“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” Aldous Huxley
In my opinion Aldous Huxley is correct when he said that tourism is a way to learn and get about other countries. In fact, tourism is a major economic activity in the European Union with wide-ranging impact on economic growth, employment, and social development. A demonstration that in Europe there is a lot to learn!!
Tourism has been recognised as a powerful tool in fighting economic decline and unemployment. Nevertheless the tourism sector faces a series of challenges. These are due not only to the classic economic issues Europe faces nowadays. The fact is that tourism is a very diversified economic activity and it encompasses a great variety of sectors and sub-sectors.
Culture, Sport, Food and Beverage, Industry, Agriculture, Arts&Crafts, Blue economy are just a few topics which can be collected under tourism umbrella. What about the opportunities in this sector?
What is out there for tourism businesses and services providers?
The European Union sets a series of funding scheme which can help tourism and its sub-sector to develop and growth.
Here we will analyse some of them which might be interesting. For a full information you can check this publication: EU FUNDING FOR THE TOURISM SECTOR 2014-2020
Any type of useful transaction or investment for the development of legitimate (SMEs) activities. Everywhere in the EU, including cross-border projects (no geographic quotas).
These programmes may for instance support:
– Tourism-related research, technological development and innovation, including service
innovation and clusters (tourism service incubators, living labs, demonstration projects)
– The development of tourism-related ICT products (apps, data mining)
– The development of innovative tourism services, in particular in less favoured and peripheral regions with underdeveloped industrial structures and strongly dependent on tourism (new business models, exploitation of new ideas)
– The development of high value added products and services in niche markets (health tourism, tourism for seniors, cultural and ecotourism, gastronomy tourism, sports tourism, etc.) by mobilising specific local resources and therefore contributing to smart regional specialisation
– Clustering activities among different tourism industries as well as with creative industries, to diversify regional tourism products and extend the tourism season (e.g. in the nautical and boating tourism industry, as well as for the cruise industry).
– Activities connecting the coastal regions to the hinterland for more integrated regional
– Measures to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy use among tourism SMEs
– The protection, promotion and development of natural and cultural tourism assets and related services
– Small-scale cultural and sustainable tourism infrastructure
– Measures in favour of entrepreneurship, self-employment and business creation as well as the internationalisation of tourism SMEs and clusters
– Vocational training, skills upgrading
ESF is providing grants. All projects have to be co-financed, with a maximum EU contribution of 50% to 85% (95% in exceptional cases) of the total project costs depending on the relative wealth of the region (“More developed regions”, “Transitions regions” or “Less developed regions”). The level of funding varies widely, depending of the project and the Operational Programme. Examples listed below range from EUR 50.000 to EUR 3 million.
– Vocational training and skills acquisition actions (courses, workshops, coaching for instance on how to develop rural tourism), demonstration activities and information actions
– Advisory services to help farmers, forest holders, other land managers and SMEs in rural areas to improve their economic performance
– Business start-up aid as well as investments for non-agricultural activities in rural areas (rural accommodation, shops, restaurants, guided tours)
– Drawing up and updating of plans for the development of municipalities and villages in rural areas
– Investments for public use in recreational infrastructure, tourist information and small scale tourism infrastructure
– Studies and investments associated with the maintenance, restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of villages, rural landscapes and high nature value sites, including
– Related socio-economic aspects, as well as environmental awareness actions
co-operation involving at least two entities (creation of clusters and networks; co-operation
among small operators in organising joint work processes and sharing facilities and resources and for the development and/or marketing of tourism services relating to rural tourism)
– Projects, including test projects and cooperation projects
– Conferences, seminars, fora and workshops
Public information and sharing best practice, awareness raising campaigns and associated communication and dissemination activities such as publicity campaigns, events, the development and maintenance of websites, stakeholder platforms;
– Professional training, life-long learning and the acquisition of new professional skills enabling professionals of the fisheries sector or their life partners to enter into tourism activities or to carry out complementary activities in the field of tourism.
– Pilot projects assess the effectiveness of a method/approach that is new or has been used in a different (geographical, ecological, socio-economic) context; they compare its results with those produced by best practices, in order to determine if the method should be tested on a larger scale (i.e. in a demonstration project) and inform stakeholders
– Demonstration projects test and evaluate a method/approach that is new or has been used in a different context; they inform other stakeholders of the results and, where appropriate, encourage them to apply these methods/approaches
– Best practice projects apply appropriate, cost-effective and state-of-the-art techniques,
methods and approaches taking into account the specific context of the project
– Information, awareness and dissemination projects related to one of the priority areas.
