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In December 2008, the European Parliament voted for the adoption of a preparatory action to develop social tourism in Europe. This action, entitled CALYPSO, was launched because many citizens are still excluded from tourism and travel, and Calypso aims at correcting this social inequality, assuring a universal access to holidays. The Calypso initiative helps disadvantaged people go on holiday - while at the same time increasing tourism in the low season. It works by promoting exchanges between different countries/areas. Calypso seeks to support 4 target groups: young adults (18-30 years), families facing financial difficulties, people with disabilities and seniors who cannot afford travel or are daunted by the challenges of organising a journey.

The implementation of this initiative would be a genuine opportunity to promote partnerships, spurred on by the European Commission, between the social partners as well as the public and private sectors. Within this context, CALYPSO was intended as a tool in extending existing regional good practices to other European territories whilst ensuring accessibility, through tourism exchanges, to different target groups in order to encompass additional strata of the European population. During this first year of the preparatory action, the main objectives were to:

  • catalogue the main (most representative) good practices as means to encourage tourism activity particularly during the off peak season, thus generating employment opportunities when tourism demand is traditionally low;
  • identify the existing measures at European and national level allowing the exchanges of persons from the following target groups: senior citizens, young people, disabled citizens and families facing difficult social circumstances;
  • examine the difficulties related to such exchanges whilst proposing the most appropriate solutions;
  • propose one or several mechanisms in the tourist low season enabling particular target groups (senior citizens, young people, disabled citizens and families facing difficult social circumstances) to go on holiday in other Member States/Candidate Countries on the basis of themed programs and accommodation offers coordinated by Member States/Candidate Countries authorities (national, regional or local public authorities), on the basis of initiatives from stakeholders that include municipalities, charitable organizations, parishes, unions, social partners, cooperatives or any not-for-profit association.




For more information on the Calypso initiative, please, review the DG Entreprise & Industry of the
European Commission's website. 

  • International Social Tourism Organisation (OITS)
  • UNAT
  • Floreal Group
  • Costa Cálida. Región de Murcia
  • Vacances Ouvertes
  • Inatel
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