The project entitled “An initiative on Capitalising Tourism’s prospects of the region”with acronym “CapTour”, is implemented in the framework of “INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014-2020” Cooperation Program. The implementation period is from 06/05/2021 to 05/05/2023. The project consists of four (4) beneficiaries from Greece and Bulgaria, two (2) Greek beneficiaries and two (2) Bulgarian beneficiaries: The Hellenic Hoteliers Federation, the University of Macedonia/ Research Committee/ Department of Accounting and Finance, the Association of Hoteliers, Restauranteurs and Tour Operators SANDANSKI and the Rhodopes Hoteliers and Restauranteurs Association.

The project aims to strengthen the key factors affecting entrepreneurial success in the tourism industry within the CB area. The project is focusing in the SMEs of this sector, since the place and role of small and medium enterprises in the tourism and hospitality industry have a great impact to the socio-economic development of the CB area and tourism entrepreneurship development is considered as a dynamic factor in the development of local communities. Strengthening the factors affecting entrepreneurship in tourism industry development entails the realization of concrete actions with a great impact in the Organizational, the Network and the Technological factors affecting it. The common CB problems tackled through the envisaged actions are:

  •   Difficulties in obtaining business finance: Given the limited access & the lack of research, the project will eliminate difficulties in obtaining business finance for SMEs active in the value chain of tourism
  •    Limited access to know-how: The project will facilitate cooperation to foster peer to peer learning as well as to exchange knowledge & good practices in enhancing entrepreneurship development & in increasing tourism sustainability.
  •   Limited access to general information & contacts: Activities for network building, awareness raising & use of informative tools & channels have been envisaged
  •  Lack of support services for developing competitive products-services: Challenge relates to the lack of horizontal & personalized support services, in order SMEs & entrepreneurs in tourism sector to be able to develop and provide competitive services & products
  •   Lack of know-how regarding cost saving technologies: Horizontal & personalized support services are envisaged aiming to address this challenge
  •   Inadequate human development & skills: Activities for enhancing skills & capabilities on thematics relevant to entrepreneurial knowledge but also affecting attitudes towards entrepreneurial activity, are envisaged
  •  The lack of collaboration opportunities and networking schemes will be also addressed
  •  These challenges will be addressed through a well-designed approach that includes pilot actions for the tourism sector:
  •   New links creation: In the area of intervention there are significant broken links between academic society & business life. It seems that up to now academic society’s involvement in relevant projects was limited to elaborating studies. But there is a great need for putting theory into practice by challenging potential beneficiaries to participate in an open dialogue with the academic society which may create new potentials.

The project consists of actions that has as a goal to strengthen the SMEs’ support system in order to improve entrepreneurship conditions in the value chain of tourism. This will be achieved by actions tailored to those aiming to start business & to those who are already active. Actions of the project, such the partnership opportunity e-platform will provide business support via published projects’ outputs for those who want to start a business, while networking for SMEs will be easier since networking opportunities will be hosted. Sectoral round tables & business forums will be realized in order potential entrepreneurs to have access to sector know-how & support in generating business ideas. Also, potential entrepreneurs will gain know-how via their participation in training, consulting & mentoring actions. Special attention will be given to new & newly established SMEs, since via the project the needed skills for business success will be provided and the SMEs’ support will be enhanced.

The main outputs of the project that will significantly improve entrepreneurship conditions on the CB area, and contribute to the main objectives of the project are:

  •  the implementation of networking actions such as round tables, business forums, thematic workshops & a partnership opportunity platform, contributing to the promotion of the transnational cooperation
  •  the development of a mapping study aiming at enhancing tourism sector through gathering best practices across EU regarding financial instruments in tourism development, finance, sustainable tourism & tourism-led growth models in practice
  •  enhancing the SMEs’ support system through the development of a supporting training material such as a trilingual training material, including webinars & toolkits
  •  the implementation of skills enhancement trainings focusing on issues such as organization & management of SMEs, with emphasis on financial management, IT use, introducing new services & products with tourist orientation
  •  the implementation of short building skills sessions focused on customer service for tourist businesses, tourism Marketing for enterprises & self-employed, raising awareness on tourist ID & its importance for local economies
  •  the realization of thematic workshops, including study visits, focusing on thematics such as innovation, CSR, extroversion, social economy, quality standards, thematic tourism & travel blogging
  •  the development of a tourism support scheme including the provision of consultancy services at business activity level or group, the provision of personalized support services and the provision of mentoring services (group based) to entrepreneurs