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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Horizon Europe

This webpage covers the Horizon Europe strictly as part of funding projects related to tourism.

Why is it relevant to tourism?

Horizon Europe is the research and innovation framework programme, running from 2021-27.

Horizon Europe has a budget of around €95.5 billion for 2021-27 (in current prices). This includes €5.4 billion from NextGenerationEU to boost the economic recovery and make the EU more resilient for the future, as well as an additional reinforcement of €4 billion.

The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillar (pillar 2) supports research relating to societal challenges and reinforces technological and industrial capacities through clusters. It sets EU missions with ambitious goals tackling some of our biggest problems. It also includes activities pursued by the Joint Research Centre, which supports EU and national policymakers with independent scientific evidence and technical support.

The Digital, Industry and Space work programme is available since 28 October 2021.

Overview of tourism-related components

Within cluster 2 ‘Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society’, research and innovation activities are offered to meet EU goals and priorities on enhancing democratic governance and citizen participation, on the safeguarding and promotion of cultural heritage, and to respond to and shape multifaceted social, economic, technological and cultural transformations.

The development of new approaches, concepts and practices for sustainable, accessible and inclusive cultural tourism are among the research activities foreseen within this cluster. These research opportunities on cultural tourism will continue and further develop those already provided through the previous framework programme, Horizon 2020.

Details of the programme

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting, and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing excellent knowledge and technologies. It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area. Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.

Programme specific website: Horizon Europe

Find calls for proposals

Research and innovation – legal texts

Examples of supported projects

Project Title: SmartCulTour – Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions

Description: Sustainable cultural tourism policies can significantly support the development of European regions. Cultural tourism, especially in rural areas as well as in urban peripheries can emerge as a factor of economic growth. The EU-funded SmartCulTour project intends to redefine the concept of cultural tourism to provide European regions with strategies that engage stakeholders in co-creating smart cultural tourism practices. The project, running from 2020 until 2023, will develop a decision-support system that will extensively monitor the regions through a combination of traditional and non-traditional data sources. Inclusive desk research will determine which sustainable cultural tourism policies have a positive impact and will result in proposals for possible local interventions. The project will be deployed through field tests in 6 living labs.

EU contribution: €2,980,000.50

Level of EU funding: 100% of eligible costs

Link to project: SmartCulTour


Project Title: TExTOUR – ‘Social Innovation and TEchnologies for sustainable growth through participative cultural TOURism’

Description: TExTOUR mobilises 18 partners from the knowledge, business, society, government and entrepreneurial fields to co-design, validate and upscale policies and strategies with positive impacts on socio-economic territorial development based on cultural tourism.

TExTOUR uses ICTs and social-innovation tools to work with 8 cultural tourism pilots in lesser known areas to design collaborative work methodologies for the development of cultural tourism (CT) strategies for their sites. Each pilot sets up lab communities, composed of a wide range of stakeholders with a relevant role in the development of the CT sector. Stakeholders are guided through the CT labs for the implementation, monitoring and validation of CT ad hoc strategies. The project started in 2020 and will run until 2024. It develops procedures, services and tools and carries out activities proposed in the methodology. Results are used to prepare a modular and scalable EU action plan for cultural tourism development. In parallel, a technological platform is designed and tested to assess CT policies and strategies envisaged by public and private stakeholders. It provides data analytics as a service, together with a catalogue of relevant services representing the assessed CT strategies, and proper content curation and validation processes. The platform also serves to assess the implemented practices and their related impacts.

EU contribution: €3,950,468.75

Level of EU funding: 100% of eligible costs

Link to project: TExTOUR


Project Title: Crosscult - Empowering reuse of digital cultural heritage in context-aware crosscuts of European history

Description: CROSSCULT aimed to boost the development of new businesses by exploiting the rich European digital cultural heritage. This was done by using digital cultural assets for

the reinterpretation of European histories. This project created cross-border perspectives by connecting digital historical resources and by creating new ones through the participation of citizens. This project involved computer scientists, humanity researchers, historians, and private companies from 7 different European countries.

EU contribution: €3,503,358 (2016-19)

Level of EU funding: 95%

Links to projectCrossCult: Empowering reuse of digital cultural heritage in context-aware crosscuts of European history | CROSSCULT Project | Fact Sheet | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission ( and Crosscult | le culte de l'entreprise


Project Title: POLARIS (Cultural and Natural Heritage in Arctic and Sub-Antarctic Regions for a Cross-Cultural and Sustainable Valorisation Process and Tourism Development: Siberia, Lapland and Patagonia)

Description: Siberia, Lapland, Patagonia and regions with similar features are destined to experience changes due to global warming and globalisation. Their fragile ecosystems could be easily damaged by mass tourism and an uncontrolled development strategy. This project provided an analysis and study of how to protect and promote territories and heritages. It also provided trainings for local officials and postgraduate degrees linked to tourism, geography and policies aimed at improving know-how and disseminating practices on how to make use of this heritage in a sustainable way.

EU contribution: €327,900 (2013-17)

Level of EU funding: 100%

Links to project: Final Report Summary - POLARIS (Cultural and Natural Heritage in Arctic and Sub-Antarctic Regions for a Cross-Cultural and Sustainable Valorisation Process and Tourism Development: Siberia, Lapland and Patagonia) | FP7 | CORDIS | European Commission (

Database of examples