The Market

Who is the target group?

Talking in numbers the barrier-free tourism is one of the few segments in tourism with growth and great economic potential. As accessibility is indispensable for around 15% of the world population, helpful for 40% and comfortable for 100%.

70% of Europeans with disabilities have physical and economic possibilities to travel, this is equivalent to 58.115.778 potential visitors only in the European Union. In the case of Germany as example, people with physical disabilities spend a total of about 5 billion euros each year on travel, although the number of trips has been reduced due to the lack of accessibility in tourist areas in Europe.

“Governments and the private sector should view the potential for inclusion of 15-17% of the population as an untapped market, as a sound investment in social inclusion – something that could benefit large swathes of the population.”

Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor at the World Bank.

Aging Population

Disability is not an equivalent concept but depends from type and level of impairment which results in different needs of accessibility. The important group of elderly is described as a group that shares the same accessibility barriers as persons with impairments.

The progressive ageing of the world population associated with a longer-life expectancy, specially in developed countries is causing an increase in the number of people with reduced mobility and age related impairments.

The significance of the seniors target group is characterized by 3 main elements:

  • growing size
  • spending power and
  • availability of spare time

There is a well-recognizable connection between disabilities and the aging population.
Older individuals are experiencing relatively high rates of disabilities
50% – for those over 65years
75% for those over 80 years

The prevalence of disabilities, accompanied by activity limitation and the need for personal assistance, increases with the age.

Therefore this growing target group for the tourism business needs the special attention paid to the age related accessibility requirements. However the aging travel market has to fulfil accessibility requirements before it can truly do well.

This fact needs to be considered how to provide adequate services to the different types and aging market segments. To create a customer-centred focus to know, understand and meet the needs and expectations of the aging population and travel, is required.

Equally simple solutions and sufficient verified and standardized information provided by destination and understanding of issues makes a significant difference and opens the destination to accessibility requiring markets improving the operational efficiency.