EU RURAL TOURISM 2nd open call for rural tourism SMEs

DEADLINE: 16 January 2024

The Second Call for SMEs of the EU RURAL TOURISM project is published on the 16th of November 2023, with deadline on the 16th of January 2024. Through this second call for proposals, the EU RURAL TOURISM project will support up to 61 rural tourism SMEs, by improving their digital, green and social maturity, skills, and capacities. The participants will be working closely with experts to bridge their digital, eco-sustainability and soft/social skills gaps.

The participants that are selected for Financial Support to Third Parties (FSTP) are entitled to receive a service pack valued at EURO 5,000 that enables them to design and develop a new Tourism product for international markets by integrating digital, sustainable and socio-cultural improvements into their business.
The service pack to SMEs consists of:
Phase 1
1.Initial and final capacity building event for all supported SMEs in a region
2.Self-assessment of the current situation in order to address needs for improvement
3.On-site audit, revision of the product idea and improvement plan
Phase 2
1.Mentoring, technical advice and support during the implementation process.
2.Budget for additional external services that may be needed for implementation
3.Final evaluation and follow up visit by advisor
4.Final meeting and discussion of results of the support action amongst all assisted SMEs

A list of 12 specific actions and support areas with the highest needs of improvement from the fields of digital, green and soft/social competences was defined by the consortium and can be found in the Call Guidelines (…). Each SME will be guided during project implementation to choose and improve at least 4 out of the 12 action areas, that preferably address at least 1 from each field (digital, green and sustainable, and soft/social).

SMEs that respond to the following profile are eligible to apply:
1.Micro businesses run by individuals or by a family, with a history of operation covering at least 1 year at the moment of submission deadline (i.e. already open and operative at the 16th of January 2023) and with maximum 10 employees.
2.Located in the countryside, or in villages or towns in rural areas.
3.Accommodation providers (agritourism, farm tourism, small hotel, guest house, holiday cottage, etc). Priority will be given to providers offering extra services such as food service (breakfast, half/full board), nature or farm activities, classes (culinary, crafts), guided tours, etc.
This Call is open to SMEs that comply with the following NACE classifications:
1.Accommodation (I55)
2.Travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities (N79)
3.Other NACE codes or in general other activities (where NACE code does not exist) referred to the rural tourism sector
Participation is limited to the SMEs established in the following EU member states or specific regions within a Country, as well as in the following third countries participating in the COSME programme or their regions, under the condition that at least one external Assistance Service Provider (ASP) per category of service (digital, green and sustainable management, soft/social skills) has responded to the ASP Call and has been approved by the Consortium. The maximum number of SMEs that can be selected per country to receive FSTP is expressed in brackets after each Country:
1.Belgium - limited to Wallonia region (max 4 SMEs)
2.Bosnia-Herzegovina (max 7 SMEs)
3.Estonia (max 9 SMEs)
4.Georgia (max 10 SMEs)
5.Greece (max 14 SMEs)
6.Ireland (max 5 SMEs)
7.Italy (max 7 SMEs)
8.The Netherlands (max 10 SMEs)
9.North Macedonia (max 3 SMEs)
10. Romania - limited to the Harghita region (max 6 SMEs)
11. Slovenia (max 7 SMEs)
12. Spain - limited to Aragón, Cataluña, La Rioja, Navarra regions (max 9 SMEs)
The application form is available on the following website:… and must be submitted only through this webpage by 16 January 2024 at 17:00 CET.
Proposals must be submitted online in ENGLISH only. All legal documents (registration, ID) and any other relevant supporting materials can be uploaded in the national language of the proposer.
Only one application per applicant can be submitted. Different applications or multiple submissions of the same application by the same applicant will be rejected, and only the most recent application will be considered as valid.

The following documents should be attached to the application:
-registration of the business with the responsible local, regional or national authorities (tourism authorities, chambers of commerce or similar);
-personal data of the legal representative (copy of ID or passport), this person must be coincident with the name that appears in the registration of the business with the abovementioned authorities;
-CV with list of projects and experiences from core staff;
-duly signed declaration form (ANNEX II of the Call for SME).
In case an applicant has applied in the First Call for SMEs and already submitted the required documents, that applicant can declare in the online application form that documents were already submitted and they will be retained for the evaluation, unless the applicant prefers to re-upload the updated documents.

The evaluation process will check the administrative eligibility then attribute scores to each received proposal. SMEs will be awarded based on their ranking order up to the availability of fund, meaning that funding will be awarded on the basis of a shortlist starting from the highest score down, per Country, within the limits of the available call budget.
The evaluation process of the applications to the present Call for Participation will take approximately 3 weeks after the Call is closed.
All the evaluation steps and procedures are explained in detail in the Call Guidelines (…).

The result of evaluation can be:
-Eligible and selected for funding (up to 61 SMEs totally)
-Eligible but not selected for funding (reserve list)
-Not eligible

The ECRT will publish the results of the Call for SMEs on the official website of the European Cluster for Rural Tourism (ECRT) at, on the European Cluster Collaboration Platform ( and promote them as well on ECRT's social media channels. Additionally, each consortium partner will share the list of awarded SMEs on their respective websites and social media channels.

For more detailed information on the present call, please check the Call Guidelines and annexes at:….
Questions may be sent by e-mail no later than 7 days before the deadline for the submission of applications to the following e-mail address [email protected], indicating clearly the reference of the Call and the question. The EuroCluster Rural Tourism Project Consortium partners have no obligation to provide clarifications to questions received after this date. Replies will be given no later than 5 days before the deadline for the submission of applications.

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