The relaunch of Spanish sustainable tourism

European Recovery Funds offer an important possibility for the ecological transformation of the tourism sector. In Spain, the National Government together with the Autonomous Communities are launching a new call for Sustainable Tourism Plans with a budget of 720 million.

A new extraordinary edition of the Tourism Sustainability Plans in Destinations was launched by the Spanish Government and the Autonomous Communities, in order to finance new sustainable projects in the touristic sector. As part of “Plan de modernización y competitividad del sector turístico”, this new call is financed with 720 million from the EU recovery funds of the European Next Generation Programme.

From 1 April until 17 May 2022, local authorities and Autonomous Communities have the chance to submit their Sustainability Plans to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. The final aim is to continue improving Spanish touristic destinations throughout the territory, both on the coasts, internal towns, villages and islands. Sustainability Plans proposals will be subjected to a joint evaluation process by the Secretary of State and the Autonomous Community. European funds will be allocated both to initiatives presented by local entities, as well by Cohesion Actions between Destinations designed by the Autonomous Communities.

The new call for projects related to sustainable tourism is accompanied by the distribution among the Autonomous Communities and cities of 170 million euros that will finance energy efficiency and circular economy projects in tourist accommodation, for example tourist and rural accommodation, hotels, campsites.

Each project that is going to be implemented thanks to the subsidies must be dedicated to the improvement of the energy efficiency, thought the use of renewable energies. These interventions have to achieve a considerable reduction in non-renewable primary energy consumption of 30% compared to the baseline situation.

These measures could represent an important step forward in the ecological transaction process of a highly productive sector in Spain, such as tourism, which needs to be renewed and regulated in terms of consumption, pollution and respect for the environment. At the same time, this could revitalise the sector, transforming and enriching it, by attracting new customers and broadening the target of tourism companies to new types of eco-sustainable tourism.