The Paphos Regional Tourism Board (Etap) hosted on Monday partners of the SMARTIES for SMEs project, in a move that seeks to bolster the competitiveness and resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector.

The initiative, underpinned entirely by European Union funding, seeks to distribute €375,000 among 15 SMEs to foster their green and digital transitions.

Etap emphasised that the project encourages SMEs to apply innovative practices to enhance their operational capabilities. Each selected SME could receive up to €25,000.

Applications are set to open in November 2024, following a meticulous selection process that will gauge the suitability and readiness of the businesses to embark on a more sustainable and technologically advanced path.

Moreover, a pivotal ‘Focus Group’ discussion was held, curated by professors from the University of Zagreb. This discussion served as a platform for representatives from the local tourism industry to deliberate on tourism strategies for the Paphos region.

The engagement was particularly focused on exploring the roles of various tourism stakeholders and identifying exemplary practices that could elevate the sustainability and overall appeal of the destination.

Following the insightful discussion, a ‘Capacity Building Workshop’ was conducted, which saw participation from over 25 SMEs from the local tourism scene.

This workshop not only educated the participants on the nuances of green and digital transitions but also encouraged them to think about how these strategies could be integrated to enhance innovation, resilience, and the quality of service within their operations.

Looking ahead, Etap has announced plans to engage further with potential beneficiaries.

These upcoming sessions will delve deeper into the project’s framework, selection methodology, and the criteria for awards, ensuring that all interested SMEs are well-prepared to take full advantage of this opportunity.