Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Promotion via Internet of SME tourism publicity and commerce

The European Commission, DG XVI, has launched a call for proposals to establish a European coordination and transfer structure aimed at promoting the use of electronic publicity and commerce via the Internet network among SMEs operating in the tourism sector and located in the less-favoured regions of the Union.

The Commission is seeking a consortium and a number of contractors for two separate actions as follows:

- Action 1: Establishment of a coordination structure at a European level to help SMEs in less-favoured regions to take advantage of the Internet multimedia capabilities to market effectively their services on a worldwide scale. At a later stage, fully-fledged electronic commerce, including reservation and payment facilities, should also be provided.

To achieve these aims, the selected consortium will establish a coordination structure, at EU level, which will focus on the aggregation of existing local and regional organizations involving SMEs in the tourism sector. It would, ideally, be made up of representatives of organizations from both the supply and demand sides of the proposed structure. The purpose of this coordination structure is to demonstrate the benefits for tourism SME associations of achieving coordination at EU level and thereby to define common standards and attain visibility. In addition, the coordination structure will be in charge of setting up a pilot telematic system gathering, at EU level, the offers supplied by the SMEs operating in the sector. This action will last for 36 months;

- Action 2: Establishment and operation of regional or local agents to concentrate and manage the offer of tourism SME services on the Internet. The contractors, who should be backed by a significant number of local SMEs, will establish regional or local Internet servers to coordinate their local SMEs' link to the structure established under Action 1; this may be done with the assistance of a technical partner. They will ensure the promotion, coordination and management of the initiative in the local area. This action will last for 18 months.

These actions are funded by the SME Community Initiative Reserve of Technical Assistance (DG XVI) and the Information Society initiatives (DG XIII), as follows:

- Action 1 will receive 100% funding for eligible costs from the EC;
- Action 2 will be jointly funded by the EC and the local or regional organizations concerned.

Applicants are required to provide detailed information demonstrating their ability as regards specific objectives. These criteria are listed in the call for proposals, which may be obtained from the Commission.

An information day will take place on 12 July 1996, at the Centre A. Borschette, 36 rue Froissart, B-1040 Brussels, from 09.30 to 13.00.

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