Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in Europe and has become a global business with an unmanageable number of target groups, stakeholders and key actors, representing different interests, perspectives, demands and needs. In this setting, tourism is linked to many risks and it takes a lot of know-how, experience and competence to perform successfully in the different markets. It is not enough to just seeing the economic potential of tourism as having unlimited growth but much more, its destructive dimension and the limited resources must also be considered.

These problems have been evident for a very long time and therefore the concept of “sustainable tourism” was developed, which generally speaking tries to interfere as little as possible with environment and local culture whilst improving local development and employment at the same time.

Nowadays, sustainable tourism plays a key role in each major development policy.

The challenging facts at a glance:

  • Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in Europe
  • Limited growth in times of economical crisis
  • Sectoral shortage of skilled workers
  • Need of specific competences, skills, know-how and experience at strategic and operational level
  • Lack of concepts and training programmes in EU specifically at VET level
  • Lack of know-how exchange and cooperation between VET providers and economy

The importance of sustainable tourism developments is also reflected in many EU projects in different funding programmes such as the Lifelong Learning Programme, that have the concept as main topic in their activities. So far there have been no attempts to link those initiatives with each other, developing formal/informal networks between the project partnerships, allowing them to learn from each other and providing them with special opportunities and platforms for promoting their projects and activities to target groups, stakeholders and the general public. PESTO seeks to improve this situation.

The main target groups of the project are:

  • VET providers focusing on sustainable tourism in training offers
  • Enterprises and businesses operating in the sustainable tourism development sector
  • Social partners representing interests of employers and employees
  • Public bodies and authorities interested in regional development
  • Representatives of EU programmes and initiatives supporting projects financially
  • Final beneficiaries – EU citizens in general