The concept of “tourism for all” is growing fast in Europe
Improving the accessibility of tourism services increases the quality of the visitor experience for all tourists. It also improves the quality of life in local communities.
European destinations are committed to increasing accessibility in tourism through a number of actions, and the European Commission is supporting projects related to the design, implementation, and marketing of accessible tourism itineraries.
ENAT – the European Network for Accessible Tourism, is a European and international stakeholder network with about 200 members in more than 50 countries. Its mission is to make European tourism destinations, products and services accessible to all travellers and to promote accessible tourism around the world.
According to research organisation GfK, in 2012, people with access needs in the EU took approximately 783 million trips within the EU, and the demand was anticipated to grow to about 862 million trips per year by 2020, equivalent to an average growth rate of 1.2% annually.
Roughly two-thirds of the accessible tourism market is made up of seniors, while the rest includes families with small children and people with disabilities or long-term health conditions.
A driving factor to respond to this market is the rapid growth in the next few years of an aging population. As the number of potential travellers with accessibility issues is rising, catering for these travellers could be viewed as a business opportunity.
Many tourism and travel businesses are thus working towards gaining more customers in this market by adjusting their offers and providing information about access conditions.
Key findings of studies by ENAT:
- Customers with access needs tend to travel with 1.9 and 2.5 companions, on average.
- In mainstream tourism services investment in accessibility results in an increase in clients, longer stays, more spend and repeat visits.
- Destinations and businesses that take account of accessibility are usually focused on quality of service in general.
- Successful accessible destinations help to build accessible tourism supply chains by fostering cooperation among service providers and developing advisory and training services.
- Brands which focus on accessibility emphasise comfort, safety and treating all guests equally in their marketing..
THE EUROPEAN ACCESSIBLE TOURISM DIRECTORY
Pantou.org is a comprehensive online directory developed by ENAT and the European Commission, where you can find suppliers providing accessible tourism services for Europe-inbound customers
For more information on accessible tourism in Europe: www.accessibletourism.org