among individuals with disabilities. Success stories and best practices were shared, like Cape Town’s “Limitless CT” initiative, which has improved city accessibility through innovative solutions like braille QR codes and audio options on tourism websites. The session concluded with a call to action for the African tourism industry to embrace this growing market by making the continent more inclusive and welcoming for all travellers.