PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIBS AND NATURE TOURISM: A SOUTH AFRICA CASE STUDY
AbstractAlmost seven percent of the total population of South Africa are disabled, according toStatistics South Africa. Of this group, 21% are physically disabled. A lack of recreationalopportunities is listed as one of the major sources of stress for this group. The accessibility ofparks and reserves in the Limpopo Province for wheelchair-bound people is investigated inthis case study. The province has a rich natural heritage as well as an abundance of wildernessareas, and although ecotourism already plays an important role in the economic developmentof the province, it is still under-utilised. Given the absence of rain and the moderatetemperature in winter, the Limpopo Province is one of the most suitable in South Africa foroutdoor recreational activities during the winter months. To evaluate parks and reserves in theprovince in terms of their accessibility to people with disabilities, especially those confined towheelchairs, a model was developed with a set of criteria against which tourism venues couldbe tested. Values ranging from 3 for full accessibility to O for total inaccessibility wereallocated and used to evaluate the parks and reserves in the study area. An average value wascalculated for each venue. These averages were finally tested against the accessibility index todetermine the extent to which the park or reserve is accessible to people with disabilities.
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