Tourism and leisure entrepreneurs aiming to become more sustainable can get help from University of Greenwich business experts, thanks to a €593,598 grant.
Jin Chan, from the university's Business School, is leading the Greenwich team in a scheme that has a total budget of €3.89 million and will develop various practical, accessible, and small-scale pilot projects.
Its aim is to help entrepreneurs in the tourism and leisure sector gain practical knowledge and experience in the transition from linear to "circular practices".
Jin said: "Circular practices are more sustainable. We're looking at tourism in what's known as the Seas region. This covers the coastal areas of England, Flanders, France and the Netherlands which are connected by the Channel and the North Sea.
"According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, this already-popular area will see tourism increase by 5-8%. This will put pressure on the already limited raw materials in the region, where industry, agriculture and tourism are already competing.
"We will be working with Norfolk county council and the project site is Great Yarmouth, one of the high dense tourist destinations (per population). In high session, the tourism sector generates a high volume of waste. Collection and treatment are key challenges for the area, so they are looking for more sustainable practices.
"At Greenwich we will share our knowledge so the council can work with the tourism and hospitality industry's SMEs and entrepreneurs. While the Covid-19 lockdown is painful for the sector, there is an increase in the awareness of the inter-connectivity between businesses and sustainability, in terms of the environment and society.
"We cannot go back to the old way of running business but need to re-orientate to a more sustainable practices.
"The tourism and hospitality sector has been hit hard by the lockdown. But this pandemic has also exposed the importance of the sector to the economy, as well as mental health.
"We will also work with partners in Flanders in Belgium and Zeeland in the Netherlands, who are all gearing up for a busy summer. We will also be advising and mentoring SMEs as they move from business as usual to more circular practices. We expect to work with about 500 stakeholders on this project."
Dr Jin Hooi Chan is leading the Greenwich team, with support from Professor Petros Ieromonachou. Other team members are Professor Dotun Adebanjo, Dr Athena Piterou, Dr Anne-Marie Coles, Dr Chunjia Han, and Dr Anlan Chen, drawing on the department's expertise in sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship, supply chain management, innovative financing initiative, and socio-technical transition processes. The project team includes researchers from two of the Business Faculty's core centres of excellence, NUSC and PEGFA.
United Kingdom: Greenwich University, Norfolk County Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The Netherlands: NV Economische Impuls Zeeland, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Camping en Villapark De Paardekreek, Stichting Strandexploitatie Veere, Avans University of Applied Sciences.
Belgium: Westtoer, De Blauwe Cluster.
France: ADEME (French Environment & Energy Management), The Agglomeration Community of the Sommer Bay.
Interreg 2 Seas
Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme for England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders). The Programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and has a total budget of EUR 241 million to support projects for the period from 2014 to 2020. The objective is to develop an innovative, knowledge and research-based, sustainable and inclusive 2 Seas area, where natural resources are protected, and the green economy is promoted.