RESETTING – Relaunching European smart and SustainablE Tourism models Through digitization and INnovative technoloGies is, as the name suggests, a European project concerning the innovation and digitization of sustainable tourism models in European Union member states, to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the tourism industry and engage relevant institutions in this area of interest.
The tourism industry is one of the global economic sectors that has been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated with its economic downturn, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Specifically, UNWTO data states that the current crisis is responsible for a global fall in export revenues of between EUR 750-900 billion and a loss of direct jobs that could be between 100 and 200 million. With the fall in profits and lack of certainty for stable markets, the recovery, in the near future, of SMEs, which according to UNWTO shoulder 80% of global tourism, is at stake. With lost revenues and subsequently, talent drain to other economic sectors, tourism SMEs face the need to adapt at a time of crisis with constraint capacities.
Considering this context, it appears clear the importance of supporting the tourism industry and its core entities in this critical moment and devise working models and technologies to help relaunch it.
Through the design of a dynamic technological solution (platform) for knowledge-transfer and experience exchange made available to a network of tourism SME clusters across six countries, RESETTING will demonstrate how digitalisation can accelerate innovation and uptake of new sustainability solutions in a sector that is built up mostly of small enterprises with limited resources for new knowledge acquisition.
The COVID-19 crisis has put tourism in a particularly vulnerable juncture with the need to prepare for a market restart with different scenarios and demand patterns, but also the need to accelerate sustainability and gender equality.
In this context of multiple constraints, technology can help optimise the flow of knowledge and sharing of best practices so that more clusters of tourism SMEs can adopt new commercial and sustainable practices as well as restore the market power and positive impact of the tourism sector. By combining expertise in cutting-edge and cost efficient technological solutions and the most up-to-date thinking from behavioural sciences, RESETTING will propose a solution for knowledge transfer and adoption of innovation that can facilitate a desired transition towards maximum value and minimum footprint business models in the tourism sector.
To summarize, RESETTING aim is to facilitate a transition towards more resilient, circular and sustainable operational models of European tourism enterprises through the testing and mainstreaming of innovative and digitally driven solutions which reduce unnecessary burdens, enhance the quality of the tourist experience, contribute to the decarbonization of the tourism sector and to more inclusive economic growth for SMEs and residents.
Considering the scope of the project and the complexities of the European tourism sector, eight main partners from southern Europe came together to collaborate for the success of RESETTING.
The lead partner, Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia, it’s the Leading Technology Centre in Catalonia, and the second largest private research organization in Southern Europe. It’s R&D, innovation and training activities span from Industrial Technologies to Digital Technologies and Biotech.
Another partner from the Catalonia region is Cluster TIC Catalunya Sud, an association promoted by the public sector and led by the private sector, whose main objective is to promote and contribute to competitiveness in the value chain of the Information and Communication Technologies sector in the region of the South of Catalonia.
The Spanish presence in the team is completed by FEHT – The Business Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of the province of Tarragona, a non-profit organization that represents the interests of the tourism business of the province of Tarragona.
Two other partners from the Iberian peninsula joined the Resetting consortium: Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon, a public university established in 1972 pursuing teaching, research and community service activities, and APECATE – Associação Portuguesa de Empresas de Congressos, Animação Turística e Eventos, an association that congregates and represents the Congresses, Tourism Animation and Events companies of Portugal.
The consortium is completed by an Albian partner – Albanian Trip, an inbound tour operator based in Tirana Albania, whose main focus concerns responsible and sustainable tourism, a Greek Partner – Heraklion Development Agency, a Development Agency of Local Administration Authorities of Heraklion Prefecture, established in 1989, and lastly an Italian partner – the City of San Benedetto del Tronto, a local public body located in the Marche Region, along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, that manages a coastal stretch of more than 7 km consisting mainly of beaches equipped for seaside tourism.
Considering the locations of the main partners, the project will engage with SMEs hailing from the same regions. During the current call, 3 SMEs from each of the partner’s country of origin will be selected, specifically from the following territories:
- The province of Tarragona (Spain);
- Lisbon Metropolitan Area (Portugal);
- Heraklion province (Greece);
- Tirana, Vlora, Shkodra, Gjirokastra, Fieri, Berati or Korça (Albania);
- Coastal municipalities of the Marche region: San Benedetto delTronto, Grottammare, Cupra Marittima, Pedaso and Porto San Giorgio (Italy).
The project officially began in January 2022 and will end after a period of thirty months, in June 2024. During this period, three calls engaging SMEs will happen. The submission opening date for this first call to action was 1st June 2022 and the closing date will be 1st September 2022, 17.00 CET.
Any SMEs in the tourism sector registered in any of the territories mentioned above is very welcomed to apply and join the RESETTING project.
Below a detailed list of eligible activities for the SMEs’ action plan:
- Travel and allowance costs for active participation and learning actions;
- Digital innovation investments;
- Smart tourism tools;
- Advisory services;
- Improving skills to digitalize the operation of the SME;
- Adapting operational procedures;
- Augmented and Virtual Reality, Crowd detection, Drone-based and Beacon-based sustainable tourism tools.
The participation in the programme is free of charge and there are no registration fees.
The application form for this call to action may be found on the RESETTING website – https://www.resetting.eu/opencall/.