The what, who, when and how of the Call for Proposals for Subgrants of the Med Pearls project

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Funded by the European Union under the ENI CBC Med Programme, the Med Pearls project has recently launched a Call for Proposals for Subgrants for the creation of Slow Tourism products across the 6 Mediterranean countries of Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Palestine and Spain. But with great opportunities come also important questions that need to be answered: who can apply for the subgrant? What is expected from my application? What do I need to deliver in this initial stage?

With the goal of dispelling some of these doubts, in this article we will try to shed some light on the main aspects you should have in mind when applying to this Call for Proposals, and give answers to the classic questions: What? Who? When? Where? and How?

  • What is the Med Pearls Call for Proposals for the Creation of Slow Tourism Products?

One of the main goals of the Med Pearls project is to create a network of Slow Tourism experiences across the Mediterranean countries as an alternative tourist model for the future of the region. To do it, the Call for Proposals of the Med Pearls project will support incoming travel agencies that would like to develop slow tourism products in the following 13 Mediterranean territories: El-Montaza and the lakes of Mariout and Edku in Alexandria (Egypt), Bethlehem and Jenin in Palestine, Deir Alla/Jordan Valley and As-Salt in Jordan, Veria/Imathia and the Olympus/Pieria areas in Thessaloniki (Greece), Sabina Reatina and the Sicilian Etna/Alcantara Valley in Italy, and the counties of Anoia, Les Garrigues and Ribera d'Ebre in Catalonia (Spain).

These companies will contribute to develop this network of 26 Slow Tourism products that will share similar characteristics, follow the Slow Tourism spirit and offer equivalent and fully adapted experiences in the different countries. Thus, in order to be eligible for the grant and participate, companies will need to submit their ideas on new slow tourism products to be implemented in the target areas.

  • Who and what companies is it addressed to?

This Call for Proposals is open for Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and/or Incoming Travel Agencies, as the main recipients of the grants need to be in charge of the creation and implementation of the product. Other kind of companies like NGOs, museums and tourism attractions, accommodation companies, etc., cannot directly apply for the sub grants. However, they could be part of the resulting tourist products since each travel company applying needs to involve stakeholders from the territory in the final products.

  • When and where is the Call for Proposals taking place?

The application period is already open for all the territories and will remain so till the 30th of September 2021 at 18.00 (CET). This will be the maximum date to send proposals and from here the evaluation process will start. All applications will need to be sent online with the requested form that you will find following the links of the next question.

  • How can your company apply?

The different applications or proposals will need to be submitted via the following links and using the specific document templates that can be found there. Here you have the different links to be used depending on the destination you would like to work on. Furthermore, the pages of the same links will also provide you with the Applicant Package, the criteria for eligibility, as well as other documents that will need to be reviewed in order to apply: 

 

  • Watch this step-by-step video guide on the use of the ONCAT submission platform (for all territories except for Catalonia)

 

  • And this is the step-by-step video guide on the platform to use for Catalonia:

 

Other FAQs (click on each question to see the reply)

Q1. In my proposal, do I need to submit a fully defined tourism product to apply for the subgrants? 

A1. On the contrary, the subgrants applicants need to provide enough information for proposal evaluation, but not an already defined tourism product. In order to do so, the applicants should reply to the different sections of the application form with the main ideas of the tourism product they intend to develop and with other information such as sustainability aspects, timeline to implement the work to be done, stakeholders and companies they intend to involve in the process, etc. 

Once the subgrants are awarded is when the recipients will have up to 6 months to develop the products in detail and have them ready to start the commercialisation and promotion process that will also be supported by the Med Pearls project through additional actions.

Q2. In the Guidelines for Applicants is mentioned that the applicant must list in their application at least 5 tourism companies/service providers from the pilot area (related to accommodation, Slow Tourism experiences, transportation, gastronomy, culture, etc.) proposed to be part of the final product. What if I cannot find 5 suitable companies specifically based in the pilot area where I want to develop the product?

A2. Slow Tourism products must have a positive impact in the territory and should work with tourism service providers from the territory as much as possible in order to be sustainable. If for any reason the applicant cannot find that minimum of 5 companies from the pilot area to be part of the final product, the applicant must explain in the application the reason for this and list the companies that he/she proposes instead.  

Q3. Do we need to formalise our commitment to include companies from the territory in the final tourism product?

A3. As part of the application package there is a declaration of intent to include those companies in the final tourist product as service providers. However, no legal formalisation is required to apply for the subgrants.

Q4. Is it possible to arrange a consortium/partnership of entities in order to apply for the Subgrants?

A4. No, only companies constituted as incoming travel agencies can apply for the Subgrants.

Q5. If I am awarded with a subgrant, can I outsource the conceptualisation, planning and management tasks to create the slow tourism product?

A5. Awarded companies can only outsource the specific services for professional translation of product material and audio-visual production. As per rules of the subgrants, the companies applying must oversee themselves the conceptualisation, planning and management of the slow tourism product. The actions to develop the subsidised activity itself, cannot be subcontracted.

Q6. I have prepared a draft proposal in a document with other sections and format, can I send this document to be considered as my application?

A6. No, only proposals submitted following the formats provided in the Applicants Packages will be considered. Additionally, handwritten proposals are not accepted.

Q7. Is it possible to include activities outside of the country’s pilot areas in the product proposal?

A7. Yes, provided that the proposal features one of the Pilot Areas, it is possible to include activities or overnight stays in neighbouring areas, specially for long stay packages (see 2.1.2 from Guidelines for Applicants). In Egypt for example, one of the pilot areas is the Lakes Edku/Mariout area. It is therefore eligible to add also activities in the area of the Lake Burullus which is directly adjoining that pilot area.

Q8. Are there any lump sums foreseen for daily allowance or accommodation to be used when building the budget proposal?

A8. No, all the costs of the subgrant are reimbursed based on actual cost incurred. However, there are some limits to be respected and these are listed on the third tab of Annex B. Budget file "Ceilings Daily Subsistence". (In the case of Catalonia, those limits can be found on the "Bases de la convocatòria" text).

Participants may use those ceilings as a guide to build their budget but only actuals costs will be reimbursed and up to those limits.

Q9. I am a one-man business and therefore I don't have a payslip as such. How do I calculate my hourly cost in that case?

A9. Since the reimbursement of costs must be based on actual costs, participants in such situation are recommended to use the applicable collective agreement rates of their countries, and if this does not exist, they must calculate their costs based on their income as managers taking into account the last year income (or if due to COVID-19 they had little activity, then taking as reference 2019). Subgrantees may likely need to show evidence of this calculation to the Evaluation Committee and/or Project/Programme auditors.

In the case of Catalonia, all candidates must use the applicable collective agreement as stated in "Bases de la convocatòria".

 

STAY TUNED!!

Furthermore, different webinars will be organised early in September to support the applicants in their participation to the Calls for Proposals. In the meantime you can submit any questions through the functionality provided at: medpearls.oncat.eu

 


Check regularly: www.enicbcmed.eu/projects/med-pearls

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