BMWK Launches New Initiative to Improve Sustainablilty and Working Conditions in Tourism in Germany

New national programme supports collaborative projects between industry and science that aim to increase performance and innovation in the tourism sector in Germany.

LIFT Transformation Programme by Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWK – Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection) is designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism sector in Germany, with the aim to align the sector with overarching sustainable development goals and address key challenges in the future development of the industry. The programme supports projects that bring together commercial businesses, research organisations and local authorities in tourist destinations to develop concepts and solutions that will improve the sustainability of tourism in Germany.

The focus of the funding opportunity are model projects that can showcase solutions for the sustainable transformation of the tourism sector in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While all 17 goals are relevant for the sector, the programme aims to focus particularly on the following areas:

  • Quality education.
  • Decent work and economic growth.
  • Responsible consumption and production.
  • Climate action.
  • Life on land.

Projects must address at least one of the above goals.

The model projects should take the form of commercially viable Best Practice examples that showcase innovative ideas and solutions that may be replicated across different businesses in the sector. The projects must aim to improve performance in the tourism sector either directly or indirectly while also contributing to the development of future-oriented sustainable tourism.

The programme will support the following types of projects:

  1. Concepts and model projects for the sustainable transformation of individual elements in the travel chain, including: product development, distribution, alternative and networked mobility, sustainable activities and conditions at tourist destinations.
  2. Model projects for the training and recruitment of (skilled) labour for tourism that address the conditions and causes for the current shortage in (skilled) labour.

BMWK supports projects by individual organisations as well as projects that bring together multiple organisations in a consortium. Eligible for funding are commercial businesses and enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), as well as institutions in the field of science and research, and local authorities in Germany. Collaborative projects that bring together partners from research and industry are particularly encouraged. Applications from non-commercial and/or research institutions must guarantee the involvement of at least one practice partner in the tourism sector. Cross-border collaboration is possible. However, BMWK funding is only provided for German partners.

Funding is provided in the form of a non-refundable project grant or subsidy on the basis of project-related eligible costs. This includes personnel and material costs as well as costs associated with international (cross-border) collaboration. For commercial businesses and enterprises, funding levels are generally set at 50% of project-related eligible costs. Institutions of higher education and publicly funded research institutions may receive higher funding levels. However, the overall funding of research consortia cannot exceed 80%. BMWK will only support projects with a minimum budget of €50,000.

The scheme comprises a multi-stage application process. As a first stage, applicants must submit an expression of interest which includes a project outline. On the basis of the submitted project outlines, selected applicants may be invited to present their project ideas in a presentation. In the case of a positive review, applicants will then be asked to submit a formal funding application.

The deadline for expressions of interest (EOI) is 15 September 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)