Mozambique: A Disability Perspective on its Vision for Tourism

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From March 1-3, 2010 I will contribute to a regional seminar on development, disability, and tourism in Maputo, Mozambique. It takes as a starting point the vision of the Ministry of Tourism (MiTur) of Mozambique is:

To position Mozambique as one of the premier destinations in Africa through emphasis on quality coastal resort development linked to a diversity of flora and fauna, eco-tourism opportunities, adventure and culture experiences.
Its constituent concepts can be looked at sequentially from a disability perspective:

Quality

Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development take a fundamental stance regarding what constitutes quality. That stance is right in the name - Inclusion. These approaches to tourism are inseparable from the seven goals and seven principles of Universal Design. Universal Design is a human-centered design process that involves user-engagement at all stages. Quality of the tourist experience is safeguarded through that continuous feedback system embedded within Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.

 Geography

Universal Design arose from within the Disability Rights Movement, has been nurtured by disability culture(s), and expresses a consensus political position on the goal of full social participation by all persons experiencing disability. However, Universal Design evolved in a land-based environment. Application to maritime and coastal environments provided an opportunity to further focus the approach by taking into account the unique characteristics these new settings. The result has been the Waypoint-Backtrom Principles of inclusive maritime environments.

Diversity

 Tourism embraces several complementary and converging concepts offering guidance toward responsible and ethical industry and consumer practices. Geotourism is one such concept. It has been shown to be fully compatible with Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development through projects such as the Ashoka Changemaker / National Geographic Geotourism Challenge.

Adventure

 Increasingly adventure tourism has become a popular incubator of innovation regarding inclusion of people with disabilities. The therapeutic effects of adventure sports have been demonstrated by Dada Moreira of Aventura Especial resulting in extensive MinTur support in Brazil. Private enterprise such a Parque dos Sonhos in Socorro, Brazil and active promotion by the Brazilian Adventure Society make adventure sports a hallmark of the Lusophone world. The vitality of the large number of recent disabled war veterans combined with new rehabilitation technologies are another contributor to the rapid rise of adventure sport and tourism for people with disabilities.

Culture

 The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes the freedom to participate in travel and tourism as a human right. Governments increasingly recognize full participation in all aspects of a nation's culture as fundamental prerogatives of citizenship. To lesser extent recognition has been achieved on the contributions provided to society by individuals with disabilities and the various cultures of disability in which they participate. The full participation of persons with disabilities and their organizations is becoming recognized as necessary to the diversity of culture.

What follows is a July 2009 presentation that includes the above statement of Mozambique's tourism priorities. It was presented by Minister Fernando Sumbana Junior.



Minister Fernando Sumbana Junior's presentation can be supplemented by the following two articles elaborating the disability-prioritizing critique presented above:


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