The general objective of this Call is to boost the uptake of digitalisation and innovation by tourism SMEs through transnational cooperation and capacity building.
The action aims at:
- reinforcing transnational and cross-border cooperation, in particular integration of tourism businesses and stakeholders in transnational and inter-regional innovation ecosystems to enable smart and sustainable growth of tourism SMEs;
- fostering SMEs’ capacity and skills to improve their use of new digital technologies, resulting in new business models in tourism;
- fostering innovative solutions for improving tourism management and the tourism offer through cooperation within the tourism ecosystem, including public-private partnerships
The specific objective of the action is to develop and put in place transnational and cross-ecosystem support schemes to build capacity for digital transformation, innovation and smart tourism solutions by SMEs in the tourism ecosystem.
Types of Activities
A transnational consortium/network of public and private stakeholders (including business incubators, accelerators and business support organisations providing business support to SMEs and start-ups cooperating with providers of travel technologies, data processing and similar services, digital solutions, research and education institutes, professional associations) will act as an intermediary organising specific activities for tourism SMEs in different COSME countries.
The consortium will organise and provide direct support to companies to build their capacities to develop and implement new, innovative approaches services and operations with the help of digital technologies, but will also facilitate cross-border/transnational cooperation to foster peer to peer learning as well as to exchange knowledge and good practices in boosting the uptake of digitalisation, innovation and new technologies in tourism.
Additional details are provided in the Call and in the Guidelines for Awarding Financial Support to Third Parties (Tourism SMEs).
Eligibility of Applicants
Eligible applicants must be fully or partly public or private bodies; private bodies must be properly constituted and registered under national law.
Proposals may be submitted by the following applicants. The following is a list of non-exhaustive types of legal persons that may apply:
- non-profit organisations (private or public);
- non-governmental organisations;
- business support organisations. Such business support organisations could include a business incubator/accelerator, lab, innovation hub, university or educational institution, research centres and any other relevant organisation with a proven capacity and experience in running business support activities directly to SMEs
- public authorities and public bodies at national, regional or local level and their networks or associations at European, international, national, regional and local level, or organisations acting on behalf of a public authority, responsible for or active in the fields of tourism, economic affairs, industry, business support or related fields;
- international organisations;
- private and profit making entities including micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) active in tourism and business support;
- chambers of commerce and industry;
- training and educational institutions, including universities and research centres active in tourism and business support.
Natural persons are not eligible.
Linked third parties, i.e. legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation (also referred to as ‘affiliated entities’), may take part in the action as applicants in order to declare eligible costs.
Only applications from legal entities duly established in the following countries are eligible:
- EU Member States;
- countries participating in the COSME programme pursuant to Article 6 of the COSME Regulation.
For British applicants : Please be aware that following the entry into force of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement* on 1 February 2020 and in particular Articles 127(6), 137 and 138, the references to natural or legal persons residing or established in a Member State of the European Union are to be understood as including natural or legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom. UK residents and entities are therefore eligible to participate under this call.
In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium composed of:
(a). a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 members/partners - different legal entities.
(b). covering at least 5 eligible countries - as listed under section 6.1.
(c). minimum one (1) but not more than two (2) public authorities and bodies, as defined under point 6.1.
(d). minimum one (1) business support organisation, as defined under points 6.1 and 8.2.
Each consortium/network will directly support (including financial support) in total a minimum of 60 tourism SMEs from a minimum of three (3) eligible countries. Additional details are provided in the Call and in the Guidelines for Awarding Financial Support to Third Parties (Tourism SMEs).
The project's duration must be between 25 months and 36 months.
The team must also include a project manager and at least one tourism expert.
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at EUR 8 000 000.
The maximum grant per project will be EUR 1 000 000.
The Agency expects to fund 8 to 11 proposals.
The grant is limited to a maximum reimbursement rate of 75% of the total eligible costs.
The Agency reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
Submission of Proposals
The deadline for electronic submission is 11 February 2021, 17:00 hours (Brussels time).
The link to the submission system is available on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
Please refer to the Guide for Applicants (listed below) before commencing the electronic submission.
Potential applicants should address questions related to the content of this call by e-mail to EASME-COSME-TOUR-INNO@ec.europa.eu
Only questions sent to this functional mailbox will be answered. Answers will only be published periodically and within a reasonable period of time on this page. Last questions to be answered are those, which will be submitted at least 7 days prior to the closing date of this call.