Everyone should be able to enjoy the great outdoors.
Most of us don’t think twice when invited to go hiking or boating. Yet, when faced with physical limitations, these excursions take on new meaning and can be more daunting than rewarding.
Throughout British Columbia, tourism destinations are changing their products and services to be more accessible. Defined as “an ongoing endeavour to ensure that a tourist destination’s products and services are accessible to everyone – regardless of a person’s physical limitations, disabilities, or age”, Harrison has committed to creating a destination that is inclusive to everyone, which includes being on the Accessible Tourism List.
A great example would be the investments BC Sports Fishing Group and Harrison Eco Tours have made to strengthen their offerings to those with disabilities. Tony Nootebos, owner of both companies, has worked with the Rick Hansen Foundation to open the opportunity for guided fishing and experiences in nature to a wider range of people with mobility limitations. Other specialized fishing technologies and tools have been developed to open fishing to a wide range of people. For example, a “sip and puff” fishing rod & reel has been designed that can enable quadriplegics to experience fishing again, or for the first time.
Recently, Tourism Harrison had the pleasure of collaborating with the ‘Man in Motion’, Rick Hansen. Renowned for his passionate support of people with disabilities and having launched a 26month, 34country, 40,000km wheelchair trip around the world to prove the potential of people with disabilities and to raise funds for spinal cord injury research, Hansen is a visionary. Tourism Harrison is honoured to have his support as we continue to make fishing expeditions more accessible.
Rick Hansen and Dan Duffy are both part of the largest minority group in the world. People with disabilities represent 15% of the world’s population – an astounding 1.1 billion people – according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 1 in 7 people (approximately) in Canada live with a disability and the forecast is for this number to grow as high as 1 in 5 people within the next 20 years. All tourist facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourist policy.