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Boosting the tourism sector in Europe through digital tools and innovation

High-level DIGITOUR project event

13 September 2023, Burgas, Bulgaria

Highlights from DIGITOUR high-level event

On 13 September 2023, in Burgas, Bulgaria, the high-level event of DIGITOUR project took place in hybrid format.

The objective of the event was to share results and knowledge gained through the voucher 1 support scheme of the project, good practices and lessons learned, as well as to demonstrate the collaborations and projects created (voucher 2 support scheme of the project).

By organising this high-level event, the DIGITOUR Consortium aimed to emphasise the importance of the tourism industry and how transnational and cross-sectoral collaboration can help to find novel solutions for efficient and sustainable management, the development of new products and services (which are key to sustainability), and the marketing of tourism offers towards the needs of target customers.

The key message from Antonio Novo Guerrero, president of cluster IDiA and member of the DIGITOUR consortium from the opening session was: “In the heart of digitalisation lies the spirit of collaboration”.

Participants of the DIGITOUR high-level event discussed the importance of the usage of AI chatbots in the hospitality sector and were given an example of best practice by Elitza Stoilova, the CEO of Umni, a company providing smart digital assistant solutions for hotels and accommodation providers to solve various challenges.

Before the networking lunch, all participants were invited to ‘break the ice’ and approach each other, introducing themselves and learning more about the others.

The session ended with all attendees sharing their thoughts and the inspiring ideas gained throughout the conversations. Most of the participants highlighted the importance of finding a common language between digital product providers and tourism suppliers.  The second half of the day started with the presentations of the DIGITOUR Voucher 2
beneficiaries, introducing their collaborative projects to the audience. Projects from Italy, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Spain and Serbia were introduced in person and remotely.  

The final panel discussion of the day was dedicated to sustainable solutions and models currently used in the tourism industry. The moderator, Gorazd Cad from Toleranza Marketing, Slovenia, shared his view on modern sustainability strategies and increasing cases of ‘greenwashing’ across the industry. He asked the audience: “To estimate tourism growth, should we measure tourist arrivals and overnight stays, or should we measure degrowth”. At the end of his session, he also concluded:  “Today, there were two clusters of words used throughout the sessions: 1) Innovation, digitalisation, sustainability, strategy
and clusters and 2) Consortium, SMEs, EU Projects, tourism, tools and apps. The combination of these words fully describes the work behind not only the DIGITOUR project but also what stands behind collaboration and shared views”. 

On site, there were 51 participants from the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czechia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain.
In addition, through online connection, the event was attended by representatives from Italy, Germany, and France. 
The total number of participants was 82, including online observers, speakers, and official guests.

All presentations shared during the event could be found in the agenda section.

DIGITOUR project (101038133)” is funded through the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), entrusted by the European Commission, under the COSME Programme COS-TOURINN-2020-3-04.


  • Looked at significant issues across the entire life cycle of DIGITOUR project – from the establishment of its consortium and setting up the objectives, to building networks to reach and engage with the target groups
  • Heard the different points of view – those of the digital providers, beneficiaries (tourism SMEs) and media
  • Looked at which KPIs measure the effectiveness of the project
  • Tried to find solutions for problems or still open issues
  • Set the grounds for future collaboration and use of the products created


The B2B event connected the following target groups:

  • Public sector – local and international
  • Industry Associations – local and international (tourism boards, cvbs)
  • Private sector (SMEs) – local and international, Tourism and ICT sector

This event enabled participants to attend high-level presentations and discussions aimed at improving practical skills, exchanging experience with professionals and companies in the ICT industry and having successful communication with other business circles in Europe. An additional benefit to all participants was the opportunity to attend the Clusters Meet Regions event in Burgas (14 & 15 September), where the DIGITOUR project was additionally presented.


The agenda and presentations are available here.
Download Practical Guidance 

Wednesday, 13.09.2023 (EEST)
Registration and networking coffee

Welcoming and setting up the scene: defining objectives of the event, presenting DIGITOUR Consortium and project.

  • Teodora Jilkova, Veritas Cluster, Member of DIGITOUR Consortium
  • Antonio Novo, President of European Cluster Alliance and Cluster IDiA, member of DIGITOUR consortium
Setting up the scene (defining objectives of the event: results and outcomes, lessons learned throughout the project execution, as well as to discuss the potential for future collaboration and expansion of the activities and networks created)

Welcoming address and presentation of the Bulgarian Convention Bureau 

  • Mr. Emil Shukadarov – Administrative Secretary, Bulgarian Convention

Block I: Digital tools and technologies to improve competitiveness and resilience of Tourism SMEs:

Materials and resources developed under the project and available to SMEs:

  • Overall strategic recommendations related to digitalisation of tourism sector;
  • Catalogue of digital solutions of the tourism sector
  • Understanding the regional tourism context
    And more..
  • Daniel Seron Galindo, Business Advisor, TSAC, member of DIGITOUR consortium – download presentation

Block I: Digital tools and technologies to improve competitiveness and resilience of Tourism SMEs:  

Digital readiness

Block II: Collaboration in action, Part I: DIGITAL MINDS >> welcoming on the stage some of the digital providers, being part of the project implementation, to give their view on the collaboration with tourism SMEs, as well as new products available.

