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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Understanding public assistance programmes

Public assistance programmes provide the tourism sector with support and/or development aid from public administrations.


Funding comes from a variety of sources and can be used for a variety of purposes. There is a wide range of public programmes which aim to

  • increase tourism
  • improve tourist destinations
  • increase competitiveness

Broadly speaking, there are two types of public assistance programmes

  • programmes financed by the EU and transnational funds
  • national programmes, with financing usually from government funds – these programmes mostly result from national guidelines or tourism strategy, where the government sets out the main lines of action in tourism

Public programmes in tourism generally follow one of 2 main lines of action

  • programmes aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of enterprises – these include projects which
    • improve the quality of tourism facilities
    • support technological innovation
    • provide training activities for human resources companies
    • provide marketing support
  • programmes aimed at strengthening tourist destinations – these indirectly create benefits for entrepreneurs, and include projects which
    • promote destinations
    • create new products
    • rehabilitate and/or improve tourism infrastructure
    • invest in nature and/or culture

See more in the guide on EU funding for the tourism sector 2014-2020.

Further reading on financial issues

Tourism-related taxes across the EU


Learn about the different financing opportunities available for tourism business projects.