Europe is a maritime continent with a coastline stretching from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic to the Black Sea Coastal and maritime tourism is the largest maritime activity in Europe and closely linked to many other parts of the economy. It employs almost 3.2 million people, generating a total of € 183 billion in gross value added and representing over one third of the maritime economy. Coastal areas are important for growth and jobs, however, many of the small- and medium-sized enterprises that make up the sector struggle with a variety of challenges and cannot adequately exploit this potential alone. The EU, launching the Blue Growth initiative in the Europe 2020 strategy, offers the maritime elaboration of a smart, sustainable and inclusive economic and employment growth from the oceans, seas and coasts. As highlighted in COM (2014) 254 final/2, “Innovation in the Blue Economy: releasing the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth”, innovation across all sectors of the blue economy is crucial for realising its growth and jobs potential. Innovation can also bring about significant environmental benefits. According to a recent study for the ITRE Committee considers aquaculture, marine tourism, blue technology, ocean energy and seabed mining are the most promising value chains that could deliver sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy. The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan identifies three areas for immediate intervention: one of these outlines the necessity of reigniting the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe and nurturing the new generation of entrepreneurs. Taking advantage of the blue growth opportunities requires an adequately and educated workforce that will have the ability and knowledge to use and apply latest technologies and tools and equipment, filling in a number of gaps. An healthy environment and high-quality services will make coastal areas more appealing for marine and nautical tourism activities, sports, and green tourism. Therefore, specific strategies drawing on innovative and attractive policies and products must be put forward to capture the potential of marine tourists in low season.
In order to reduce this gap, our project aims to train both new and already active professionals in the field towards a more “blue oriented” management system which applicates the best sustainability practices. The Consortium believes that the overall tourism’s sector and the marine one in particular, suffering of skills shortage (which is putting at real risk the employment in the sector) will benefit from new skilled people capable of propose new sustainable tourism packages and services encouraging at the same time a more sustainable tourist behaviour. Professionals should necessarily have an innovative approach to take advantage of new opportunities, valorising at the same time the peculiarity resources of a territory to please the new touristic demand, for that reason the project aims to focus its intervention on improving services and developing a touristic product perceived as sustainable and environmental-friendly.
The general objective of the proposed project is to boost entrepreneurs’ competences, enhance their services and support their competitiveness in marine sector at EU level. Specific objectives are:
– SO1: Improve the institutional ecosystem identifying best practices and replicable models.
– SO2: Train the trainers in order to support entrepreneurs and want to-be entrepreneurs in adapting their businesses to current market, where a large part of customers are interested in support environmental-sustainable businesses.
– SO3: Encourage the creation of new businesses focused on blue economy (touristic businesses mainly) with a business model which integrate business competitiveness/growth and environmental protection. The project aims at filling the gap of the skills related to the entrepreneurs of the maritime sector.
These kind of goals cannot be carried out by a single State, it requires the help and expertise of different Member States. So far the actions engaged by single States have proved themselves inadequate to deal with this mismatch between academia and labour market. Nowadays is not possible anymore to think of maritime trade only in the proximity of a State’s national coast: to be better, to do better, to achieve more, Member States need to exchange knowledge, background, technology and experience. The market itself demands for a professional figure able to deal with different environments, not only at a local level but, especially, at a transnational level.
Direct Target: educators, trainers, teachers which support entrepreneurs and business creation, entrepreneurs active in marine tourism, want to-be-entrepreneurs in marine tourism Indirect target: policy makers, public authorities, tourists