Common challenge

Tourism plays a strong role in the regional economies of the 2 seas area and according to the UN World Tourism Organisation tourism will increase from 5 to 8% yearly in the 2seas countries. Besides income, tourism also brings mass consumption of resources (estimated global increased consumption is 92% water, 189% land (Tourism Watch)) which could strain the already limited resources of the region where tourism and other sectors compete. Tourists also tend to produce more waste than locals (European Environment Agency in Tourism and the Environment 2018), further increasing the challenge (in particular due to the seasonality) of waste and waste processing. Although demand for sustainable tourism increases, and some entrepreneurs are starting to look for circular solutions, the general approach in tourism remains linear, in part because entrepreneurs lack knowhow on how to switch to the circular approach needed to ensure that tourism continues to be economically beneficial.

Overall objective

FACET aims at increasing adoption of circular solutions in the tourism sector by supporting entrepreneurs in shifting from linear to circular. This will be done by demonstrating low-threshold solutions and extracting best practices, so that entrepreneurs receive hands-on knowledge and support in changing their business models. By facilitating the formation of a cooperation system for local entrepreneurs, increasing incentives, making recommendations for the removal of regulatory barriers and developing practical tools, FACET will demonstrate that quality and economic sustainability can be reinforced by circular solutions, so that circularity streamlines the entire sector and does not focus on a niche market. FACET will result in an increase of adoption of existing circular solutions among entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and will contribute to understanding among government and business support associations of the incentives and barriers to shifting from linear to circular models.

Main outputs

  • Cooperative models for a Circular Economy (CE) value chain, a CE joint purchasing and quadruple helix CE support groups
  • Circular Economy Toolkit to increase adoption of CE solutions
  • White papers to foster new regulations and a new and improved financial mechanism
  • Pilots and demonstrators of Circular Economy solutions in the tourism and hospitality sector

The main target groups are entrepreneurs in the tourism sector. Other important target groups are (local) governments, business support offices, sector organisations, knowledge institutions, as well as sustainable trademarks in tourism. While not including tourists as target groups, the quality of their experience is maintained or improved, with circularity as an added benefit.

Cross-border approach

The challenges of tourism in the 2 Seas area are shared by all project regions, therefore the only possible way to tackle them efficiently is through a cross-border approach. There is complementarity between the different countries in terms of knowledge and experience that will benefit the project, and FACET will put it to good use through cross-border action development teams that work together in developing and monitoring demonstrations. Sustainable tourism and leisure within the 2Seas area requires the informed participation of all relevant cross-border stakeholders to avoid any competition effect, especially considering that a large part of clientele originates from the member countries themselves, crisscrossing the area. Currently there are lots of locally or nationally driven initiatives, working in silos. FACET will collate best practices and pitfalls into a joint model that can be applied on a much larger cross-border scale.

The project started in January 2020 and will run until March 2023. The total size of the project is € 3,891,756.