StarGrowth Report: Unlocking Sustainable and Digital Growth for Tourism SMEs

StarGrowth Comparative Report

A new report, the StarGrowth Comparative Report of Tourism SMEs’ Needs, has been released, analyzing the needs of tourism small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in six partner countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, Romania, and Slovenia. The document summarises the findings from national studies conducted in each partner country to identify the specific needs of tourism SMEs as they transition towards sustainable and digital growth.

The information in the StarGrowth Comparative Report is based on surveys distributed to SMEs across the six partner countries in April-May 2024. With a high response rate of 88% (80 out of 91 targeted SMEs), the report is considered to accurately reflect the needs and perspectives of participating SMEs.

Key Findings

  • Greece: High participation (75%) indicates commitment to sustainability, but there’s a lack of familiarity with advanced digital tools and limited digital skills among staff. Training and information dissemination regarding financial instruments and cooperation opportunities are crucial.
  • Bulgaria: All surveyed SMEs (100% participation rate) demonstrate motivation for sustainable tourism, but face challenges in resource and waste management. Limited digital presence and understanding of innovative technologies require improved education, training, and information on support programs.
  • Cyprus: Sustainability and digitalization are understood and practiced, but there’s room for improvement, particularly in adopting circular economy concepts and fostering multi-stakeholder engagement. Robust recycling schemes, personalized monitoring technologies, and certification approaches are recommended.
  • Italy: While actively engaged in sustainable practices, Italian SMEs face challenges due to high initial costs, technical knowledge gaps, and complex regulations. Increased governmental and European support is needed. Digitalization adoption varies; continuous investment in technology and training is necessary.
  • Romania: All SMEs surveyed acknowledge the need for eco-friendly and digitalized operations, emphasizing consumer satisfaction and environmental impact reduction.
  • Slovenia: High participation rate (80%) reflects interest in sustainability and digitalization, but training and knowledge gaps persist, particularly in rural areas. Advanced digital tools, specialized training, improved information on cooperation opportunities and support programs, and enhanced digital literacy are essential.

The StarGrowth Comparative Report highlights the need for targeted support and interventions to address the specific needs of tourism SMEs in each country. By understanding these needs, the project can foster a successful green and digital transition, which is crucial for the competitiveness and resilience of tourism SMEs, particularly in rural areas.

Overall, the StarGrowth Comparative Report provides valuable insights for policymakers, tourism organizations, and other stakeholders working to support the sustainable and digital transformation of tourism SMEs across Europe.

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