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CAST COVID-19 Survey for Business Support Organisations: Impact, Solutions, and the Future Ahead

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Tourism plays a major role in the EU economy. According to the European Commission, it is the third largest socio-economic activity in the EU and has an overall positive impact on economic growth and employment[1].

The tourism economy has been heavily hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the new issue of the World Tourism Barometer from the United Nations, international tourist arrivals dropped by 65% during the first half of the year[2]. Cost on the sector up to May 2020 was already three times higher than the one of 2009 Global Economic Crisis and it is predicted that that 120 million jobs are at risk, with economic damage likely to exceed over $1 trillion[3].

The impact of the crisis is being felt throughout the entire tourism ecosystem. As the pandemic is affecting tourist behaviour and preferences in short and long-term, the future seems to be more digital, more sustainable and with less business travels. Beyond immediate measures to support the tourism sector provided by each individual countries, at a more local level, business support organisations are also adapting their services to help tourism entrepreneurs react and sustain their businesses.

For this reason, CAST network, in collaboration with EBN, is promoting a survey to assess the financial and operational challenges faced by entrepreneurship centres (Business Innovation Centres, Accelerators, Science and Technology Parks, Development Agencies, etc..) as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak. The research aims to also highlight the solutions proposed to help support startups and entrepreneurs cope with the situation.

The results of the survey will be published in the upcoming joint EBN – CAST Technical Note, “The Future of Incubation”, which will focus on the role of entrepreneurship support centres in the post-COVID scenario and will include best practices for incubators, accelerators, and other types of centres in the tourism sector.

Please click here to start the survey. Share the challenges and solutions you seek for your organisation with the network and receive a copy of the Technical Note in your mailbox.


CAST Project is co-funded by the COSME program of the European Commission under GA n.806917


[1] World Tourism Organization (2018), European Union Tourism Trends, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI: https://doi.org/10.18111/9789284419470

[2] International tourist numbers down 65% in first half of 2020, UNWTO reports. Available at : https://www.unwto.org/news/international-tourist-numbers-down-65-in-first-half-of-2020-unwto-reports

[3]COVID-19 could set the global tourism industry back 20 years. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/pandemic-covid19-tourism-sector-tourism/

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