Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Europe
Resource Nodes for Knowledge Exchange, Collaboration and Entrepreneurship Training - RN-KCET - aims to enhance a common understanding and commitment for sustainable tourism by SMEs that fosters a profitable tourism industry while minimizing negative social, cultural and environmental impacts. The Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP) that constitutes the project’s keystone – a community of practice - maps relevant opportunities for tourism sector SMEs to become more sustainable. The project presents a framework for analysing the current capacity in our regions to present a comprehensive picture of the state of sustainable tourism and its trends in order to produce credible data that is key for effective evidence-based management in the industry. This helps localized tourism-related SMEs surmount challenges and capitalize on opportunities for actions that drive economic growth and social development by promoting entrepreneurship that improves tourism management and creates jobs while leading SMEs toward sustainability.
RN-KCET is positioned to support the creation of an ecosystem developed for the project’s target group with capacity building centered in the virtual Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP) as that needed information base and related activity orchestrated by resource nodes that are assumed within each partner’s operations in areas that are in most need of supporting growth phases and technological change for tourism-related SMEs:
* SMEs can gain 24/7 access to the resources supported by the Knowledge Exchange Platform, to avail themselves of information and resources that include entrepreneurship education and training and best practice that will help them grow with solution-driven services that help them transform innovative ideas into commercial successes. These resource nodes become hubs networked through the KEP as efficient user-centric environments to support tourism-SMEs needs to access information and resources that will help them grow and achieve sustainability. Resource nodes facilitate training that will lead SME operators toward acquiring skills and competences in management and services, and inform policymakers and other stakeholders at local and European levels.
* Via a community of practice for training, collaboration and mobility, networking and mentoring, and a web of knowledge, the KEP serves as the axis of communication for free-flowing interchanges of information. Thus, the ecosystem brings together a host of elements SMEs need to become sustainable:
⮚ Training is centered around a model for building and upgrading competences and skills based on EntreComp, the European Commission’s framework for entrepreneurship, coupled with inquiry-based learning for critical thinking and exercises for acquiring a growth mindset needed for successful entrepreneurship. By engaging in entrepreneurship, SMEs can experiment with carrying out a diversification of products and services that will not only lead toward achieving sustainability but also allows SMEs to surmount challenges and engage in actions that drive economic growth, social development and job creation in their local communities;
⮚ Linkages are created with local stakeholders like entrepreneurship ecosystems and idea centers, public agencies, the investment community and others that create pathways within enabling environments needed for SMEs to access resources such as financing, business acumen and risk management, brand development, marketing and product positioning expertise, as well as technology, complementary entrepreneurship education and training especially for acquiring competences, soft skills and a growth mindset, job fairs, opportunities to collaborate with each other and open new markets, among others.
⮚ SMEs are introduced to the United Nations Global Goals and connected with the global community to spark interest in creating and co-creating products and services that accelerate and/or achieve the Global Goals via a diversification of operations that focus on the SDGs, as every societal issue presents opportunities for new business ventures.
⮚ Resource nodes will define the status of sustainable tourism in their areas with data produced by the resource nodes. By identifying gaps and through the training component of the project, SME operators acquire skills and competences to experiment with carrying out a diversification of products and services that will lead toward achieving sustainability. An open call requests proposals that are analysed against criteria for challenges defined for the sector, open innovation and the SDGs; target groups gain 24/7 access to the resources supported by the KEP to avail themselves of information and resources that help them transform innovative ideas into commercial successes. By sponsoring workshops to teach beneficiaries how to utilize the KEP resources as well as organize peer-to-peer meetings and other events, resource nodes become capacity builders for tourism-related SMEs, bolstering their support by forming liaisons with other stakeholders conducive towards supporting SMEs to complete their journey toward becoming sustainable.
⮚ Meanwhile, the resource nodes reach out to local stakeholders, including policymakers, job market actors, formal and non-formal learning environments and others to disseminate RN-KCET outcomes on local, provincial, national and pan-European levels, and at international levels in the context of addressing the Global Goals. These can include creating policy briefs that demonstrate the myriad benefits sustainable tourism brings to a region including measuring tourism and its contribution to the economy and to trade, investment and the business environments, reference targets for tourism developers at the regional and country levels, good practice for more sustainable ways to manage tourism business, etc.
RN-KCET was submitted to COSME COS-TOURCOOP-2019-3-01: Boosting sustainable tourism development and capacity of tourism SMEs through transnational cooperation and knowledge transfer. RN-KCET is sponsored by a consortium of cross-sectoral stakeholders, led by the Municipality of Corinthion and including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Corinth), Global Skills Network (Barcelona), Smart & Lean Hub (Lahti), Czech Center of Science & Society (Záryby), Regional Cluster "North-East" (Varna), Escola de Comercio (Lisbon), Institute IPR (Northern Portugal), Harghita Community Development Association (Miercurea Ciuc) and the Turkish Ministry of Education (Ankara). The RN-KCET consortium activities administrator is EntreComp Entrepreneurship Education & Training. Inquiries on the project can be directed to our email at info@EntreCompEd.eu.