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Tourism for all

Tourism for all

Accessible tourism seeks to remove barriers for disabled people when travelling. In recent years this concept has become known as ‘tourism for all’. It aims to allow tourism destinations to be enjoyed equally by everyone.

All tourism businesses and institutions should aim to be universally accessible and create barrier-free tourism.

As an entrepreneur, you have to consider accessibility of tourism and leisure spaces as a basic quality factor – but you should also see it as an opportunity for differentiation and attracting new customers.

You must comprehensively implement accessibility during the design, execution, operation, maintenance and communication of your tourism business.

In this article, the following points will be addressed:

Types of accessibility

There are various types of accessibility:

  • physical accessibility – involves improving spaces and infrastructures to create an environment where citizens can move around freely
  • communication accessibility
  • web accessibility – this is dealt with in the tutorial on making your website e-accessible

This article will deal with physical accessibility. The following groups are the main users of physical accessibility features:


A chart showing various types of disabilities. Permanent disabilities include motor, sensory and mental disabilities. Groups with temporary disabilities include pregnant women, people with plaster casts and others. People over 60 without disabilities are another affected group.

Current legislation

Physical accessibility is regulated not only by international and European regulation, but also by national regulation.

The main accessibility regulations and other instruments on an international and European level are:

Physical accessibility criteria

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 businesses.

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.

Areas that need to be adapted according to subsectors

Tourist information offices

Hotel establishments

Restaurants and cafés

  • entrances
  • space to move around
  • customer service desk
  • waiting area
  • access


  • car parks
  • doors
  • stairs
  • lifts
  • corridors
  • ramps
  • surfaces
  • reception desk
  • rooms
  • bathrooms
  • access
  • car parks
  • doors
  • stairs
  • lifts
  • corridors
  • ramps
  • surfaces
  • furniture distribution
  • tables and chairs
  • buffet bar
  • bar/café counter

For more on how to apply physical accessibility measures in your tourism company, consult information on accessible tourism.

Benefits of physical accessibility for your business

  • increase in the potential demand – according to the World Health Organisation, there are over 1 billion permanently disabled people in the world (15% of the world population) – this proportion rises to around 40% of the world population when including other categories of people who may temporarily need accessible services
  • ‘multi-client’ segment – on average, every 2 disabled guests will bring one companion
  • promotion of off-season travel – some senior citizens and disabled people can travel in low season – since these periods are less busy, travellers can often have greater accessibility to services
  • shapes the company’s reputation – businesses should strive for accessibility

Visit Britain offers case studies on physical accessibility in tourism.

Watch also the ‘Mind the accessibility gap’ conference video summary from June 2014.

For more information about good practice you can consult: