Transitioning to a more sustainable and resilient ecosystem – empowering tourism SMEs (SMP-COSME-2023-TOURSME)

  • Action type: SMP-COSME-2023-TOURSME
  • Opening date: 12 December 2023
  • Closing time: 24 February 2024 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 2 125 000 of total € 8 500 000
  • Estimated number of projects funded: 4
  • Project duration: 36 months
  • Official website


This call for proposals will aim at equipping and empowering SMEs to transition towards more sustainable and resilient practices as prioritised in the Tourism Transition Pathway (under the Industrial Strategy Update (COM(2021)350 final).

The general objective of the call for proposals is to enhance the competitiveness of tourism ecosystem, in particular the SMEs in the tourism ecosystem. It aims at equipping and empowering SMEs to become more resilient by building capacity of SMEs to successfully carry out the twin transition towards more sustainable, digital and competitive practices as prioritised in the Tourism Transition Pathway.

The action will contribute to the transition of the European tourism ecosystem by providing direct and indirect support, be it financial or consultative, including with the intermediary of consortia of organisations of the relevant tourism industry stakeholders, to SMEs, including start-ups and entrepreneurs, who wish to develop innovative concepts and projects contributing to the transition of EU tourism. This may also include further development and transfer of best practices and solutions identified through previous calls.

Specific objectives

  1. Gather best practices and raise awareness regarding resilience, digital, and sustainable changes relevant to tourism SMEs in the tourism ecosystem.
  2. Conduct ‘train the trainers’ activities regarding resilience, digital, and sustainable practices for key tourism stakeholders, including business associations, destination management organizations (DMO), and public authorities, to enhance awareness and knowledge spreading in tourism ecosystems.
  3. Provide targeted consulting, coaching, and technical support to SMEs in identified tourism subsectors, attempting to cover a wide geographical scope, from management consulting on sustainable measures, digital literacy or implementation of solutions proved efficient to the transition of EU tourism (e.g. Ecolabel/EMAS certification) by tourism SMEs.
  4. Offer direct support for the development of new business concepts, projects creating/promoting new products, and fostering cross-sectoral cooperation, with a special focus on projects that increase resilience and develop tourism offerings with other ecosystems (e.g., culture, agri-food, construction, proximity, social economy, textiles).

Eligible activities

The eligible activities include financial support to third parties for innovative collaborative projects.

Themes funded under this call

The actions resulting from this call for proposals shall promote the following themes (the list is not exhaustive):

  • diversification in the tourism offer by implementing diversified business models and by tackling seasonality and fluctuations in seasonal tourist flows – be it throughout the year or throughout the territory; targeting different market segments, such as types of clients, origin of clients and sources of income; working with an increased variety of suppliers
  • regenerative tourism experiences that respect the authenticity of local tourism offerings while contributing to the well-being of host communities and promote cultural tourism encompassing both tangible and intangible cultural heritage
  • the support to remote and rural regions within the EU, with their specific challenges as regards their transition towards a more sustainable and resilient ecosystem.

The activity will aim to provide:

  • Direct support to innovative projects presented by third parties, e.g. SMEs,
  • Technical support, advice and capacity building to the highest possible number of SMEs based on their needs, attempting to cover a wide geographical scope,
  • Collection of best practices with the purpose of providing policy makers with updated, empirical evidence of the implementation of the priorities set out in the Transition Pathway for Tourism.

Expected Impact:

1. Enhanced resilience and competitiveness of tourism SMEs through better uptake of sustainability principles, accessibility aspects, innovation, and digitalisation (i.e. use of new technologies, greening, data) and through increased capacity to track the footprints;

2. New business models in tourism building on digitalisation, new technologies, sustainability, accessibility, services for all types of customers, circularity, involvement of local communities and long-term visitors;

3. Enhanced cooperation along the tourism value chain;

4. Improved transnational and cross-border cooperation, knowledge transfer and peer learning;

5. Support to recovery of the tourism ecosystem from the shocks caused by COVID-19 and the Russian military aggression in Ukraine by developing and providing best practices for recovery investments with long-term effects for green and digital transition.


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