Accessible tourism

Accessible tourism

Accessible tourism is about making it easy for everyone to enjoy tourism experiences. Making tourism more accessible is not only a social responsibility – there is also a compelling business case for improving accessibility as it can boost the competitiveness of tourism in Europe.

Evidence shows that making basic adjustments to a facility, providing accurate information, and understanding the needs of disabled people can result in increased visitor numbers.

Improving the accessibility of tourism services increases their quality and the enjoyment of all tourists. It also improves the quality of life in local communities.

Accessible tourism actions

The European Commission is committed to increasing accessibility in tourism through a number of actions:

Accessible tourism itineraries

The EU is co-funding projects related to the design, implementation, and marketing of accessible tourism itineraries.

The main aims are to increase the travel opportunities available for people with special access needs, promote social inclusion, and improve the skills of staff in the industry.

A call for proposals was launched in 2013 to give potential projects the opportunity to apply for funding.

8 projects were selected for funding.


Coordinator/lead partner



Tourism4All - based on an existing accessibility model, this project's objective is to develop the model including required standards for new services and packages for six itineraries in the Basque Country.

Fundación Instituto Gerontológico Matia-Ingema+ (Spain)

 Info (53 kB)


Results_Universal Tourism in the Basque Country (Tourism4All)

Access for All - development and promotion of seven high quality accessible tourism itineraries in England (Access for All project 2014-2016).

VisitEngland (England)

Info (19 kB)

Results_Visit England (VE)

Accesstour – development of a complete framework of knowledge and tools on accessible tourism in Europe.

Comunità Montana Associazione dei Comuni Trasimeno - Medio Tevere (Italy)

Info (20 kB)

Results_ACCESSible Tourism for Outdoor and Urban Routes (ACCESSTOUR)

Smart Tourist Routes for Inclusive Groups (STRING) – creation of nine fully accessible itineraries in Italy (Piedmont Region), Spain (Ávila) and Bulgaria (Sozopol). These will be developed into comprehensive tourist packages.

CPD - Consulta per le Persone in Difficoltà ONLUS (Italy)

Info (269 kB)

Results_Smart Tourist Routes for Inclusive Groups (STRING)

Cosy4You – creation of a website and a mobile application (the 'C4Y' app) to disseminate information about accessible tourism in the Campania Region of Italy, starting with five different destinations.

Peepul (Italy)

Info (186 kB)

Results_Cosy for you (C4Y)

VIA REGIA - implementation and promotion of universal accessibility for the 'VIA REGIA' cultural route between Frankfurt/Main and Leipzig that combines eight destinations.

NETZ – media and society (Germany)

Info (13 kB)


EWB 'Europe Without Barriers' - creation of a network of organisations able to design, implement and promote itineraries accessible to all. More on the pilot EWB tourist package for all as it takes participants across Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Germany (Italian only).

SM Italia Scarl (Italy)

Info (20 kB)

Results_Europe Without Barriers (EWB)

Mobility Unesco Sustainable Tourism (MUST) - creation of a tour package including a tour of the four major world heritage UNESCO sites in Sicily that meet accessibility criteria (MUST Project website).

ERREQUADRO s.r.l. (Italy)

Info (22 kB)

Results_Mobility Unesco Sustainable Tourism (MUST)

2015 call for proposals: accessible tourism itineraries The second call for proposals for accessible tourism itineraries was published in April 2015. 8 projects were selected for funding. The implementation of projects started in June/July 2016 and will last for a period of 18/24 months.

ProjectCoordinatorProject description/presentation
A.L.L.Incipit Consulting Società Cooperativa (Italy)Info + presentation
ALL NowItalian Chamber of Commerce for Germany (Germany)Info + presentation
ATTIMOTANDEM, Società cooperativa sociale integrate (Italy)Info + presentation
FRIENDLY BEACHPA INCENTIVE srl (Italy)Info + presentation
GW4ALLFundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (Spain)Info + presentation
SABER UniversalCOMUNE DI RIETI (Italy)Info + presentation
VITIS 4 ALLComarca de Somontano de Barbastro (Spain)Info + presentation
visits4uCentre for Accessible Environments (United Kingdom)Info + presentation

A call for proposals for fostering accessible tourism entrepreneurship and management was published in August 2014. Four projects were selected for funding. The projects started in September/October 2015 and will last for a period of 18 months.

2014 call for proposals: Fostering accessible tourism entrepreneurship and management

ProjectCoordinator/lead partnerProject description
ACCENTGASTRONOMYUniversitat de Girona (Spain)Info
BRENDAITPerfil - Psicologia e Trabalho, Lda (Portugal)Info
REGION WITHOUT BARRIERSCentrály Cestovního Ruchu-Jizni Morava zspo (Czech Republic)Info
IDEAL-TOURComune di Castiglione del lago (Italy)Info

Studies on accessible tourism

European Awards for Accessible Tourism

The Commission rewards tourism businesses who make accessibility a leading aspect of their work. For example, the European Excellence Awards for Accessible Tourism, announced in June 2014, acknowledged the efforts of private enterprises and public authorities who have made significant efforts to increase the accessibility of their services and facilities to tourists with special needs.

The award service took place at the end of the conference, ‘Mind the Accessibility Gap: Rethinking Accessible Tourism in Europe’.

The Commission also organises many other events linked to key issues in Tourism.

Pantou - The European Accessible Tourism Directory

The European Commission has developed Pantou which is the online database of European tourism suppliers who offer services for people with disabilities and other specific access requirements. It covers all aspects of the tourism value chain. The details of suppliers and their accessible services are displayed on an individual profile page. Both public and private enterprises may register free of charge.


According to the UN, an estimated 650 million people in the world live with disabilities. Together with their families, this means that approximately 2 billion people – a third of the global population – are directly affected by disability.

Many people have access needs, whether related to a physical condition (e.g. wheelchair users, visual or hearing impairments, allergies) or for other reasons. For example, older and less mobile people, or people with pushchairs have access needs that can become a huge obstacle when going on holiday.

For those people, travelling can be a real challenge. Finding information on accessible services, checking luggage on a plane, or booking a room with special access needs often proves to be difficult, costly, and time consuming.