This topic is part of the call : "Regional flagships projects supporting sustainable blue economy in EU sea basins (EMFAF-2023-PIA-FLAGSHIP)" part of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) Programme
The main objective is to support the blue economy in the EU’s Outermost Regions through projects that promote innovative and sustainable solution in coastal and maritime tourism and contribute to protect marine biodiversity, in line with the Commission communication “Putting people first, securing sustainable and inclusive growth, unlocking the potential of the EU Outermost Regions” adopted on 3 May 2022, as well as with the objectives of the Communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU Transition Pathway for Tourism (Commission report published on 4 February 2022).
In line with the above priorities, this call topic aims at preserving the marine and coastal environment and marine cultural heritage, and strengthening the attractiveness of coastal areas as a unique asset for competitiveness in the EU outermost regions, by:
- Supporting tourism stakeholders to tap into the growing ecotourism market, while preserving the marine and coastal environment and their rich biodiversity and ecosystems and strengthening the sector's resilience to climate change;
- Boosting innovation and digitalisation in the tourism sector, thus increasing its contribution to economic growth and jobs in their territories and in line with Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) as far as relevant;
- Improving the business environment for tourism SMEs, mobilising private-public investments, enhancing socio-economic and market intelligence and territorial marketing based on the unique assets of the region, diversifying and increasing the visibility of the tourism offer and products.
This topic aims at supporting projects that will develop a multidimensional and integrated approach to the tourism offer in the Outermost Regions. Proposals must address at least one of the following themes:
- Design of smart eco-tourism packages and promotion of biodiversity assets;
- Innovation in destination management.
Activities that can be funded:
Selected projects should carry out to the maximum extent possible the indicative (not exhaustive) activities listed below:
- Design and testing of new tourism products, providing visitors with a high-quality experience, including new tools and/or EU or other internationally recognized tools, methods, and indicators/standards for sustainable tourism practices, and monitor and assess carbon and environmental footprint;.
- Stimulating new business opportunities which directly or indirectly support ecotourism product experiences in and around protected areas;
- Strengthening destinations through the collaboration of local clusters and communities;
- Promoting less known areas and prolonging the tourism season;
- Integrating different product components (e.g. accommodation, meals, activities, transport) and suppliers (tour operators, lodging, restaurants, canteens, etc.);
- Strategic management of the destination with a long-term orientation and ways of better addressing environmental and social sustainability;
- Marketing activities, including promoting cultural heritage and natural assets;
- Accelerating the digital transformation processes including tourism data management and digital skills;
- Promoting synergies between tourism and other productive activities, notably through multi-stakeholder partnerships/hubs/networks/clusters, involving governmental and other public bodies, trade associations, local government, businesses, citizen representatives, local communities, cultural associations, promotion agencies;
- Data collection and monitoring of economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism to local destinations in a harmonized manner which can be aggregated to support regional or national statistics of tourism destinations and businesses, including by engaging tourism observatories;
- Awareness raising and capacity building activities for stakeholders in the coastal and maritime tourism sectors to support uptake of new models and approaches;
- Development of policy recommendations for the chosen theme(s), based on lessons learned during project implementation and recommendations of mechanisms to ensure future sustainability of activities beyond the project duration;
- Contributing to the establishment of or participation in National or Regional Skills partnerships in the partner Member States.
Applicants will describe in their proposal the concrete and measurable results within the duration of the project and their expected impact, including indicators for the monitoring and measurement of progress.
Projects are expected to achieve the following impacts to the maximum extent possible in line with the proposed activities:
- New product/services integrated in the local/regional/sea basin tourism offer;
- Set up of new tourism routes including eco-tourism;
- Durable partnerships/networks focusing on the chosen theme(s);
- New and applicable policy pathways and recommendations or action plans to support public authorities (national and regional) and services;
- New start-ups, investments and jobs created;
- New eco-tourism packages promoting cross border and interregional cooperation, with replication potential across the Outermost Regions;
- Increased digitalisation and circular economy approaches in the maritime and coastal tourism sector;
- Increased awareness of the targeted Outermost Regions as a sustainable, high quality and safe destination;
- Diversification of, and less seasonally dependent, maritime and coastal tourism products offered in the targeted Outermost Regions;
- Upskilling and reskilling of employees in the tourism sector (both employed and unemployed).
The above list of expected impacts is non-exhaustive and applicants may add others if deemed relevant to achieve the objectives of this topic.
The Communication on a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU stresses the Commission’s commitment to continue supporting the Outermost Regions in developing sustainable blue economy strategies.
Tourism transition pathway cocreation (europa.eu)
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs);
- non-EU countries that are part of the sea basin strategies and/or regional cooperation frameworks targeted in this call for proposals:
- For Topic 2: Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey;
- For Topic 3 and Topic 4: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin. Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).
Exceptional funding — Entities from countries mentioned in the work programme (if any) are only exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.
Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of selfemployed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)34 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0535).
Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any). For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.
Projects should normally range between 12 and 36 months (extensions are possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).
The available call budget is EUR 7 600 000. This budget might be increased by maximum 20%. Project budgets (maximum grant amount) are expected to range between EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project, but this does not preclude the submission/selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Hence, project budgets (maximum grant amount) per topic are expected to range between:
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 1: Diversification of fisheries activities in the Atlantic area
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 600 000 per project - Topic 2: Harnessing preparedness and response to marine pollution in the Black Sea
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 3: Sustainable transport and ports in the Mediterranean
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 4: Maritime clusters as an innovative enabler for a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 5: Sustainable maritime and coastal tourism in the Outermost Regions
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 600 000 per project - Topic 6: Regenerative ocean farming in the Baltic Sea Region
For more Information, please consult the funding details on the European Commission portal: Portal