The COVID-19 outbreak has severely affected the European tourism sector and ecosystem, with massive impacts on the EU economy as a leading tourist destination. This is particularly relevant for SMEs, which account for over 99% of all enterprises in the EU. The twin green and digital transition offer a new opportunity for the European tourism industry to incorporate sustainability & innovative practices towards a more resilient scenario. Tourism SMEs are accountable for and must account for the changes taking place seriously in their journey towards sustainable businesses. However, not all SMEs are prepared for the twin green transition, and this may create a “lagging effect” that can strongly affect their competitiveness and severely affect their short- and medium-term viability. SUSRUR aims to support SMEs from 5 rural & remote areas of Europe by promoting sustainability and innovative practices & strategies while providing tools and skills to strengthen their competitiveness in a post-COVID-19 scenario, increasing their awareness and capacity to accelerate and implement the twin green & digital transitions.

Environmental, economic and social aspects will be taken into account by developing suitable pathways and scenarios for sustainable recovery. Through 2 Open Calls, rural SMEs from eligible regions will be able to build their capacities, develop new skills and implement innovative solutions. A monitoring framework and accelerator programme for sustainability will be specifically adopted for this project, taking into consideration the specific requirements & scenarios of SMEs within rural & remote areas. In addition, suitable stakeholder and clustering tools & actions will be promoted for the interregional exchange of knowledge, replication of best practices and peer learning.