iFLY Queenstown’s commitment to the Inclusive Tourism Movement
Wander into iFLY Queenstown on any given day and you’ll see people of all ages and all abilities in the wind tunnel getting as close as humanly possible to flying. We love to see that ‘superhero moment’ happen for everyone, everybody. Emphasis on the everybody.
iFLY Queenstown partnered with the Making Trax Foundation. Making Trax is an inclusive tourism movement led by Jezza Williams who, after a fateful canyoning accident in the Swiss Alps left him reliant on a wheelchair to continue his love of physical adventures, became deeply passionate about the subject matter. Essentially, not being able to run, climb, hike – or indoor skydive – with full-body mobility and use of your limbs doesn’t mean you have to stop experiencing everything the world has to offer. Nor should you have to.
It just takes some clever planning and savvy workarounds to keep living life to the fullest. And that’s probably how we’d best differentiate between ‘inclusive’ versus ‘accessible’ in tourism.
Accessible tourism requires deep-pocket investment into infrastructure changes and seamless allowances for supportive equipment like wheelchairs at every turn. And that doesn’t always jive with adventure tourism – making something like a helicopter landing on top of a snow-peaked mountain perfectly accessible is near impossible. But what is possible is working with the person in that wheelchair on a one-to-one, personal level to find the safest and smartest adaption for their needs.
The Making Trax Foundation sums it up best: “It’s Your Movement. Inclusion requires Education, Confidence and Practical Solutions…not to be confused with Accessibility & Infrastructure, the Inclusive Movement is about the experience! It starts with a Conversation, Developing an ongoing Relationship…you are a Superior Operation if you can provide Advanced Customer Care.”
The biggest catalyst for iFLY Queenstown taking on the challenge to be a ‘superior operation’ in the world of inclusive tourism? Jack.
Jack broke his back in 2017 during a snowboarding accident, but much like Jezza Williams, he didn’t see why that meant giving up his love for adventure sport, for ticking unique experiences and adrenaline rushes off his bucket list. When he came to us through Making Trax in 2021 to figure out the best way to tackle the tunnel, his grit and determination jived well with the up-for-anything, fun loving energy of our staff. And before we really understood what this would mean for us in the ‘inclusive tourism movement’, we were cobbling together a solution with Jack in the form of a pool noodle structure and a good laugh. The significance of the moment hit us after the fact.
Now, Jack is on his way to getting his AFF Skydiving Licence. He’s also our All Abilities Ambassador, the perfect representative of our solid dedication to being a 100% Inclusive Tourism operator here in Queenstown.
In fact, we’ve become pretty committed to leading the way in extending Queenstown’s ‘adventure capital of the world’ promise to being universal: any one, every body. Making Trax awards the ‘Inclusive NZ’ seal of approval to Inclusive Movement Operators, and we’re immeasurably proud to show ours off. You can check out a directory map on their website that indicates all the current Inclusive Movement Operators with these seals. Queenstown is slowly but surely growing an impressive cluster on the map.
iFLY Queenstown will continue working closely with Making Trax to create superhero moments for everybody. All it takes to get into that wind tunnel is an honest chat, some Kiwi ingenuity, and an unwavering belief in the power of the human spirit.