The end of 2021 saw the beginning of the capacity building and training activities for selected Spanish SMEs with an info session aiming at introducing them to each other and starting potential collaborations.
The Canarias Institute of Technology (ITC) organised an online info session on 23 December 2021 bringing together the SMEs who were previously selected to benefit from the TOURISME project’s activities and financial support, a session which preceded the workshop on 20-21 January 2022 in Madrid.
The info session was focusing on a general introduction to the project and the reasons why it was them who were selected, as well as what the capacity building and training phase would look like. The overall objective as reported by the organiser was “to get to know the participants, to make them understand the objectives of the project, to encourage companies to collaborate with each other, and for our part to know their needs and expectations about TOURISME in order to develop the contents that may interest them the most and that will help them achieve TOURISME’s objectives in a successful way”.
On the other hand, the training event itself, on 20 and 21 January in Madrid was organised in a way to allow the participating SMEs to take advantage of the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR, which indeed attracted a lot of attention from the beneficiary SMEs side. 12 participants attended the event, with 3 more online. The experts providing the training sessions included Lucía Dobarro Delgado, the head of section at ITC innovation department. Teresa Rodríguez, member of the Innovation Relay Center and member of the Enterprise Europe Network and Pilar Guerra, a member of the technical staff of the ITC innovation department, involved in support, advice and assessment services in internationalization and transnational technology transfer services to SMEs and R&D centers in the Canary Island.
The training revolved around the introduction of the project and its phases, especially those which involve SMEs, such as the face-to-face and online training for capacity building, matchmaking events (B2B) and environmental certifications. The training also reflected on communication tools for the training phase – the Moodle platform. This platform will be used to upload all the contents related to sustainability in the tourism sector, as well as to inform about all the events and as a means of communication between all the participants.
The participants have evaluated the event positively, it has been a meeting point to get to know each other and share experiences. All have shown great interest and motivation to turn their businesses around and invest in resources and human resources to develop a more sustainable activity. From this first event has emerged the need to know all kinds of grants and subsidies and a webinar has been proposed to address this issue.
According to the organisers, the first event gave the SMEs the opportunity to get to know each other personally, as most of the companies were able to attend. This allowed the participants to share their experiences in sustainability and to raise the needs that the sector has right now in order to meet the challenges proposed by the project. The possibility of organizing a webinar on European Funds for sustainability was raised, since the capacity to invest in improvements to achieve sustainability is undoubtedly very limited, especially after the health crisis. The participants were asked to identify the issues in which they were most interested within the sustainability theme and what kind of experts could help them to solve these problems.