NewsTourism and Green Economy: The European project “FU-TOURISM” in Valencia, European Green Capital for 2024

Tourism and Green Economy: The European project “FU-TOURISM” in Valencia, European Green Capital for 2024

 

– The project seeks to generate a solid ecosystem that provide a lasting impact on the tourism sector, promoting its resilience to future challenges, and aligning with the objectives of the EU’s European Green Pact. 

– Funded with 4 million euros by the COSME program and with a duration of 36 months, its main objective is to support the transition of European small and medium-sized tourism enterprises towards a green and inclusive economy in tourism sustainability. 

On International Tourism Day, 27th September 2023, the Valencia Exhibition Palace was the venue for the presentation of the European project “FU-TOURISM” – Future-Ready Business Support Ecosystem for Tourism SME Transition to Green and Digital Resilience”, which seeks to develop a support ecosystem for tourism SMEs, promoting greater cooperation in innovation between these companies, incubators and accelerators. 

The presentation was part of The Tourism Innovation Day organized by Finnova, a day that brought together three events to promote the attraction of talent in the tourism sector, position Valencia as a laboratory of best practices in tourism in the framework of its distinction as European Green Capital 2024 and share funding opportunities for this industry through European funds. 

Valencia, towards sustainable tourism with the FU-TOURISM Project

The “Fu-Tourism” project presented the European COSME program, which emerges as a transcendental opportunity for the city of Valencia and its thriving tourism industry. 

After a networking coffee, the event started with a first block in which Juanma Revuelta, CEO of Finnova, presented the “COSME Fu-Tourism Project”, where he explained the main objectives of the project, among them, the acceleration program that will identify and support 102 tourism SMEs from six participating European countries: Spain, Greece, Croatia, Belgium, Austria and Poland through support services for sustainability, inclusive business models and direct financial assistance. 

Revuelta assured that “with the European Agenda for Tourism 2030, the competitiveness of the tourism sector must be consolidated, understood as an engine of sustainable growth, employment and social cohesion in the EU for the next decade as it must also be, above all, sustainable, resilient, digital, global and social.” “At a crucial time when sustainability is imperative, this project offers strong support to local small and medium-sized tourism businesses to transition to a greener and more resilient approach.”, he concluded. 

Paula Mª Llobet Vilarrasa, Deputy Mayor Valencia, offered the European Green Capital in 2024 as a municipal laboratory of good environmental and sustainability practices. 

Likewise, Juan José Cortés Vélez, General Director of Innovation of the Regional Ministry of Innovation, Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Valencian Region; highlighted that European projects are an essential ally in the materialization of a vision of responsible tourism, thus boosting economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the positioning of Valencia as a leading destination in the European context. “Tourism has five challenges to face right now: the new consumer, sustainability, digital transformation, the use of data and governance,” Cortés concluded.

With the distinction of Valencia as European Green Capital 2024, FU-TOURISM stands as an essential ally in the materialization of a vision of responsible tourism, thus boosting economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the positioning of Valencia as a leading destination in the European context. 

This was confirmed by the different actors participating in the Table of Synergies and Projects. 

The next speaker was Juan Cabrera, CEO of Alstenda, who focused his presentation on sustainability and the effect of digitalization on tourism. Cabrera remarked on the relevance that digitalization must have when transforming the tourism industry towards a sustainable industry, as digitalization was a catalyst for other previous changes in the tourism industry in the 90s. In addition, Cabrera insisted that fighting tourismphobia is another of the industry’s current challenges. “It is important that the benefit generated by tourism stays in the tourist sites, in the businesses in those areas, since tourism phobia appears when the enclaves only suffer a negative impact from this activity,” Cabrera concluded.

Francisco Contreras, director of the Parador de El Saler, also insisted on the need for a paradigm shift, leading to a transformation of tourismphobia into tourismphilia. “We must take advantage of the synergies that can arise from tourism and think that tourism is not only a source of economic value, but tourism also allows us to create intercultural ties,” concluded Contreras.

On the other hand, Contreras explained another of the structural changes that are taking place in the industry, which is moving away from agglomeration tourism to focus on more sustainable tourism, “a sustainability that is here to stay, as this is what the client is looking for”.

Alberto Galloso, head of the HOSBEC Valencia delegation, also insisted on the importance of sustainability and its connection with technology for a faster transformation. Galloso indicated the steps to be followed when working from a sustainable perspective: identifying aspects of sustainable tourism, providing healthy working environments, providing management tools, generating agreements and collaborations and communicating.

The second block was closed by Juanma Romero, director and presenter of TVE’s “Emprende”, who stressed the importance of communication methodologies for entrepreneurship as an added value for European projects.

In short, this event has laid the foundations for the creation of a Laboratory of Best Practices through projects such as FU-TOURISM as essential allies in the materialization of a vision of responsible tourism.

This laboratory aims to promote economic growth, environmental preservation and the positioning of Valencia as a leading destination in the European context, laying the foundations for a resilient and prosperous tourism industry in the future.

FU-TOURISM

Funded with 4 million euros by the COSME program and a duration of 36 months (3 years), the FU-TOURISM project involves partners from seven European countries, to develop a support ecosystem for tourism SMEs, promoting greater cooperation in innovation between these companies and incubators and accelerators in the sector.

This project takes on special relevance in the EU scenario, where the tourism sector, according to the latest European Parliament Factsheet, encompasses 2.3 million companies, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and employs approximately 12.3 million people.