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.
The European Commission is committed to increasing accessibility in tourism through a number of actions.
The EU is co-funding projects related to the design, implementation, and marketing of accessible tourism itineraries.
The main aims are to:
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.
A call for proposals for fostering accessible tourism entrepreneurship and management was published in August 2014.
3 projects were selected for funding. The projects started in September/October 2015 and will last for a period of 18 months.
A call for proposals was launched in 2013 to give potential projects the opportunity to apply for funding.
8 projects were selected for funding.
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.