Andrea Hausold - Dec 18, 2007

Accessible tourism is not only about the absence of physical barriers but it is also about the well trained staff. It is universally agreed that tourism facilities should be accessible for all tourists. The tourists need to have the possibility to access a facility and they need to be treated properly by the personnel regardless of their handicaps. The industry’s players however found out that this is good business as well.


The European Parliament (EP) calls for tourism accessible for more people. The EP wants information about European tourism to be coordinated so that disabled tourists and their families can easily find information about the accessibility of tourist destinations. An EC label “access for all” should be created to guarantee core accessibility facilities for tourists with reduced mobility. Greater efforts should also be made to improve the access to tourism destinations for disabled people. The accessibility is connected with transport services therefore a greater attention should be paid to the European transport policy.


The fact is that the accessible tourism seems to be a good business opportunity. At a European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) conference, the delegates agreed on that the accessible tourism sector is the fastest-growing business opportunity in the tourism industry. There are approximately 50 million disabled people in Europe. The old would also benefit from a more accessible tourism and neither the disabled nor the old usually travel alone. According to a recent study by the University of Surrey the accessible tourism industry would be beneficial for 127 million people or 27% of the EU’s population. The value of this niche industry is estimated to account for 80 billion euros per year. The industry has a huge potential because the Europe’s population is aging and the old people would benefit from the accessible tourism. It would be also positive for pregnant women and families with young children. The accessible tourism would be also an important attraction for foreign disabled tourists.


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