Why is it relevant to tourism?
As a part of the NextGenerationEU, REACT-EU provides additional €50.6 billion (in current prices) for assistance aimed at fostering development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its social consequences, as well as preparing a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy. Special attention is paid to regions that were hardest hit by the crisis due to their dependence on the most affected sectors, such as tourism and culture. Since REACT-EU is channelled through the 2014-2020 cohesion policy, the support possibilities for the tourism sector under the ERDF and the ESF in the current programming period apply to these additional resources. This covers, for example, working capital and productive investments in SMEs, investments in green and digital transition or training of workers.
Overview of tourism-related components
REACT-EU resources are implemented through regional and national cohesion policy programmes under the 2014-2020 programming period. The tourism-related components of these programmes should be consulted to find out about the scope of support in each EU country or region (managing authorities per programme, see ‘Additional Information’).
Details of the programme
Building on the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives that provided an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission proposed a series of measures under the ‘Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe initiative’ (REACT-EU). It contributes by adding a fresh additional €50.6 billion in resources to existing cohesion policy programmes, and by offering some additional simplifications and flexibilities. In order to provide swift support to regions, expenditure incurred from 1 February 2020 is eligible. The final date of eligibility for this expenditure is 31 December 2023.
It aims at bridging the gap between the emergency response and long-term recovery by strengthening the resilience of healthcare systems, preserving and creating employment, in particular for young people, supporting the poorest of our society, and providing working capital and investment support for SMEs. Laying down future-proof foundations for the digital and green transitions and a sustainable socio-economic development will remain of the highest importance. Another aspect is the recommendation for the REACT-EU resources to contribute to the 25% climate objective at the EU level.
When the REACT-EU resources are allocated to the ERDF, they should be used primarily to support investments in products and services for health services or in social infrastructure, to provide support in the form of working capital or investment support to SMEs’ investments in sectors with a high job creation potential, including advisory support, and in the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and needing rapid revitalisation, such as tourism and culture. REACT-EU resources should also be used for investments contributing to the transition towards a digital and green economy, to support investments in infrastructure providing basic services to citizens, and to support economic support measures in the regions which are most dependent on sectors most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
When the REACT-EU resources are allocated to the ESF, EU countries should use them primarily to support access to the labour market by maintaining jobs of employees and of the self-employed, including through short-time work schemes even when that support is not combined with active labour market measures, unless those measures are imposed by national law. The REACT-EU resources shall support job creation and quality employment, in particular for people in vulnerable situations, and extend youth employment measures in line with the reinforced Youth Guarantee – hence, the REACT-EU resources can also be allocated to the Youth Employment Initiative. Investments in education, training and skills development shall be directed to address the twin green and digital transitions.
Additional information and how to apply
Links to the 2014-2020 programmes
- European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Managing authorities - Regional Policy - European Commission (europa.eu)
- European Social Fund Support in your country (europa.eu)
More news on REACT-EU: Inforegio-Newsroom - Regional Policy - European Commission (europa.eu)
Example(s) of supported programmes
Example from the European Regional Development Fund
Project title:VISITUS: Helping blind and visually impaired tourists enjoy the Croatia-Serbia border region
Description: The VISITUS project focused on welcoming blind and visually impaired visitors has improved the attractiveness of the area for all tourists. In collaboration with local associations for the visually impaired, a wide range of activities and technology-enabled tools were developed, including: new cultural and gastronomic tourism routes spanning the region; information stands with tactile maps and multilingual interactive boards; and braille tourist guides.
EU investment: €300,090
Level of EU funding: 85%
Database of examples
Not (yet) available