Filter Search for grants
Call key data
Systemic circular solutions for a sustainable tourism
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 3: Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Sectors
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals are expected to implement and demonstrate circular systemic solutions at the level of cities and regions, and include several sectors providing services for visitors and residents such as hospitality, transportation, culture, attractions, nature-based activities.
Tourism can consume large quantities of energy, water, and plastics, which degrade the environmental quality of destinations and ecosystems, affecting the lives of residents. Circular tourism should consider waste and water management, batteries and vehicles, electronics and ICT, packaging, plastics, construction and buildings, GHG emissions of local and long-distance mobility, accommodation and food services.
Proposals should address at least one of these above mentioned sectors.
The complexity of tourism ecosystem lies in the fact that industry is deeply interlinked with and dependent on multiple key resource and commodity chains. Travel and tourism actors can both act as enablers of circularity in a wider economic context, and at the same time benefit from circularity models in other industrial ecosystems. Proposals should develop and demonstrate new and circular business models and technological solutions to change the way tourism operates, enabling businesses and destinations to be sustainable. This includes developing systemic approaches that steer the behaviour of consumers, whether residents or citizens, towards circularity and makes them participate in circular practices.
The implemented circular systemic solutions should address economic, social and environmental dimensions of the transition towards circular tourism and include science, technology, behavioural and governance components. Proposals are expected to involve the relevant actors, which include public administrations, destination management organisations, private sector services and industries, citizens (residents and visitors), non-governmental organisations and new types of actors rising from collaborative economy platforms.
The development of systemic solutions needs to consider the costs of transition from the existing models into the new ones, analysing trade-offs and challenges related to their implementation and demonstration. As the tourism ecosystem is mostly composed of small actors, micro and SMEs, systemic solutions at the level of cities and regions should develop and test innovative and collaborative ways to create common objectives, targets and processes. The implementation of technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT and blockchain could also be considered in a context-sensitive manner. Proposals should however also investigate simple, low-cost and low-tech solutions. Projects should analyse the encountered obstacles and drivers and provide clear and precise policy recommendations for local authorities on how to improve circular tourism. Each circular systemic solution should address social, economic and environmental externalities and contribute to the well-being of the local communities while improving the circularity behaviour of the visitors.
The circular systemic solutions implemented and their business models should demonstrate a high replicability and scalability potential in order to contribute to the overall transition of tourism towards more sustainable and resilient practices. During their implementation and by the end of their lifecycle, the selected proposals are expected to prepare and share clear and comprehensive guidelines on the circular systemic solutions adopted, including their strengths and weaknesses experienced, mainly for the use of economic operators in the sector.
With regard to the territorial aspects of all proposed solutions, proposals should seek to contribute to the goals and cooperate with the services of the European Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). Joint activities with CCRI projects are encouraged.
A successful proposal will contribute to the following Destination impacts: i) accelerate regional, rural, local/urban and consumer-based transitions, ii) enhance European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence, and iii) improve on consumer and citizen benefits.
Project results are expected to contribute to all the following outcomes:
- Diffusion of circular tourism services, where the use of harmful substances and the generation of waste is minimised and the use of energy, land and water is efficient;
- Deployment of replicable systemic solutions for cities and regions, where circularity is ingrained in the service design, whether for the use of residents or visitors, taking into account the specific needs of the territory (urban, rural, peripheral);
- Increased circular, zero-pollution and climate-neutral practices among providers and users of tourism services and active participation of users in circular systemic solutions;
- Deployment of innovative solutions and new, affordable technologies (including digital technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT and blockchain) that support transformation towards circularity for all actors on different systemic levels;
- Creation of jobs that facilitate circularity for different sectors, serving those who are living in or visiting cities and regions;
- Uptake, replication and visibility of circular systemic solutions for sustainable tourism that contributes economically, socially and environmentally to the achievement of the targets of the European Green Deal, circular economy action plan, bioeconomy strategy, industrial strategy and EU agenda for tourism, at local, regional, national and European levels.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- 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 to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.