Sustainable Growth in Tourism

Sustainable Tools & Activities for Rural Tourism and Ecotourism SME’s Growth


What is StarGrowth?

The European Union has been aiming for sustainable development for nearly 20 years, and the European Green Deal is the roadmap to make the EU’s economy sustainable. The SME Strategy for a Sustainable and Digital Europe also recognizes that capacity building and support to SMEs is key to transition to sustainability and digitalization. Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors, contributing to 11% of the EU’s GDP and 11.2% of total EU employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an acute and pervasive effect on the tourism sector. Rural destinations and ecotourism have emerged as the most attractive options in the wake of the pandemic, bringing many potential benefits such as seasonality mitigation, promotion of local economies, protection of natural capital, and enhancement of environmental awareness. Therefore, the Star Growth project will focus on supporting the transition to sustainability and digitalisation of rural tourism and ecotourism SMEs in 6 countries, providing customized support services and training for the sustainable and slow development of these sectors.


Accademia IRSEI - Istituto di Ricerca per lo Sviluppo Economia e Innovazione


Tehnoloski Park Ljubljana Doo


National Tourism Cluster “Bulgarian Guide”


EU-ROM Training and Consultancy Srl


European Profiles S.A


Applied Industrial Technologies (APINTECH)

Project Partners

Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors, contributing to 11% of the EU's GDP and 11.2% of total EU employment.

0 %
0 %
EU's total employment


What are our objectives?

The projects’ overall objective is to enhance the sustainable growth of SMEs operating in the rural tourism and ecotourism sectors in Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania and Italy by providing technical and financial support, whilst boosting their awareness, development and capacity in the area of sustainable innovations.

Supporting 90 SMEs

Supporting 90 rural tourism and ecotourism SMEs in Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania and Italy in developing their skills and capacities in sustainable tourism, whilst creating sustainability strategies in line with the needs and priorities of their territory

Technical Assistance

Providing capacity building and technical assistance to the selected SMEs, by applying European sustainability frameworks and tools (such as Environmental footprint methods, EMAS, EU Ecolabel, ISO 14001:2015, CSR, HCMI etc.)

Innovations & Solutions

Fostering innovative practices and solutions, which can provide business destinations with heightened resilience to shocks, enhanced social, economic and environmental awareness and responsibility

Effective Mechanisms

Building effective mechanisms for best practice exchange and dissemination of transferable tools and knowledge between the SMEs, also at a European level

2nd Call for Proposals is now closed!

Take action

Call for proposals

Call for proposals

Are you a SME operating in the field of sustainable and ecotourism? Read more about our requirements.

Submit a proposal

Apply in with our easy step-by-step procedure. Submit your applications here.

Have doubts?

Not sure if you're the right fit? Visit our Resources section and check out our FAQ.

Learn more