26 April 2022

The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) organised a new Geographical Chapter Meeting (GCM) on 29 March 2022, this time taking place in Spain. This meeting brought together 16 Spanish municipalities and hosted excellent discussions among the participants.

Cities attending included Algeciras, Alicante, Alcobendas, Alcoy, Barcelona, Cartagena, Castellón de la Plana, Gava, Gijón, Granada, Las Rozas, Logroño, Molina de Segura, Pamplona, Terrassa, Torrent. The event was moderated by Dolores Ordóñez (AnySolution, Tourism track coordinator, Lead Expert of Cartagena) and welcomed Dana Eleftheriadou (Team Leader for Cities and Proximity Economy, DG GROW, European Commission), Maria José Menduiña (KPMG Spain), Maialen Pérez (Senior Consultant, Technopolis Group, ICC Coordination Team), Victor Badorrey (SEGITTUR & National Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism), José Luis Bezares (National Ministry of Digital Transformation) and Juan Ortells (AnySolution).

The purpose of the meeting was for the participants to exchange ideas and share best practices on three main areas: Tourism, the role of Data and Local Green Deals. The participants also had a chance to learn more about funding opportunities from the National Resilience and Recovery Plans (NRRP) and other EU and national projects.

Key outcomes

A series of new ideas and tangible outcomes came from the event, which included:

  • Discussions on tourism focused on the importance of Smart Destinations as crucial for the digital and sustainable transformations of cities. On this subject, the Spanish National Strategy was presented along with inspiring examples from ICC cities.
  • Participants shared best practices on tourism, noting the importance of working in a holistic manner and involving all relevant actors from the local ecosystem. This was highlighted by the cities of Cartagena and Granada, which successfully implemented plans for sustainable tourism.
  • The participants also learned about the Spanish National Ministry of Digital Transformation’s new Data Strategy. The discussion highlighted great examples on how cities are using data, as well as multiple national data initiatives.
  • Furthermore, Several initiatives linking innovation, mobility and sustainability were presented, focusing on how the cities, including ICC member Alcobendas, implemented these initiatives in their local context.
  • To conclude, cities learned about opportunities for funding, including the most relevant calls from NextGenEU Funds and other funding sources at the Spanish national level.

Looking forward

An evaluation of the meeting highlights that the ICC cities found it relevant to get together at national level, as this allowed them to surpass language barriers and facilitate contributions to discussions. The cities also appreciated learning about funding opportunities along with concrete examples. Finally, ICC cities participating this GCM were thrilled that lots of relevant and insightful examples were presented.

The ICC is pleased to see that these meetings are relevant for the cities and is looking forward to seeing further collaboration and achievements.