PROfessional Framework for Innovation in Tourism | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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PROfessional Framework for Innovation in Tourism

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Framework Conditions for Innovation

Lead partner

Westtoer APB






Project budget

2 906 273

ERDF amount

1 743 764

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    In the EU Blue Growth Strategy, the coastal and maritime tourism sector is identified as an area with special potential to foster a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. The fragmentation of the sector (tourism industry is an industry dominated by SMEs), the lack of innovation and diversification, the increased worldwide competition and the volatility of demand and seasonality are factors that prevent this potential from being fully exploited. To fully capture the potential benefits generated by tourism, the framework conditions for innovation, to be delivered by tourism SMEs, need to be improved.

    SMEs face difficulties regarding time, financial and human resources. These factors have a negative impact on their capacity to innovate. During high season it is not uncommon that these businesses work about 60 hours a week. As a consequence, they do not have time to work on largescale innovations. In most cases their financial and human resources are limited. SMEs operate on their own and often lack the network that is needed to achieve the critical mass for innovation. Therefore, the innovation capacity is limited.

    SMEs are willing to innovate but need support to understand opportunities and to build relations. 

    Main Achievements

    PROFIT focused on stimulating new investments in coastal tourism SMEs across the 2 Seas region by helping to create new products and services. 2019 was characterised by an ambitious SME focused innovation programme that identified a number of specific challenges including “Product Development”, “Digital Marketing”, “Business Management” & “Collaboration”. It involved over 647 SME representatives participating in 35 Master Classes from which 164 tourism SMEs were able to benefit from customised 1-2-1 coaching, 95 bespoke innovation plans with the support of 119 experts. 
    44 supporting experts shared their findings at a cross-border think tank with participation from all regions. The innovation plan journey involved inspiration. This took the form of 2 inspiring visits in 2019 that benefitted rapid knowledge acquisition, sharing costs and developed a first-class programme that showed how increased collaboration between SMEs can be a powerful driver for change in the tourism sector. The digital innovation platform hosts content from all 5 regions. The platform received 23,500-page views, 3,100 registered users and 5,480 separate visits. PROFIT issued 53 newsletters, hosted 10 networking events hosted involving 721 SMEs to interest others in the process. Additionally 5 videos were produced, one of which underlined succinctly the benefits of being involved in an innovation project for tourism SMEs – ( PROFIT has been a great example of the power of collaboration, highlighting that great things can be achieved by working together on a cross border level. SME engagement grew during the project as a result and will improve the way we work with our SMEs in the future. The project set out in 2016 with some ambitious targets that we have achieved and in addition, partners are proud to state that the project has made a real impact on the innovation and growth capacity of both SMEs that participated and their own organisations.


    We are especially proud of the fact that PROFIT not only succeeded in creating relevant tools, a framework for innovation & an innovation strategy, but also entailed effective realisations. DNAs are used, Action Plans & Innovation Plans are being implemented. In all regions policy makers are joining forces with SMEs to implement PROFIT results. On top of that we also managed to stimulate SMEs to make new investments! Thanks to PROFIT we were able to actively support changes in the field.



    Visit Kent Limited

    Essex County Council

    ADRT Pas-de-Calais Tourisme

    Organisation internationale du tourisme social (OITS)

    Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Côte d'Opale

    HZ University of Applied Sciences

    N.V. Economische Impuls Zeeland


    Output title
    URL / Download


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Approach for training and coaching businesses

    Type: Method/service
    Target: Business support organisations


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Strategy with action plan to stimulate innovation in SMES

    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Cross-border innovation network for SMEs

    Type: Network
    Target: SMEs /enterprises


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Sustainable Innovation methodology (service design) for SMEs in the visitor economy

    Type: Method/service
    Target: SMEs /enterprises


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Digital interactive data-analysis platform consultable by SMEs through personalised dashboards

    Type: e-infrastructure/online tool
    Target: SMEs /enterprises


    Thema: Support to innovationServices to SMEs

    Digital Innovation Toolkit with practical advice and inspiration for SMEs

    Type: e-infrastructure/online tool
    Target: SMEs /enterprises