The results of a recently released EU study pointed out the potential of accessible tourism in the region. The research, which was conducted by Dr Victoria Eichhorn, Dr Gang Li, Professor Graham Miller and Dr Jason Chen, from the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, found that disabled travelers took 783 million trips within the EU in 2012, and contributed €394 billion and 8.7 million jobs to the European economy. It also revealed that the demand for accessible facilities could increase 44 percent a year if more facilities were fully accessible. Increased accessibility would also create an additional 3.4 million jobs and add an additional €142 billion to the economy.
Funded by the European Commission, this is the first European study ever conducted on the habits of disabled travelers. “The worry of many small and medium-sized businesses has been recouping the cost of adapting for special access needs,” explained Professor Miller. This research shows that this cost will not only be recovered, but will result in market growth. As a result, the European Commission identified several key recommendations for improving accessibility, which they hope to put into place in the near future.