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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

LIFE Programme

This webpage covers the LIFE Programme strictly as part of funding projects related to tourism.

Why is it relevant to tourism?

The LIFE programme funds projects in environmental and climate action. Tourism activities related to the  green transition can benefit from this scheme. In particular,  projects supporting the circular economy, energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, as well as climate neutrality may be eligible for funding.

Tourism funding criteria

The LIFE programme has no specific tourism theme. However, environmentally sustainable projects - especially those mitigating CO2 emissions through energy efficiency or renewable energy - may benefit from funding. Similarly, projects that marry climate adaptation measures with tourism may also be eligible.

In general terms, funding would be provided via ‘standard action projects’ following an annual call for proposals. LIFE does not finance big infrastructure projects.However, it may support investment in green infrastructure by providing services which can include recreational and tourism activities.

Programme details

The LIFE programme is the EU funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It contributes to these priorities through its four sub-programmes by

  • boosting and integrating the implementation of the EU’s policy objectives to halt and reverse the  loss of wildlife habitats,  species and biodiversity across all sectors.
  • supporting the transition to a circular economy and protecting and improving the quality of the EU’s natural resources, including air, soil and water.
  • supporting the implementation of the 2030 energy and climate policy framework, the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objective, and the new  strategy on adaptating to climate change.
  • building capacity, stimulating investments and supporting the implementation of policies focused on energy efficiency and small-scale renewables.

LIFE is structured in two fields (Environment and Climate Action) and four sub-programmes:

  • Environment field:
    •  Nature and Biodiversity
    •  Circular Economy and Quality of Life
  •  Climate Action field:
    •  Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
    •  Clean Energy Transition

Additional information

Programme website

LIFE newsletter

LIFE - Calls for proposals 

LIFE Funding and tender opportunities

Examples of supported projects

Project Title: Life Sustain Huts

Description: The objective of this project is to create and demonstrate sustainable and nearly zero-emission mountain huts. By promoting renewable energy generation, energy independence and sustainability can be ensured. The project’s implementation over a period of 4 years has several phases

Preparatory actions

monitoring and analysing the existing energy consumption 

7 implementation actions for  hybrid renewable energy systems, including life cycle assessment and environmental analysis.

2 monitoring, dissemination and management actions each

The project involves converting 9 existing mountain huts in Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain to achieve a reduction of approximately 5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year/hut. There are 8 partners: 5 from the private non-commercial sector, 1 private commercial entity, and 2 public bodies.

EU contribution: €1,116,543

Level of EU funding: 60%

Project Title: Burren Tourism for Conservation

Description: The Burren Tourism for Conservation project (also called the GeoparkLIFE project) aimed to reconcile tourism development with conserving  biodiversity and cultural heritage. Reducing the impact of tourism on the Burren was a way to increase its carrying capacity. Pilot actions included a resource management programme for about 100 enterprises and improving 4 monuments and 3 natural sites. These lessons were shared, notably through tool kits, offering a valuable 'tourism for conservation' methodology to local communities in Europe.

EU contribution: €1,108,872 (2012-2017)

Level of EU funding: 50%

More information

Project Title:Sustainable Cruise

Description: According to the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive, waste prevention should be the priority in waste management. Given the degree of luxury afforded to their passengers, cruise ships produce a lot of waste. Led by Costa Crociere, one of the largest cruise companies, this project aimed to demonstrate the potential for waste prevention, recovery and recycling on cruise ships.

It assessed the environmental impacts of three waste streams (packaging, biodegradable waste and paper) and the technical/economic viability of large-scale waste management solutions. It also suggested a standardised approach to waste management onboard. Finally, it provided guidelines for an advanced certification scheme and assessed the possibility of converting CO2 emission reductions into tradable carbon credits.

EU contribution: €1,314,623 (2011-2014)

Level of EU funding: 50%

More information 

Project Title: Information campaign to reduce smoking-related litter on beaches

Description: Marine litter is a major environmental problem that has adverse economic impacts on tourism, fisheries and other sectors. Cigarette filters are non-biodegradable and contain numerous hazardous chemicals. The goal of this project was to implement an integrated information campaign to reduce smoking-related litter in coastal areas of Greece.

The project also aimed to launch on-site campaigns on coasts to inform the public and provide applicable solutions (e.g., single-use ashtrays). In addition, training activities were carried out at schools  to inform students about these issues and create behavioural change.

EU contribution: €299,709 (2013-2015)

Level of EU funding: 50%

More information


Database of examples

LIFE projects database

More examples of LIFE Projects for the tourism sector

CINEA Project Portfolio