Why is it relevant to tourism?
Many rural areas in the European Union suffer from structural problems such as a lack of attractive employment opportunities, skill shortages, under-investment in connectivity, infrastructure and essential services, as well as youth brain drain. It is fundamental to strengthen the socio-economic fabric in these areas, particularly through creating jobs and generational renewal. Bringing jobs and growth to rural areas will promote social inclusion, and help develop smart villages across the European countryside. New rural value chains such as renewable energy, the emerging bioeconomy, the circular economy, and various types of tourism activities can offer good growth and job creation for rural areas.
Tourism funding criteria
EU countries had the possibility to include tourism-related investments in their CAP Strategic Plans, which are being implemented from January 2023 onwards. Such support could, for instance, include initiatives for territorial economic development and rural infrastructure, the renewal of villages and/or actions to
conserve small-scale built heritage (e.g. chapels, bridges, public amenities)
build and renovate tourist offices
update visitor information
other leisure, recreational and/or sports activities.
For the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the allocations for the 2021-2027 MFF and 2021-2022 EURI (EAFRD - Next Generation EU) amount to around €387 billion in current prices. The EURI (EAFRD-Next Generation EU) budget will be spent on implementing the current Rural Development Programmes - at the latest by the end of 2025 (n+3).
The 2023-2027 CAP allocation will mainly be spent on delivering the CAP strategic plans. The EAFRD (total allocation of € 95,5 billion) is the CAP funding programme that supports rural development strategies and projects. It can be implemented at the latest by the end of 2029 (the n+2 rule applies).
While the European Commission approves, and monitors rural-development actions that are part of national CAP strategic plans, decisions on selecting projects and granting payments are handled at national or regional levels.
Furthermore, through financial programmes, the EAFRD acts as a source for loans, microcredits, guarantees and equities. These are available for rural enterprises and projects in agriculture and forestry. Financially viable projects in rural areas that support the EAFRD’s priorities are also eligible.
The common agricultural policy funds give an overview of the budget.
Fi-Compass includes further information on EAFRD financial programmes.
Calls for tenders under direct management by the Commission.
Calls for proposals / grants for information measures under direct management by the Commission.
Examples of supported projects
Project Title: Diversifying a farm’s income by investing in agrotourism (Arcevia, Italy)
Description: To diversify a farm's income, Rural Development Programme support was used to renovate a 19th century house to offer accommodation in six apartments, with a total of 24 beds. The entrepreneur envisaged hosting tourists for at least 4 months a year to provide him with a significant income flow. This will compensate for years when olive production is low.
EU contribution: €80,736.30
Level of EU funding: N/A
Project Title: Chevetogne - combining a wetland ecosystem observation area with social tourism
Description: This project for Chevetogne campsite involved rehabilitating and landscaping part of an old caravan park bordering the ponds. This area stretching over three hectares was restored into a wetland and accompanying nature observation area, along with a biodiversity lab. The restored area will accommodate some picnic facilities and two play areas for children. An additional development will extend the walking trail for people with reduced mobility.
EU contribution: €387,000
Level of EU funding: N/A
Project Title: Historical and Folklore Museum of Nikiti
Description: Nikiti is a village in Chalkidiki, Greece. Its economy is based on agriculture and tourism. The area is full of hotels and tourist accommodation, but was lacking in cultural facilities such as museums and exhibition centres. In order to fill this gap and create tourist attractions, an old school building was transformed into a folklore museum. The grant helped to finance the renovation and also created jobs for the local community.
Total budget: €206,545
Database of examples
Relevant ENRD Projects for the tourism sector