In keeping with the mantra, leaving no one and no place behind, the government on Friday launched the first phase of The Braille Tourism, Inclusive Tourism product in Zimbabwe, which seeks to ensure provision of tourism products and services for people living with disabilities.
Launching the project, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said it was a milestone for tourism recovery and transformation, and was also in line with the National Disability policy that was launched in 2021.
The launch ceremony saw the unveiling of braille plaques installed at the Victoria Falls International Airport and at the Rainforest.
“The Braille for Tourism is one of our first products towards an all-inclusive tourism offering people with disabilities a chance to
experience different tourism sites and attractions in Zimbabwe.
“We are launching this project in Victoria Falls, because it is our prime tourist resort. Any actions we take here, shows our clear intent and commitment to what we believe as a government,” he said.
“As our President and Head of State, His Excellency Dr E D Mnangagwa has guided us that as he develops this great nation, he is “leaving no one and no place behind”, this is yet another demonstration where we seek to provide our citizens unfettered equal rights to enjoy our tourism products and services that is central to the Second Republic. The Braille for Tourism, is a means through which we seek to afford all citizens equal opportunities to the top-class services that includes our tourism sector.”
Ndlovu said despite previous acknowledgment of the marginalization of the disabled, not enough had been done to be all-inclusive.
“In our private and public places, we have only focused our interventions on putting physical access structures such as the access surfaces or rails for those who use wheelchairs. While I appreciate this effort, it is clearly not enough.
“We need to do more as tourism players to find approaches that are possible, and we must consult this important constituency. This is because we have not fully found a clear answer. This is one of the key reasons why I am here today, assigned by the President to fully support The Braille for Tourism. This project must be taken seriously in our sector, and I direct that all our government agencies continue providing priority to the needs of the Persons With Disabilities,” he said.
“Going forward, we would like to see digitalization of the braille through innovative means where one can easily access e-braille of tourism attractions within a touch of a button. Yet one more innovation, I would equally like to see is how they can innovate by using “men’s-best-friend” walking dogs that can be trained to walk the visually impaired through the rainforest.”
Ndlovu said the project was made possible with support from Mobi Tech Smith Zimbabwe, through its partnership with the Braille for Africa.
In addition, the project had also brought together the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, Zimparks, the Ministry of Transport and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
“It is yet another key pillar of the Second Republic where the private sector, with its innovative approach to business, are given
opportunities to express themselves for the betterment and development of our country,” he said. New Ziana