the client

European Commission – DG ENTR, tourism and cultural instruments

the need

Tourism is a key driver of economic development, generating 5% of EU GDP. One area where the sector can move up the value chain is by making tourism offers and services "accessible for all". EU studies have shown that the market size for accessible tourism in Europe is at least 127 million persons or 27% of the population. The rapidly ageing population (and the strong correlation between age and the acquisition of disabilities in later life) is becoming recognized as another powerful “driver” for the accessible tourism market.

Numerous studies show the fragmentation of accessible tourism services across the supply chain. There is a need to understand the current provision of accessible services, identify gaps in the supply chain and obstacles for providers to offer an accessible service, including adequate staff training.


As part of the Commission’s implementation of the Parliament’s 3- year action plan on accessible tourism, VVA is working on two projects to map the supply of accessible tourism services across Europe and to identify skills requirements for staff working in the tourism sector.

The studies analyse supply chains and performance in all the EU Member States, as well as the existing training on offer. They will propose recommendations and priorities for actions to increase and improve the supply of accessible tourism services and to ensure that trainings links with demand for such services and with existing suppliers. In addition, a new European “Tourism for All online Register” service will be set up, enabling tourism suppliers to present their accessible accommodation, venues, attractions and services. Results of the study will be presented at a European stakeholder workshop in 2014 and via the Internet.

This research study complements the project on mapping skills and training in accessible tourism for the European Commission also managed by VVA-Europe.

VVA is leading the management of these studies.

This includes in particular:

  • Conceptual definition of tourism supply chains 
  • Desk research and interviews with business, policymakers and other stakeholders 
  • Carrying out case studies and surveys with businesses and training providers 
  • Analysis and reporting