Accessible tourism in the heart of this year's European Day of People with Disabilities

4 December 2013
Participants of the conference

Tourism is an important source of growth for the economy in Europe, representing today 1.8 million businesses and approximately 9.7 million jobs. However, travelling can still be a real challenge for some people as finding the information on services, checking luggage on a plane, booking an accessible room often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming.

In the frame of the European Day of People with Disabilities, the European Commission in close cooperation with the European Disability Forum (EDF), organised a conference on “Accessible Tourism in Europe” on 3-4 December 2013. The conference welcomed around 500 participants with the aim to raise awareness on the right of everybody to have equal access to tourism services and destinations and to present some success stories and best practices in the field.

The conference was part of the EU’s wider efforts to promote the mainstreaming of disability issues in line with the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

The first day of the conference focused on the accessibility for tourists and residents from the users' perspective showing examples of good practices of Tourism for All, and possible solutions for the obstacles most frequently encountered.

The second day of the conference covered the practical, political and economic aspects of these issues, focusing on how to overcome barriers that are limiting the potential of a more open Europe to international tourism and benefit from the tourism industry.

ACCESS CITY AWARD

As in the previous years, the winning city of the Access City Award for 2014 was announced at a special ceremony at the end of the first day of the conference and it was Gothenburg (Sweden). The second prize of the Access City Award went to Grenoble (France) and the third to Poznan (Poland) . More information is available on the European Commission’s website

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