Lead partner Consulta Europa published a report reflecting on the different activities that partners carried out to support the beneficiary SMEs on their journey towards sustainability.
The TouriSME project aimed to promote transnational cooperation among tourism SMEs in Italy, France, and Spain, as well as in Cyprus. To do so, the programme involved training sessions, international matchmaking b2b events, and support in accessing environmental certifications. The training helped SMEs develop a broader vision on sustainable tourism issues and develop a working plan for sustainable growth. Participants received theoretical background, practical mentoring, and peer learning through study visits, best practices sharing, case studies, and b2b interactions.
The different matchmaking events allowed participants to meet other companies and share ideas, concerns, and future plans. Most SMEs in TouriSME were not experts in sustainable tourism issues and faced similar challenges, especially in terms of budget constraints. The matchmaking experience was enriching, as it allowed SMEs to broaden their views and contacts. Participants learned about the experiences of other SMEs in sustainable development, reducing their business impact on local communities and the environment.
The certification scheme, part of the capacity building program, aimed to increase knowledge and roadmap for SMEs accessing environmental certifications. Beneficiaries appreciated the financial contribution for certification access, which is typically expensive and time-consuming. The scheme provided support from experts, consultants, and certification providers to establish a strategy for environmental certification access. The training on environmental certifications helped SMEs understand the importance of working within an official national or international certification framework for sustainable growth. The project helped SMEs set up their sustainability roadmap through collaboration with partners, companies, and experts from different countries. Knowledge sharing and peer learning were powerful tools for increasing awareness and supporting new practices.
The combination of training, matchmaking, and certification schemes has resulted in meaningful experiences for TouriSME SMEs, and the approach will be sustained in the long term. Consulta Europa, supported by partners, will manage sustainable tourism updates and maintain connections. A joint database with contacts and profiles of involved SMEs will be drafted and shared among beneficiaries.