By Jacinta Amao

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population (1 billion+ people) lives with some form of disability of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. Accessibility for all to tourism facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. Accessibility is not only about human rights. It is a business opportunity for destinations and companies to embrace all visitors and enhance their revenues.

Key life events must be complemented with corresponding fun over time in accessible forms. With this in mind, the Africa Travel, Tourism and Disability Expo & Awards seeks to close the gaps between high quality customer service provision and the real time experience with tourism products/services for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

*** Jacinta Amao, MD of Mystical Safaris ***

By joining the Africa Travel, Tourism & Disability Expo and Awards 2022 Edition you will gain access to a powerful community of regulators, Global and Africa’s executive level tourism sector stakeholders , academia, tech SMEs and organisations representing people with disabilities driving accessible tourism for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) promoting Accessible Destination Africa.

This is in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Inclusive Recovery Guide on Socio-cultural impacts of COVID- 19 Issue 1: Persons With Disabilities and Africa’s Agenda 2063 Tourism Strategy objectives to drive full participation and access by Persons With Disabilities.

*** Heiko Dorgeloh, MD of About Africa ***

The main organisers of the Expo are About Africa, an inclusive oriented tour operator based in Namibia; Purple Signs Global based in Zimbabawe; and Mystical Safaris based in Lilongwe Malawi.

The Expo is  scheduled to run on  21st, 22nd and 23rd of April 2023 at Bingu International Conference Center.

21 April: International Panel discussions (head speakers, mainly from outside Malawi and issues discussed will focus on tourism related issues on a continental scale).

22 April: National Panel discussion (the focus is on issues that affect ,those with disabilities on a national level, those  to be invited will include  Malawi Police, Ministries of Health, Justice, etc).

International delegates will spend their day in Salima for a familiarisation tour, tour operators will site inspect some tour facilities, so that they will be able to market and sell Malawi well.

*** Dominic Tapfuma, Founder & Executive Director of Purple Signs ***

In the evening there will be a networking event at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, which will give opportunity for players in different sections of the economy to converge at one spot in a relaxed atmosphere.

23 April: Fundraising Golf (aim is to raise USD250 000, towards the purchase of various  devices, for people with disabilities).

Some of the items that can be bought or donated are as follows:

1. Urine bags 

2. Sanitizers 

3. Catheters 

4. Diapers 

5. Gloves powdered 

6. Lubricating jelly (KY- jelly, 60g)

7. Wheelchairs.

Participation in the fundraising golf tournament is as follows: 

  • USD 475 : Team of 4
  • USD 200 : Team of 2

Organisations that may wish to take part in the fundraiser but don’t have golfers may do so, we will be able to identify players, that can play on their behalf.

23 April: Play area for children with disabilities which will be run by Able Foundation (specialist of children with dyslexia, the aim is to put the message across that children with disabilities should not be locked away. They can also enjoy  like other children do.

In the evening a gala night where winners of the golf fundraiser will receive various prizes such as vouchers from various travel establishments across Africa. As well as awards to various tourism establishment’s which would have proved that they are disability friendly or have been nominated through the above link  or through other channels that will be put in place to make voting accessible .