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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 environment and climate action. Tourism activities related to green transition can benefit from the programme. In particular, tourism projects supporting the circular economy, energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, as well as climate neutrality may be eligible for funding.

Overview of tourism-related components

While the LIFE programme has no specific tourism theme, 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, but it may support investment in ‘Green Infrastructure’ by providing services which can include recreational and touristic activities.

Details of the programme

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 for halting and reversing loss of wildlife habitats and species and biodiversity across all sectors
  • supporting the transition to a circular economy and protecting and improving the quality of EU’s natural resources, including air, soil and water among others
  • supporting implementation of the 2030 energy and climate policy framework, the EU’s climate neutrality objective by 2050, and the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change
  • building capacity, stimulating investments and supporting 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:

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

Additional information and how to apply

Example(s) of supported projects


Description: The objective of the project is to create and demonstrate sustainable and nearly zero-emission mountain huts by promoting renewable energy generation, thus ensuring energy independence and sustainability. The project implementation over a period of four years has several phases: monitoring and analysing of existing energy consumption (preparatory action), implementation of hybrid renewable energy systems including life cycle assessment and environmental analysis (7 implementation actions); 2 monitoring, 2 dissemination and 2 management actions. The applicants propose converting 9 existing mountain houses (huts) in 4 countries (Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain) thus achieving 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%

Links to project: SustainHuts and SUSTAINHUTS LIFE Project (


Project Title: Burren Tourism for Conservation

Description: The ‘Burren Tourism for Conservation’ project (also called Geopark LIFE project) aimed to reconcile tourism development with conservation of 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 improvement of 4 monuments and 3 natural sites. The lessons of its pilot actions were shared, notably through tool kits, offering a 'tourism for conservation' methodology of value to local communities in Europe.

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

Level of EU funding: 50%

Link to project: LIFE 3.0 - LIFE Project Public Page (


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 one of the largest cruise companies (Costa Crociere), the project aimed to demonstrate the potential for waste prevention, recovery and recycling on a cruise ship. It assessed the environmental impacts of three waste streams (packaging, biodegradable waste and paper) and the technical/economic viability of the 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 emissions reductions into tradable carbon credits.

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

Level of EU funding: 50%

Links to project: LIFE 3.0 - LIFE Project Public Page (,Sustain Able Cruise | Personal blog about communities’ cooperation and sustainability projects


Project Title: Integrated information campaign for the reduction of 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 the project was to implement an integrated information campaign for the reduction of 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); carry out training activities at schools to inform students and establish behavioural change.

EU contribution: €299,709 (2013-2015)

Level of EU funding: 50%

Link to project: LIFE 3.0 - LIFE Project Public Page (

Database of examples