LEIT & REFLECTIVE. For “Research & Innovation Actions”, grants for projects typically lasting 36 to 48 months, with an average EU contribution of € 2 to 5 million over that period. The grant may cover 100% of the total eligible costs. For “Innovation Actions”, grants for projects typically lasting 30 to 36 months, with an average EU contribution of € 2 to 5 million over that period. The grant may cover 100% of the total eligible costs for non-profit organisations and 70% maximum for profit-making entities (companies …). For “Coordination and Support Actions”, grants for projects typically lasting 12 to 30 months and an average EU contribution of € 500.000 to 2 million over that period. The grant covers 100% of the total eligible costs.
SME INSTRUMENT. For feasibility assessment, grants of € 50.000 (lump sum) with a typical duration of 6 months, covering maximum 70 % of total cost of the project. For innovation development & demonstration projects, grants of € 500.000 to 2,5 million (indicative range), with a typical duration of 1 to 2 years, covering 70 % of total cost of the project as a general rule). As for risk finance, this instrument allows financial intermediaries to offer SMEs better loans, guarantees or counter-guarantees as well as hybrid, mezzanine or equity finance.
TOURISM ACTION PLAN
Some of the Tourism Action Plan’s objectives are pursued through calls for Proposals and calls for tenders open to the tourism sector. These may concern, among other things:
– The development and/or promotion of sustainable transnational thematic tourism products (linked, for instance, European routes dedicated to specific aspects of our cultural and industrial heritage, cycling trails, eco-tourism, maritime and sub-aquatic areas, etc.).
– The development and/or promotion of niche products exploiting synergies between tourism and creative industries at European level (e.g. European Route around high-end products)
– Transnational public and private partnerships developing tourism products targeting specific age groups (e.g. seniors and youth) to increase tourism flows between European countries during the low and medium seasons
– Capacity building schemes for “accessible tourism” (i.e. to all, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age) whereby destination managers, entrepreneurs, can learn from experienced and successful ‘accessible’ operators, create synergies with other operators along the supply chain, explore new market opportunities and way to make business.
TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATION PROJECTS
The “Culture sub-programme” funds transnational activities within and outside of the EU, aimed at developing, creating, producing, disseminating and preserving goods and services which embody cultural, artistic or other creative expressions. This encompasses activities to develop skills, competences and know-how, including how to adapt to digital technologies; to test new business and management models; to organise international cultural activities, such as touring events, exhibitions, exchanges and festivals; as well as to stimulate interest in, and improve access to, European cultural and creative works. The programme will not support projects including pornographic or racist material or advocating violence.
The “Culture sub-programme” supports European networks (i.e. structured groups of organisations) that strengthen the capacity of the cultural and creative sectors to operate transnationally and internationally, adapt to change and promote innovation. A limited number of networks with broad coverage will be supported across a balanced range of sectors. Greater synergies between existing networks are welcomed in order to reinforce their organisational and financial structure and avoid duplication of efforts.
EUROPEAN CAPITALS OF CULTURE
The title of “European Capital of Culture” is awarded each year to one city in two Member States, according to a chronological list of eligible Member States set for 2020-2033 (Croatia and Ireland in 2020; Romania and Greece in 2021 …). These cities have to create a cultural programme specifically for that year. The “Culture sub-programme” supports the implementation of this programme which has to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share, as well as to promote greater understanding between European citizens.
– Learning opportunities for individuals through Mobility Projects for Higher Education Students and Staff, a loan guarantee scheme to help Master’s degree students financing their studies abroad and Mobility Projects for VET Learners and Staff (Vocational Education and Training)
– Cooperation between educational institutions, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGOs, mainly through Joint Master Degrees (i.e. high-level integrated international study programmes of 60, 90 or 120 ECTS); Strategic Partnerships (allowing organisations from different socio-economic sectors to develop and disseminate, among other things, innovative practices leading to high quality teaching, – training, learning and youth work); Knowledge Alliances (a/ to develop innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning; b/ to stimulate entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills among teaching staff and workers; c/ to facilitate the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge between higher education and enterprises); and Sector Skills Alliances (to design and deliver joint vocational training programmes and teaching / training methodologies, with particular focus on work-based learning, providing learners with the skills required by the labour market);
– Not-for profit European sport events encouraging participation in sport and physical activity.
Antonella Tozzi, Project Manager at Eurocrea Merchant SRL
About me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/antonella-tozzi-7ab49645
Project website – http://www.smartourproject.eu/ includes links to our online training tool and events in England and Italy
Twitter @tourismsu #SMARTOUR
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/smartourproject/