[Call for Proposals] Systemic circular solutions for a sustainable tourism

17 October 2023 - 22 February 2024


A successful proposal will contribute to the following Destination impacts: i) accelerate regional, rural, local/urban and consumer-based transitions, ii) enhance European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence, and iii) improve on consumer and citizen benefits.

Project results are expected to contribute to all the following outcomes:

  • Diffusion of circular tourism services, where the use of harmful substances and the generation of waste is minimised and the use of energy, land and water is efficient;
  • Deployment of replicable systemic solutions for cities and regions, where circularity is ingrained in the service design, whether for the use of residents or visitors, taking into account the specific needs of the territory (urban, rural, peripheral);
  • Increased circular, zero-pollution and climate-neutral practices among providers and users of tourism services and active participation of users in circular systemic solutions;
  • Deployment of innovative solutions and new, affordable technologies (including digital technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT and blockchain) that support transformation towards circularity for all actors on different systemic levels;
  • Creation of jobs that facilitate circularity for different sectors, serving those who are living in or visiting cities and regions;
  • Uptake, replication and visibility of circular systemic solutions for sustainable tourism that contributes economically, socially and environmentally to the achievement of the targets of the European Green Deal, circular economy action plan, bioeconomy strategy, industrial strategy and EU agenda for tourism, at local, regional, national and European levels.


Proposals are expected to implement and demonstrate circular systemic solutions at the level of cities and regions, and include several sectors providing services for visitors and residents such as hospitality, transportation, culture, attractions, nature-based activities.

Tourism can consume large quantities of energy, water, and plastics, which degrade the environmental quality of destinations and ecosystems, affecting the lives of residents. Circular tourism should consider waste and water management, batteries and vehicles, electronics and ICT, packaging, plastics, construction and buildings, GHG emissions of local and long-distance mobility, accommodation and food services.

Proposals should address at least one of these above mentioned sectors.

The complexity of tourism ecosystem lies in the fact that industry is deeply interlinked with and dependent on multiple key resource and commodity chains. Travel and tourism actors can both act as enablers of circularity in a wider economic context, and at the same time benefit from circularity models in other industrial ecosystems. Proposals should develop and demonstrate new and circular business models and technological solutions to change the way tourism operates, enabling businesses and destinations to be sustainable. This includes developing systemic approaches that steer the behaviour of consumers, whether residents or citizens, towards circularity and makes them participate in circular practices.

The implemented circular systemic solutions should address economic, social and environmental dimensions of the transition towards circular tourism and include science, technology, behavioural and governance components. Proposals are expected to involve the relevant actors, which include public administrations, destination management organisations, private sector services and industries, citizens (residents and visitors), non-governmental organisations and new types of actors rising from collaborative economy platforms.

The development of systemic solutions needs to consider the costs of transition from the existing models into the new ones, analysing trade-offs and challenges related to their implementation and demonstration. As the tourism ecosystem is mostly composed of small actors, micro and SMEs, systemic solutions at the level of cities and regions should develop and test innovative and collaborative ways to create common objectives, targets and processes. The implementation of technologies such as AI, robotics, IoT and blockchain could also be considered in a context-sensitive manner. Proposals should however also investigate simple, low-cost and low-tech solutions. Projects should analyse the encountered obstacles and drivers and provide clear and precise policy recommendations for local authorities on how to improve circular tourism. Each circular systemic solution should address social, economic and environmental externalities and contribute to the well-being of the local communities while improving the circularity behaviour of the visitors.

The circular systemic solutions implemented and their business models should demonstrate a high replicability and scalability potential in order to contribute to the overall transition of tourism towards more sustainable and resilient practices. During their implementation and by the end of their lifecycle, the selected proposals are expected to prepare and share clear and comprehensive guidelines on the circular systemic solutions adopted, including their strengths and weaknesses experienced, mainly for the use of economic operators in the sector.

With regard to the territorial aspects of all proposed solutions, proposals should seek to contribute to the goals and cooperate with the services of the European Commission’s Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). Joint activities with CCRI projects are encouraged.

The targeted TRL at the end of the projects is 6 to 8.

Please note that this call has not been opened yet. For details, please consult the source page of this announcement via this link.

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