Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors. In 2012 the number of international tourist arrivals surpassed 1 billion, and is forecast to reach 1.8 billion in 2030 according to the UNWTO. Within this continuing growth of tourism there is a growing trend & a raising consumer awareness for sustainable and responsible tourism. Responsible tourism is tourism that minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts, brings economic benefits to host communities and preserves the cultural and natural resources of the destinations.

This project is necessary because it addresses several needs and it helps obtaining the objectives that have been set out in several European and National policy documents.

Need for innovative strategies due to economic crisis
The impact of the economic crisis is ongoing. There is a need for innovative strategies due to the economic crisis. However, small and medium-sized enterprises face the challenges of skill development and innovation without necessarily having adequate resources or the strategic vision to cope with fierce market competition. With responsible tourism small businesses in the sector increase their competitiveness due to cost savings, Corporate Social Responsibility and targeting a niche-market, namely a sustainability-conscious market.

Connection to several EU objectives, initiatives and priorities
The project correlates with the one of the main priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy ‘Sustainable Growth’ which aims for a ‘Resource efficient Europe’ and ‘Industrial policy for the globalisation era’ to improve the business environment, especially for SMEs and to support the development of a strong and sustainable industrial base able to compete globally. It also perfectly matches one of the main principles of the Small Business Act for Europe (Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan): ‘the EU and Member States should enable SMEs to turn environmental challenges into opportunities.’

National, regional and institutional needs in partner countries
A full report on the national, regional and institutional needs analysis conducted in preparation of this project proposal by all partners is included in Annex C.
This project aims to raise awareness on the topic of responsible tourism and recognize the inherent business opportunities. Using this approach, the project will increase business skills and foster a "responsible" mentality among people and communities active in tourism. CORRIE project aims to create new innovative approaches to address competitiveness and unemployment, in particular at regional and local levels. This will result in a reduction of rural depopulation. Finally, the project aims to build high value/low volume (specialized) rather than high volume/low value (mass) tourism.
The main target group are small businesses in specialized tourism from rural regions with diminishing populations and/or regions which suffer from economic crisis. This target group include the end-users and can directly benefit from the project results that will be developed in this project.
Trainers and other staff of tourism-related associations and consulting & business supporting organisations will benefit from CORRIE as well. It is through them as intermediary target group the outputs will be delivered to the final beneficiaries. A special Intellectual Output will be created to support trainers (IO5). This will ensure a complete and integrated set of materials and support tools.
European added value lies in the fact that the subject covered by it address issues that are of European wide vital importance and which demand a European wide effort. The role of the tourism sector is growing in importance and a responsible and sustainable economy is seen as vital.

The variety of countries the project partners represent ensures valuable input from all sides. By gathering 7 partners from different countries, with expertise and different fields and knowledge areas, the CORRIE project aims to provide learning materials specifically developed to empower the SMEs in all countries of the EU.

To carry out the project on EU level provides support for the EU 2020 objectives of a shared economic vision to create a strong competitive, innovative and sustainable Europe. A national approach on this topic alone will limit itself by its nature and therefore will not reach the final objectives of the project.

The CORRIE project results will indirectly have a positive impact on the:

Local community: through greater economic benefits for the local community
Environment: through the sustainable use of resources
Tourist: through a positive and valuable experience living up to or overachieving their expectations
World: minimisation of negative economic, environmental and social impacts.

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