European Regional Development Fund

Any donor
European Union
Geographical focus: 
Thematic focus: 
Tourism in general
Tourism and Culture
Trade, Investment and Competitiveness in Tourism
Social inclusion and Poverty reduction in Tourism
Intro text: 
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was established in 1975 as one of the European Structural Funds. It aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. The ERDF is administered by the European Commission, DG Regional Policy.

Official website  

Geographic focus


Who can apply?

 All legal persons, for example:

  • SMEs;
  • Foundations; and
  • NGOs, etc.

Objectives and activities

Objective: The ERDF focuses its investments on several key priority areas. This is known as ‘thematic concentration’.


  • Innovation and research;
  • The digital agenda;
  • Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and
  • The low-carbon economy.

Type of tourism-related actions eligible for funding:

  • ERDF provides essential support to improve the competitiveness and quality of tourism at regional and local levels, notably in areas in (industrial/rural) decline or those undergoing urban regeneration.
  • Projects related to sustainable tourism: increase in expected number of visits to supported sites of cultural and natural heritage and attraction.
  • Example: Shift-X: A transnational cooperation project is addressing the bad image of former industrial sites, helping them reap the benefits of their cultural heritage.

Type and level of funding

The total financial resources amount to EUR 183.3 billion for the period 2014–2020. The type and level of funding vary across Programmes, depending on the needs and choices of each Member State.

The ERDF allocation may be disbursed through grants to individual recipients and consortia; loans, venture capital and credit guarantees through financial instruments; or public procurement (for support services, feasibility studies, etc.).

In order to receive the European funding, the project must meet a number of criteria. The applicants must present the benefits of their project for economic development and regeneration, and that without the financial support of the ERDF; their project cannot be carried out.