European Commission's "EDEN Awards" will Support Accessible Tourism Destinations in Europe

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The European Commission has chosen "Accessible Tourism Destinations" as this year's theme for the European Destinations of Excellence Awards. National Tourism Authorities are invited to organise competitions to select the best small, "non traditional" destinations that provide an outstanding offer for tourists regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age.

EDEN Awards logoThe European Commission has chosen "Accessible Tourism Destinations" as this year's theme for the European Destinations of Excellence Awards.

A Call for Proposals invites National Tourism Authorities in EU Member States and associated countries to organise competitions to select the best small, "non traditional" destinations that provide an outstanding offer for tourists regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. “Non traditional” is defined as a destination where the visitor density rating is from “low” to “very low” in comparison with the national average.

The national authorities can receive up to 75% co-funding to support their national competitions, to be held during 2012-13.

Go directly to the Country-by-Country EDEN 2013 News Updates, below.

Winning destinations and 4 runners-up per country will be invited to join the EDEN Network Association which is made up of the winners and runners up from the 5 previous years' contests. They can then be promoted through the EDEN Network's Website.  

In its own words: "The EDEN Network brings together winning EDEN destinations to harness their combined energy and passion for sustainable tourism and promote the rich variety of Europe’s lesser-known holiday destinations. The network facilitates networking between winning destinations and provides an open platform for discussion and the sharing of best practice and information around tourism and sustainability".

EDEN Awards: 2012 Call for Proposals

As described above, this Call is only open to National Tourism Authorities, to support them in setting up their national competitions.

Full details of the Call are published on the Commission website at:

ENAT has produced a "Summary Note" about the Call which can be downloaded in PDF format from the right-hand panel. This gives the main details about the Call, who is eligible to apply and the Award Criteria set by the European Commission.

The ENAT Summary Note is for information purpose only. Intending applicants must download and study all the EC documents carefully. 

ENAT small logoENAT Comment:

ENAT is delighted to welcome this Call by the EC Tourism Unit. We see it is as an exceptional opportunity for National Tourism Authorities in Europe to help develop and reward initiatives in accessible tourism.

We would like all EU Member States to participate in this year's EDEN Awards, to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding tourism accessibility, to spread good practices and to foster new initiatives and offers in small, non traditional destinations.

ENAT promotes improved accessibility as a key factor in attracting new visitors and generating more income for businesses, especially for smaller destinations that need to stand out from the rest in terms of service and high quality tourism offers. Moreover, accessible tourism demonstrates the principle of socially responsibility, which should be a key feature of all sustainable tourism destinations.      

Tourism authorities and destinations alike will need the support of national and local organisations of people with disabilities, older citizens, chambers of commerce and others in order to create attractive contests and winning dossiers.

If you are a national authority or a destination needing advice about accessible tourism or, perhaps, technical assistance to prepare your bid, you are welcome to contact us. You are welcome to join ENAT and use our Member Services.  We can also put you in touch with an ENAT Member or ENAT Adviser in your country or region.

To contact us, please use the ENAT Contact Page

Good luck to all the national authorities and destinations who will be involved in the forthcoming EDEN Awards competitions!

Country-by Country EDEN 2013 News Updates



  • On 26.4.2013, the Croatian EDEN Award was given to Agrotourism Stancija 1904 which is located in a 100-year old estate in Istria, in the Smoljanci town. It consists of traditional Istrian houses, renovated as a holiday apartment house. More details...

Czech Republic

  •  August 2013. The sixth year of the EDEN competition received entries from 15 destinations. The seven-member jury composed of representatives of CzechTourism, the Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Environment, the Association of Tourist Regions of the Czech Republic and the Prague Organization of Wheelchair Paraplegic Centre picked the final five destinations:
    • Lipno
    • České Švýcarsko
    • Orlické hory a Podorlicko
    • Krkonoše
    • Těšínské Slezsko

The prestigious European Destinations of Excellence - EDEN 2013 award went to Lipno, which entered the competition with the project "Lipno without barriers". The expert jury particularly appreciated the complexity of the tourist offers for target groups with special needs, including their distribution throughout the tourist season and cooperation of all stakeholders in the region.
Read the EDEN 2013 webpage for Czech accessible destinations:


  • Event: 9th May 2013. ENAT Member, Ms. Małgorzata Tokarska, Owner and Manager of Accessible Poland Tours, will take part in the judging panel for the Estonian EDEN Awards and make a presentation on behalf of ENAT, at the Accessible Tourism Workshop in Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn on 9th May 2013.


  • 8 May 2013. The EDEN Award goes to the Town of Marathon. The municipality of Marathon was voted as the leading Greek tourist destination, for the period 2012-2013, within the framework of the European contest Accessible Tourism, of the European Destinations of Excellence- EDEN project. As part of this programme, the runner-up destination was the  Municipality Minoa Pediada (Region of Crete).  More details at the website of:  Greek Europe Reporter.


  • 22 May 2013. Cavan town (and environs) has been named as the Irish winner of this year’s ‘European Destination of Excellence’ (EDEN) award as part of an EU-wide competition designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development. Major efforts have been made to provide an accessible tourism experience for visitors and the town is implementing a disability strategy which has been developed in consultation with disability advisory groups.
    For more information, see the ENAT News item



  • On 29.04.2013, the POLISH EDEN Award was given to touristic town – Fortress of Przemysl ( Polish: Miasto turystyczne - Twierdza Przemyśl ) It was voted as the leading Polish tourist destination which created barrier free conditions to use a touristic offer by disabled people, seniors and families with children. Przemyśl fortress was a series of fortifications constructed at Przemyśl by the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the mid 19th century until the First World War. It is located near the Polish – Ukrainian border. (Reported by ENAT's Margaret Tokarska).

San Marino

  • 28.6.2013. San Marino is not an EU Member State but participates in the Tourism Advisory Committee of the European Commission along with Member State representatives. It submitted its candidature to the Italian EDEN Destinations Committee and was recognised with a special mention for its efforts in creating the destination San Marino For All (San Marino Per Tutti). See press report in Italian at the website of:



  • (Added 17.6.2013) Cartagena, Spain, will be part of the European Network of Destinations of Excellence (EDEN), a group of destinations rewarded for the quality with which they work as visitors receptors, as reported by Tourism ministry officials. Cartagena has been selected as one of the EDEN Awards finalists 2013 under the motto Accessible Tourism, and just after an audit conducted in recent weeks, says Councilwoman for Tourism in Cartagena, Carolina Palazón. One of the most valued aspects has been the availability of museums and interpretation centers and the work done to bring culture to people with disabilities. Various groups in the city have supported this work with the Ministry.
  • More information about Cartagena in the EDEN competition at this link (in Spanish).