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Tourism and hospitality contribute substantially to the economic growth and employment in the Black Sea Basin due to a favourable mix of rich natural and cultural recourses, skilled labour and competitive prices. It is, however, affected by the main common regional challenges such as climate change, rapid overexploitation of the resources and increasing workforce shortage. In addition, the 2020 pandemic challenged hospitality industry all over the world and raised the need for new approaches in the governance and management of all sectors related to it

Modern tourists become increasingly demanding not only in terms of quality of services, but also in terms of innovative ways of enjoying destinations and of spending their leisure time. The new trend is known as “experiential tourism” and refers to those forms of travelling in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture and participate actively in the experience-creation process. In that, technologies affect experiential travel by far.

PRO EXTOUR is a project that aims to promote experiential tourism as a sustainable development pathway for tourism business in the BSB by valorising the potential of the indigenous heritage and culture, innovative solutions and cross-border cooperation. The project is a joint initiative of three higher education institutions with established applied research expertise in tourism – Varna University of Management (BG), Yerevan State University (AR) and Thessaloniki University (GR), a cultural networking organisation – the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre (GE), and regional hospitality cluster – the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Association (BG).

The project will bring about

- a regional needs assessment report and action plan for encouraging the heritage and culture-based experiential tourism in the BSB,

- inventories of business models, heritage- and culture-based activities and events,

- an on-line repository of resources and tools for experiential tourism,

- a cross-border network of Black Sea Hubs on experiential tourism,

- international conferences and fair on digital technologies, heritage- and culture-based experiential tourism in the BSB.

The transnational cooperation has a high added value since it mobilises the capacity of the regional actors and leads to tailor-made solutions, economic and social viability in tourism and hospitality.

PRO EXTOUR stands for “Promoting Heritage- and Culture-based Experiential Tourism in the Black Sea Basin”. The project is implemented between 1.06.2020 and 30.11.2022 with the support of the ENI CBC Black Sea Basin Programme 2014-2020 and a budget of 913 380.00 Euro.