Accessible Tourism For All – Business Opportunity

Accessible tourism contributes to sustainable development and thus hotels, restaurants and tourism operators in developing economies should pay attention to this new niche market.

Developing and emerging economies often have vivid cultures and traditions and incredible beautiful scenarios. Further they can provide a very competitive service provision, which is very important for wheelchairtravellers. Tourism is already one of the main economic sectors in every third developing nation. Thus accessible tourism for all could contribute to poverty reduction and ecological sustainability in those countries. Further through adapted infrastructure not only the wheelchairtravellers benefit but also the citizens.

Accessible Tourism for All

“Accessibility is a central element of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. It is both a human rights imperative, and an exceptional business opportunity. Above all, we must come to appreciate that accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities or special needs; it benefits us all.”
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General

Accessible Tourism for all means access to information, access to local transport, access to accommodation and the possibility to visit and participate in cultural or sporting events.

This does not only mean access for people with disabilities, but also access for people with temporary disabilities, families with young children and the increasing aging population. Accessible Tourism for all means to meet their demands via universal Design and approach (UNWTO 2013).

Market share

The World Health Organisaiton estimates that 15% of the Worlds Populsaiton have a physical, mental or sensory disability. That is about 1 billion people!

Accessible tourism is already a viable business in many parts of the world:

European Union (2013): In 2012 Accessible tourism provided 3% of the EU GDP. That is 786 billion Euro!

Australia (2011): Accessible tourism contributed around 15% to the overall tourism in 2003-2004 and contributed around $10 Million (Dwyer and Darcy 2011)

Germany (2003): Accessible tourism industry in 2002 was 2.5 Billion Euro (BMWI 2003)

US Market study (2015): disability travel generates 17.5 billion US$ per year.

Impressions at the European accessible tourism conference, ‘Mind the Gap!”, June 2014.

“In the end investing in a segment such as the diabsiltiy market will reap a lo to of return . So you are not just a good person. But actuallly you will end up with more revenue and more profit and better bottom line so it seems to be a win, win win.” Disability Horizons, United Kingdom

We also mean the massve numbers of older people over 55, over 65 that are very active; they have their pensions and they want to visit the world.” Katarina Papamichall, Architect and Accessibility Expert

“In our cases we have studied in between 1.5 and 3 years all the investments in accessibillty and design for all are paid back that means that this is a very good business.”, Francesc Aragall ProA Solutions, Spain


BMWI 2003. Accessible Tourism for all in Germanay – success factors and measures to improve the quality (german)

2007: UN COnvention on Rights of Persons with Disability  was passed in 2007.
It states that persons with disability should: (c) Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such
as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as
possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.

2009:  UN Declartiaon on the Facilitation of Tourist Travel, which was passed by all members of the UNWTO  getragen wird.

Dwyer, L.  and Darcy,S. 2011. Economic Contribution of tourists with disabilities: An Australian Approach and Methodology.  in: Accessible Tourism. Concepts and Issues. Chapter 14. Bristol. Charlesworth Press.

UNWTO.2013: Recommendations on Accessible Tourism. Spain.

2014: Declaration from the World Summit Destinations for ALL: MA World For Everyone. Montreal. 2014.

Sustainable Tourism

Advantage: women empowerment, possible to employ unskilled laborforce, expand the mostly subsistence farmer industry, increase of education.

Wasserversorgung und Muell koennn manchmal Engpaesse in Konzentrierten Regionen bedeuten. Auch koennen werte veraendert werden – kriminalitaet und Prostitution… aber alle voelker sin dim Wandle udn locale muessen entscheiden was sie wollen.


“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”

Here it is important the to acknowledge the minimum standards of the county when it comes to wages and environmental issues.

Sustainabile Tourism needs to be socially and environmentally sustainable in the country of the destinaton to achieve broad development goals.

Areas which are affected by the tourism (e.g. agriculture, transport and the service industry), should be locally supported and utilised. Regardless of local or international support the needs of the local population have to be first priority.

Market Share

Tourism is the biggest industry of the world, and was in 2010 about 10% of overall global GDP.

Reading materials


With whirlwind you can take a wheelchair with that you can give to a person with disability in a devleoping cool… Click here for more.

Article: Managing the Transition of Inclusive Tourism form a Disability Rights Issue to an Economic Market Segment.

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