Mission possible: Making tourism accessible for all

Juan Giron

Global Corporate Communications Manager, Amadeus

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Accessible travel has become an urgent need. In response to this, the UNWTO declared 2016 the year for promoting universal accessibility.

Members of the travel sector and representatives of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO), ONCE Foundationfor the visually impaired, and the Spanish employers’ confederation(CEOE) discussed recently in Madrid the way ahead for this growing need at the global level.

With 15% of world population having some kind of disability and the growing segment of senior citizens, estimated to reach 21.5% of the world population by 2050, it is clear that more efforts towards sustainable, responsible, and inclusive travel and tourism are required. Fernando Cuesta, General Manager Amadeus Spain, explains what’s at stake here.

Fernando Cuesta: The role of Amadeus in making travel accessible to those with disabilities

The profile of travellers with disabilities has been identified by the ONCE Foundation: usually they travel with another person, they spend some 30% more, and they often travel during the low season. They also have a pension, they are very faithful to destinations they like, and they are environmentally-friendly. Jesús Hernández Galán, Director for Universal Accessibility, ONCE Foundation, points out the great opportunity for all stakeholders.

ONCE Foundation: Disabled people do travel and travel providers should accommodate

Employers have a key role to play in society to make travel more accessible. Joan Gaspar, Chairman of the Tourism Council at the CEOE, is convinced that catering to travellers with special needs is a win-win approach.

CEOE Council for Tourism: Travel players are obliged to make travel accessible

The UNWTO have declared themselves ready to push accessible travel to the next level. To do this, they will use United Nations legislation to turn an article of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention or treaty to be enforced by the countries that subscribe to it. UNWTO Executive Director Carlos Vogeler, comments about this initiative and how accessible travel has become a crucial topic at the United Nations level.

UNWTO: working together to make travel more accessible to those with disabilities and special needs


United Nations, Industry Relations