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2022 is a key year for activities accelerating the transition to sustainable tourism. This year, different EU funding schemes for regional development and economic recovery after the pandemic start to become available. This includes EU funding for: 1/ making the sector resilient and fit for the future in response to the COVID-19 pandemic via the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), and 2/ programmes for regional development via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). However, the access to funding might be complex and is linked to certain conditions. This handbook presents the key aspects to consider making best use of the available funding now and in the next years. It addresses both public authorities involved in the programming and implementation of RRF and ERDF programmes as well as stakeholders that are part of the tourism ecosystem and want to invest in sustainable tourism.

This Handbook informs public authorities and tourism stakeholders in the Mediterranean about funding opportunities for projects contributing to sustainable tourism using two of the most important EU funding instruments, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). They offer important funding opportunities for tourism at local and regional level. The guidance aims to inspire and advise readers to best prepare for absorbing these funds at regional and local levels.

For whom is this handbook?

This handbook addresses public authorities involved in the programming and implementation of RRF and ERDF programmes as well as stakeholders that are part of the tourism ecosystem and want to invest in sustainable tourism. To achieve the recovery and regeneration of tourism and contribute to a sustainable model of tourism, all players need to collaborate, in particular local and regional authorities, regional and local tourism associations, and agencies for local and regional development and innovation. This handbook offers a common ground of basic information that should facilitate local and regional debates.

The handbook is one of the capitalisation outputs of the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community. The community is an INTERREG MED horizontal project. It is studying, testing, and capitalising innovative instruments and actions towards the enhancement of tourism sustainability in the Mediterranean area through 30 modular projects gathering 200+ organisations. All projects belong to the MED programme’s priority axis 3 “Natural & Cultural resources – Protecting and promoting Mediterranean natural and cultural resources”.


NECSTouR, the network of European Regions for sustainable and competitive tourism, together with the think tank Spatial Foresight, have developed this handbook. NECSTouR leads the capitalisation activities of the INTERREG MED Sustainable Tourism Community. NECSTouR is engaging its members - regional tourism authorities – to finance the recovery of the tourism sector towards the so called “tourism of tomorrow” meaning greener, digital, and more resilient. This is at the core of the network’s programme, which entitles mainstreaming the EU financial instruments available to support the tourism “twin transition: greening and digital”.


We would like to thank the representatives of tourism organisations and public authorities working with tourism and ERDF/RRF in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, and Cyprus who kindly agreed to interviews to gather more information about needs and opportunities for tourism funded by EU funds for the elaboration of this handbook.


The Yellow Section offers you some basic information on EU funding available via the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The Green Section offers insights into the opportunities for sustainable tourism via national EU funding and hints for access to funding and successful implementation of projects.
The Blue Section provides a further outlook to continue making use of available EU funds with concrete support from the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community.

Enjoy reading!

Download the handbook