ESA title

Space for Tourism

  • Activity Feasibility Study, Demonstration Project
  • Opening date 25-04-2022
  • Closing date 31-12-2023



Tourism is a large contributor to many national economies; according to statistics prior to the pandemic, the sector would directly contribute on average with 4.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 21.5% of service exports in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries [OECD Tourism trend Policies, 2020].

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the actions and countermeasures being undertaken to limit its spread, have altogether triggered an unprecedented crisis in the tourism economy, whose impact is spreading throughout the entire tourism ecosystem and beyond, with foreseen long-lasting societal and economic effects. Beyond the tangible and short-term consequences to the tourism sector, the pandemic is expected to have a knock-on effect on travellers’ behaviour. Travellers will need to be reassured of safety during travels as well as at their destinations. To accomplish this, a concerted set of actions involving both private and public sector has to be undertaken to elevate new safety, health and hygiene standards, and give visibility of well-thought processes to objectively assess those. 

Despite the challenges, such crisis creates the opportunity to rethink tourism and promote a structural transformation of this sector towards a stronger, more sustainable, and resilient tourism economy. Connectivity and digital transformation are required for the sector to initiate such a purposeful innovative journey while responding to the COVID-19 challenges. Initial indications are that the current crisis is accelerating the digital transformation of the sector. Digital solutions are being developed to create live tourism experiences and will be increasingly deployed to support virtual experience for remote destinations. 

In this context, ESA has issued this Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to support the development of space-based services enabled by innovative digital solutions to encourage tourism and travel industry in their transition to the new normal.

ESA has been in discussions with key stakeholders in the tourism sector to understand and capture their needs. These include the Municipality of Florence, CapsuleT - Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Mirpuri Foundation, Visit Flanders, Andermatt Swiss Alps, Expedia Group, Global Himalayan Expediation (GHE), Entertainment Cluster & Welcome City Lab - Paris&Co, Athens International Airport, World Tourism Forum Lucerne, the Municipality of Athens, the Institute of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (INSETE).

Download our webinar sides and the scope document in the Downloads section to learn more about this opportunity.

Key Focus Areas

Examples of focus areas relevant to the AO are potential space technologies to accelerate good practices towards sustainable development that will help the tourism sector reach the Agenda 2030, such as:

Use of digital and connectivity solutions to help the sector embrace new business models required in post – COVID 19, focusing on: 

  • Shift towards unmanned transportation, increased use of automation and robots
  • Support rural tourism by promoting remote experiences
  • Provide always-on/ everywhere connectivity to travellers
  • Support traveller’s experience sharing and active engagement with rural communities

Seamless travel:

Technology and services to ensure transparency and traceability according to relevant protocols (including border controls) and enable efficient implementation of new regulations.

Safe travel:

Applications and services to help tourism sector become more resilient to natural/man-made disasters and health issues. Catering for new customers’ behaviours, the sector needs to embrace new solutions and business models to promote the safety of the destination. This is expected to be largely supported by seamless (always-on) connectivity and digitalisation. Always-on connectivity will re-ensure travellers of assistance for unforeseen circumstances; digital solutions will be required to provide factual evidence of safety of local destinations including social distancing; fast response tools and services have to be further developed in order to respond to various types of emergencies (including medical). New solutions are also required to monitor spread of new diseases at various scales - from regional/ cities to touristic resort settings. 

Guide investments and measuring impact  

  • Public and private investments need to support the tourism sector and keep on innovating and transforming. Major investments will be needed to make structural and physical changes to address health requirements and respond to changed travel behaviours.
  • Measure the net impact of tourism - focusing on rural tourism (tourism as a catalyst to sustainably and responsibly support rural community’s upliftment) as well as investments and planning, including tourism seasonality, trends monitoring, managing and mitigating risks. 