  • Representatives of Digital SMEs

Special guests:

  • Elitza Stoilova, CEO, AI chatbot platform Umni –  download presentation

    Representatives of Digital SMEs

  • Dobri Dobrev, CEO, DoBG Ltd.

Improving digital maturity, skills, and capacities of Tourism SMEs: dynamic Q&A session, giving the floor to tourism SMEs to ask questions and seek solutions from digital providers.

Facilitator of the session: Ludek Kuhr, BizGarden, Member of DIGITOUR consortium

Networking lunch

Block II: Collaboration in action, Part II: TOURISM

(Giving the floor to DIGITOUR Voucher 2 beneficiaries to present their projects and consortia; each presentation will last 4 minutes, following identical format; would be available for on-line and on-site participants)

Moderation: Teodora Jilkova, Veritas Cluster, Member of DIGITOUR Consortium

The final order will be confirmed, based on the status of participation.

Coffee break

Block III: Learning curve > Tutoring and Mentoring.


  • Ludek Kuhr, BizGarden, Member of DIGITOUR consortium
  • Manon Cosson, Magali Pages, ADI-NA, Member of DIGITOUR consortium – download presentation

Inputs and Discussion

  • Genoveva Christova, President Ligna Group, presenting on new solutions for the tourism sector – download presentation
  • Martina Bojanska, General Manager, Metropolitan Hotel Sofia, a member of Radisson Individuals
  • Plamena Bobeva – Director Business Development of TouchMenu, IT start-up company, providing digital solutions for the Hospitality industry

Block IV: Sustainable solutions and effective models
(Cross-sectorial collaboration, attracting and keeping talents, new challenges)

Keynote speech and moderation of the discussion:

Inputs and Discussion:

  • Manuela Milica Graf, Cluster Cultural Routes, Member of DIGITOUR consortium
  • Mr. Petar Dilchev, CEO, Pandion Wild Tours Ltd
  • Ayan Zeynalova, General Manager, AVIAREPS Azerbaijan

Building for the future (an overview of funding instruments available for tourism & creative industries sectors; how SMEs to collaborate better with EEN)

  • Kristiana Kazandzhieva – Agenda European Projects, Managing Partner, Presentation of FLOREO project funded for the INTERREG Greece – Bulgaria cross-border program 2014 – 2020 – download presentation
  • Alvaro Lombardo – Friend CCI – Open Call for SMEs – download presentation
Q & A

Wrap-up, Next Steps & Closing

  • Teodora Jilkova, Veritas Cluster, Member of DIGITOUR Consortium

Networking dinner for all participants.


The event took place in Hotel Bulgaria, Burgas 

Over forty years of hospitality experience combined with innovational spirit and the desire to improve, find their expression in hotel Bulgaria’s philosophy – personal attention, excellent service, and first class comfort.

The hotel is situated in the center of Burgas and offers contemporary and elegant accommodation units, a magnificent Convention center of 380 sq. m., two restaurants & three Bars, a professional SPA center with an indoor swimming pool and fitness facilities, underground parking lots. The beach and the Sea Garden are just 10 minutes away on foot, the central railway and bus station are 100 meters away, and the airport can be reached in 15 minutes by car.

Hotel Bulgaria offers totally 194 signature & comfortable accommodation units, distributed into 30 contemporary Deluxe rooms,one of them for people with special needs, 32 Classical rooms & 121 standards rooms. Themagnificent 6 Deluxe Apartments & 5 Classic apartments at the top floors of the hotel feature inspiring views over the Black Sea, luxury ambience as well as extensive amenities and services.

Hotel Bulgaria Conference Hall boasts with 380 sq. m flexible meeting space. The hall could comfortably accommodate 414 delegates in theatre style seating, 368 pax in Classroom seating, 80 pax in U-shape set up, 300 pax in Banqueting set up, 320 in cocktail style and 82 pax Board meetings. For your privacy and comfort, we also offer two VIP halls, suitable for business meetings, lunches and dinners.  

Our flexible meeting space can accommodate different events from intimate gatherings to receptions for up to 380 guests. Through a mobile modular system, our conference center can be easily divided into four smaller halls with an area of 95 sq. m. Each of them can function completely independently. They in turn can be configured according to the type of event and number of guests. The four multifunctional halls meet all modern standards and requirements.

Pictures – Morning Session

Pictures – Afternoon Session


Hotel Bulgaria, Burgas

Burgars 8000,
str. 'Aleksandrovska' 21
+ 359 56/ 842 6 10
+ 359 56/ 842 820
+ 359 888 64 64 63

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