Boosting the tourism sector in Europe through digital tools and innovation
The tourism sector is among the most important and fast-growing economies in Europe, with a pivotal role in the development of territories, also in connection with other economic sectors, such as transports, and the cultural and creative industries.
Today, the tourism economy is facing unprecedented challenges, from the COVID-19 crisis, which heavily affected the sector, to the urgent need to integrate new and sustainable approaches. To convert these challenges into opportunities, the tourism sector must foster innovation, and digital tools and technologies can play a fundamental role in this regard.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the tourism economy in Europe and are those that have been hit the hardest by the crisis. Hence, SMEs need support to cope with the new challenges of the tourism sector. Supporting tourism SMEs to innovate and become more competitive is key to making the tourism sector in Europe more resilient and sustainable.
The DIGITOUR project aims to increase the competitiveness and resilience of tourism SMEs in Europe to help them cope with the new challenges of the tourism sector. To achieve this overall objective, the project plans to:
1) Improve digital skills and capacities of the tourism SMEs and increase their knowledge of digital tools and technologies through individual training and advisory support (at least 100 tourism SMEs at European level will be supported through individual vouchers for updating and developing skills).
2) Promote innovative ideas by tourism SMEs to improve their offer, management, marketing and promotion of products and services in new and sustainable ways, through the application of digital solutions (at least 19 projects at the European level will be financed through vouchers for innovation, involving at least 38 tourism SMEs).
3) Promote cross-sectoral and cross-border partnerships among tourism SMEs, with the actors of the tourism ecosystem, and with suppliers of digital solutions and technologies (at least 138 tourism SMEs will get in contact with other tourism companies and a wide range of providers of digital solutions and technologies at the European level; in addition, at least 19 collaborative projects by groups of tourism SMEs will be funded at the European level, with the involvement of providers of digital solutions and technologies).
- Venetian Cluster (ITALY)
- Longarone Fiere Dolomiti (ITALY)
- Bizgarden (CZECH REPUBLIC)
- Cluster Turismo Sostenible de Aragon (SPAIN)
- Asociacion Investigacion, Desarrollo e Innovacion en Aragon (SPAIN)
- Cluster of Cultural Routes (SERBIA)
- Consulting Cluster Veritas (BULGARIA)
- Camera di Commercio Italo-tedesca di Monaco e Stoccarda (GERMANY)
- Agence de Developpement et d’Innovation Aquitaine (FRANCE)
- Aarhus Universitet (DENMARK)
The overall duration of the DIGITOUR project is 26 months. The project started in November 2021 and will end in January 2024.
To achieve its objectives, the DIGITOUR partners will organize a series of activities aimed at involving tourism SMEs. These activities include:
– The definition of needs and requirements of tourism SMEs in Europe in terms of digitization, and digital tools and technologies.
– The mapping of digital solutions and training opportunities for tourism businesses at the national and European level.
– The launch of a Call for Expression of Interest directed to suppliers of digital solutions and technologies and providers of training and consulting services, for the creation of a database to support tourism companies.
– The creation of a B2B platform to connect companies in the tourism sector and facilitate encounter with suppliers of digital solutions and technologies and providers of training and consulting services.
– The organization of events to involve and inspire tourism SMEs.
– The launch of a Call for Proposals addressed to tourism SMEs in Europe for the provision of direct funding through two types of vouchers.
– Continuous support and tutoring to beneficiary SMEs, both at the application stage and during implementation of projects.
– Continuous support for networking and for the creation of partnerships, including with the public sector.
Support to tourism SMEs: two types of vouchers
Through the launch of a Call for Proposals for tourism sector SMEs (launch expected by June 2022), the DIGITOUR project will provide direct financing to tourism enterprises, through two types of vouchers.
The tourism sector SMEs involved by the DIGITOUR project include: Hotels and similar accommodation facilities; holidays and short stays accommodation facilities; campsites, camper parking areas and caravan areas; travel agencies and tour operators (more details will be provided in the official Call announcement).
VOUCHER 1 – Upskilling and Capacity Building Individual Voucher
The first voucher is addressed to individual tourism SMEs, with the aim of improving their knowledge of digital tools and technologies through training and individual advisory support. More details will be provided in the official Call announcement.
VOUCHER 2 – Collaboration Innovation Vouchers
The second voucher is addressed to groups of SMEs that want to collaborate in the implementation of innovative projects at the national or transnational level. The aim of the voucher is to support the implementation of innovative ideas to improve the offer, management, marketing and promotion of tourism products and services in new and sustainable ways, through the application of digital solutions and technologies, while promoting the creation of cross-sectoral, and possibly cross-border partnerships between companies in the tourism sector, suppliers of digital solutions and technologies, and other players in the tourism system. More details will be provided in the official Call announcement.
For both vouchers, tourism SMEs will be requested to cooperate or involve SMEs of the digital ecosystem.
The DIGITOUR B2B platform
To facilitate encounter between tourism sector SMEs and companies of the digital sector, the DIGITOUR project will launch a B2B digital platform, to which all beneficiary SMEs will have access. The platform will soon be launched online.
Total project budget: 1,333,178 euros
Of which 480,000 euros allocated as financial support for the tourism SMEs.
The DIGITOUR project is co-funded by the European COSME Programme, within the framework of the Call COS-TOURINN-2020-3-04.
More information about the project timeline, events and core activities will be available soon through the official project website and its social media channels. #DIGITOUR
Valentina Gamba, Project Manager: email@example.com: digital skills • digital solutions • Digitour • partenariati intersettoriali • partenariati transfrontalieri • settore turistico • Small and Medium Enterprises • SMEs • soluzioni digitali • tourism companies • tourism economy • tourism SMEs • voucher