From 4 to 7 December, the Northeast of Portugal will host the first international forum on Tourism, Smart Cities and ICT
It will be in Portugal, but not in Lisbon; nor in Oporto. The appointment will be even further, further up on the map: the former province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, a Portuguese historic region located in the northeast of the country, on the border with the Autonomous Communities in Spain, namely Galicia and Castilla y León. There, from 4 to 7 December, the cities of Bragança and Mirandela will host Smart Travel•14,the first international forum on Smart Destinations, which will bring together world specialists in the sector of the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) applied to the Tourism, in all its areas.
With this initiative, the organization of the event aims to share knowledge, experiences, and smart solutions, on a global scale, from a geographical location as it is the district of Bragança, perhaps little known but, however, owner of an enormous tourism potential to develop. The idea is that, from a low density territory as it is this area of north-eastern Portugal, smart solutions created by local initiative can serve as an excellent example to the concepts universally accepted: the entrepreneurial spirit, the technical innovation and the entrepreneurial boldness.
The official presentation of this first Smart Travel•14, to be held in December, took place on 16 July in the paradise Pegada’s Crag RiverBeach (municipality of Macedo de Cavaleiros, district of Bragança), considered one of the Seven Portuguese Wonders. The Mayors of the Cities (municipalities) of Bragança, Hernâni Dias, and of Mirandela, Antonio Branco, accompanied by the Chairman of Corane, Artur Nunes, and Desteque, Duarte Moreno were present here.
The coraNE (Association for the Development of the Northeastern Councils) and the Desteque (Association for the Development of the ‘Hot Land’ councils) are two Local Action Groups (GAL), representative of nine municipalities, that promote projects so that these beautiful and unknown North-eastern Portuguese lands can be ‘rediscovered’ and distinguish themselves, in terms of modernity, through the promotion of local development. For this reason, nothing better than join the organization of Smart Travel·14 with the double aim of capacitate and promote the territory. With its support and the ON.2 and QREN, the European Regional Development Fund of the EU was convinced, in order to make this project a reality, which was created and developed by the innovative agency Conteúdo Chave, Ltd (Vitor Pereira and Ana Fragoso).
“Smart Travel·14 will open a window of opportunity to solve the problems of the territories of low population density,” highlighted Artur Nunes. “We intend to be nurtured by capacity to achieve success in the future”“This is a great opportunity to put into practice the sentence ‘think globally, act locally’. This international congress will bring to our territory the latest knowledge,” pointed out, for its part, Duarte Moreno. “We believe in the northeast of Portugal and we are confident that this occasion will make us better”.
In the Mayors’ turn, stated Dias (Bragança): “We know the tourist potential of our territory; now, what we need to do is to enable ourselves with the new technologies”. “We are in a global world and we have to think in a global way”, he added. “In a European context without borders, the strategies based on innovation and sustainability are the best way to generate wealth, employment and development”.
In relation to António Branco (Mirandela), he said: “We hope that this congress will contribute to the necessary and urgent definition of development strategies for our future. This is an opportunity not only for ourselves, but for the whole territory of Portugal too”.
Contact, share, experiment
This discussion forum on Smart destinations that will be Smart Travel·14 has as main objective to share territorial experiences between companies, associations and municipalities. Recognized technology and innovation experts (see box), will contribute with their knowledge with the purpose of guiding participants toward success in the business, the creation of commercial networks and in the management of products and destinations, in a smart way.
The Smart Travel·14 project has, as its basic objective, to open the path to innovation, so that companies and cities become more competitive and efficient. In this way, in the Conferences will be sought to identify opportunities to promote technological innovation and economic and business sustainability, with special emphasis on the tourism sector. In this sense, it is also intended to be a meeting point for representatives of cities, hotels, tourist entertainers, agencies, restaurants, students, technology and innovation companies, etc. that need to find differentiating solutions, capable of making their territory able to compete in the new markets.
Smart Travel·14 will have two alternative centres during those four days in December: the Municipal Theatre of Bragança and the Technology and Management School of Mirandela. It will be four days in which the entire region of Trás-os-Montes will become an international forum on Smart Destinations, whose findings and messages will reach the entire world, providing new ideas and innovative knowledge.
The forum will count with a panel of top-notch international speakers. Among those who are already announced and, in the absence of any information to complete the entire panel of speakers scheduled, the following are worthy of note:
- Íñigo de la Serna: Mayor of Santander; Chairman of Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI)
- Boyd Cohen: Urban Strategist and Specialist in the area of Sustainable Development of Smart Cities
- Steve Lewis: Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Living PlanIT
- Manel Sanromà: Manager of the Barcelona City Council Municipal Institute of Information Technology
- Lorenzo Cantoni: President of IFITT; Profesor at USI Lugano
- Clara Soler: Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Turistícate; Social Media Strategist
- Alexandre Nilo Fonseca: Chairman of ACEPI; Head of Marketing at Controlinveste Group
- Rob Adams: Chief Executive Officer of Six Fingers; Strategy and Operations Consulting