About The Opportunity

ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects under this ‘Announcement of Opportunities’:

  • Feasibility Studies will allow successful teams to analyse, design and plan their intended service. 
  • Demonstration Projects will allow successful teams to put their intended service into practice. Teams will test their service in the market by running a pilot with significant users and, by the end of the project, the service should be operational.

Value Of Space 


Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO)  

SatEO data (both SAR and optical) can be used to monitor and plan infrastructure (e.g. buildings, road network, parking lots, airports) as well as identifying visitors’ patterns. SatEO can also be used to monitor land cover changes over time (e.g. in both rural and city level, wild habitats, forest, land, water, etc.). 

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (SatNav) 

SatNav is essential to track and trace tourists and search and rescue teams. SatNav can also enable visitor flow-monitoring and location-based services to geo-localise points of interest in the tourist maps and to enable geo-fencing and time-fencing features. In addition, GNSS receivers and sensors can be installed in the tourist sites to be used as complementary ground surface deformation measurement points to EO data.

Satellite Communications (SatCom) 

SatCom is essential to ensure communications for any of the above data services enabled whenever the terrestrial communications are absent or not reliable. In particular, hybrid 5G space/ terrestrial communication networks may be required to support digital solutions e.g. in the field of mobile immersive applications.

It is mandatory to develop solutions based on at least one space asset. If relevant, other technologies such as Augmented/ Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning, can be integrated in the end-to-end solution.

What We Offer

We offer funding and support to companies, both for business case assessment and for the development of new, space-based services.

Our offer includes:

  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network and partners
  • Use of the ESA brand for your service
  • Zero-equity funding

ESA will bear up to 50% of the eligible total project or study costs. The remainder must be financed by the Tenderer through private sector directly and/or indirectly via co-funding and/or by the users based on terms and conditions to be agreed upon.

Activities by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises or research institutions can be funded up to 80% by the Agency, depending on the funding level authorised by the related National Delegation(s).

Who Can Apply

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

The ‘Space for Tourism’ thematic call is issued under both the ARTES BASS and 5G Programme lines, the latter specifically subject to technical/business justifications on the use of hybrid SatCom – terrestrial (wired or wireless) and 5G networks. Greek companies' participation is limited to the 5G SPL only, and subject to Greek National Delegation approval.

How To Apply

  1. Register your team on esa star Registration ( today! If your team is made up of more than one company or organisation, each member will need to register.
  2. Scroll down to the ‘Downloads’ section of this webpage to download all of the official documents. Official documents include a document explaining the Scope of this opportunity and the past 2 webinars hosted by ESA.
  3. Download the Activity Pitch Questionnaire template and Submit your pitch as instructed in the Activity Pitch Questionnaire guidelines, through the form online.​
  4. ESA will evaluate your Pitch. Teams whose Pitches are positively evaluated will be invited to prepare an Outline Proposal and then a Full Proposal. Teams must obtain a Letter of Authorisation from their respective National Delegation before submitting a Full Proposal. Contact details of all National Delegates can be found here: National Delegation(s).


Webinar #1

26 January 2022, 11:00 CET - 12:30 CET


  • Davide Coppola (ESA)
  • Mina Syriou (ESA)

Guest speakers:

  • Martin Barth - World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL)
  • Elena Cholakova - World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL)
  • Ana Agostinho - Mirpuri Foundation
  • Alfred Schumm - World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Martina von Münchhausen - World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Paras Loomba – Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE)
  • Katerina Saridaki – CapsuleT, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH)
  • Steven Valcke – Toerisme Vlaanderen – VISIT FLANDERS
  • Thomas Landis – Andermatt Swiss Alps AG
  • Laurent Queige – Entertainment Cluster & Welcome City Lab  - Paris&Co

Webinar #2

07 September 2022, 15:00 CEST - 16:00 CEST


  • Mina Syriou (ESA)

Guest speakers:

  • Mia Jafari – Interlak Hub & Programmes Manager, Emirates Group
  • Paras Loomba – Founder at Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE)
  • Vassiliki Mavrokefalou - Director Market Management at Expedia Group