The vision
Despite its high potential, sustainable tourism still plays a marginal role. This is partly due to the lack of visibility of the operators promoting sustainable tourism and the scarce affirmation of sustainability as a label in the tourism sector. This makes it difficult for consumers and tourism operators to clearly identify the standards certified by each label. The consequence is that many small and medium-size initiatives remain "invisible", miss opportunities to become a driver of sustainable development at regional level and a good example for the emergence of other similar activities.

The OnTour project tries to tackle this issue by helping to increase both the supply and demand for sustainable tourism through a better visibility of sustainable tourism operators. The project addresses small and medium operators, who often lack the necessary marketing competences to increase the visibility of their business activities in the sustainability sector.

Indeed, sustainable tourism is a resource which contributes to an integrated territorial development, without forgetting to combine cohesive profit with the need to preserve the ecosystems and the climate, to value the local culture, to avoid to negatively interfere in the socio-economic dynamics, as well as to raise awareness in a perspective of exchange.

However, in order to ensure that sustainable tourism initiatives are well integrated with the local socio-economic and environmental dynamics, the regional economic policies and the marketing strategies, it is necessary to empower the local economic and political actors and coordinate the sector at regional level. The OnTour project believes that a more effective regional coordination of sustainable tourism will strengthen the sector and ensure its long-term development.   
 
OnTour in practice
The central objective of the project is to give tourism operators an overview of the existing sustainable tourism labels, to make it easier for them to understand their criteria and to enable them to develop more effective marketing strategies.

For this reason, the OnTour project wants to design an online tool that supports small and medium enterprises in choosing the most suitable labels in accordance to their offer, type and size. Although the online tool will be freely accessible by any interested company, it will be initially tested by 10 small and medium enterprises per project region - Pongau (Austria), South Tyrol (Italy) and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Italy).
Capacity building and the exchange of good practices are considered as a key element in order to facilitate the transition towards a more sustainable tourism sector. Several capacity building activities will be organised within the project, such as local workshops, cross-border exchanges and a sustainability competition for participating small and medium enterprises that have introduced a sustainability label or sustainable business practices.

The last phase focuses on the establishment of a sustainability coordinator for each project area. The latter will be integrated with the regional marketing agencies as a long-term input for a structural and ongoing conversion of the whole tourism sector in the regions towards sustainability.
 
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