Sustainable mobility and tourism challenges were debated in the webinar «NAPOCTEP: Sustainable Mobility for Responsible Tourism» during the European Green Week 2021

  • The online event organised by Finnova for the European Green Week took place on Tuesday 1 June
  • The bike was the highlighted transport as the sustainable alternative for the tourism of the future
  • In the event the application of sustainable mobility alternatives to cultural tourism such as the Napoleonic Routes was discussed
Banner webinar NAPOCTEP: Sustainable Mobility for Responsible Tourism

Brussels, 02.06.2021. – On Tuesday 1 June 2021 at 16:00 (CEST), the Finnova Foundation organised in the framework of the European Green Week #EUGreenWeek the webinar «NAPOCTEP: Sustainable Mobility for Responsible Tourism», with the objective of addressing sustainable ways of transport applied to cultural tourism in general, and to the Napoleonic Routes in particular for the development of an environmentally responsible tourism.

The European Green Week 2021, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, will take place from 31 May to 4 June 2021 with the motto: «Zero Pollution», which also coincides with a key action of the European Green Deal. This annual event, which is an opportunity to discuss European environmental policy, will feature online events in all EU member states.

The webinar «NAPOCTEP: Sustainable Mobility for Responsible Tourism» addressed the challenges and opportunities related to the latest developments in sustainable mobility aiming the recovery of the sector and the economic reactivation after the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Networking was encouraged in order to contribute to innovation in the tourism sector, as well as to illustrate how companies can be boosted by European funds in their transition towards sustainability.

The webinar was moderated by Juanma Revuelta, CEO of Finnova, partner foundation of the NAPOCTEP programme within the Interreg Portugal-Spain project. In line with the motto of the European Green Week 2021 «Zero Pollution», Revuelta presented the LIFE Ecodigestion 2.0 programme, an initiative to transform putrescible organic waste from the horeca sector (food waste, etc.) into biogas at each water treatment plant, which can be converted into fuel for vehicles such as tourist buses or food delivery vans.

Cristina Arregui, beneficiary of the Interreg Volunteer Youth programme and part of Finnova’s European projects team, opened the webinar by presenting NAPOCTEP, a project on cultural tourism approved in the 2nd Interreg POCTEP Call (Spain-Portugal) that seeks to create economic opportunities through the development of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Itinerary «Destination Napoleon» based on the figure of Napoleon for the bicentenary of his death, turning the heritage of the time of the French invasions into a quality tourism product. This cross-border project implemented by a consortium of 8 Spanish and Portuguese partners and launched in July 2019 has a total budget of 711.000 euros and two years to run.

According to Arregui, «the project has a strong call for sustainability from the outset, and is committed to the use of sustainable ways of transport to carry out the routes».

Arregui also detailed the possibilities offered by the Next Generation EU funds, a recovery instrument that will allocate to the EU budget a new financiation obtained on the financial markets during the period 2021-2024 and which has a total of 750.000 million euros.

Susana Noriega, technician at the Fundación Siglo para el Turismo y las Artes de la Junta de Castilla y León, stated that «the dynamisation of these cycle touring routes promotes the impulse of sustainable and responsible tourism, providing regional and other national itineraries, as is the case of Eurovelo 1 as an excellent proposal, since the routes are designed for the use and enjoyment of both cycle tourists and the local population, for their daily and leisure journeys».

Afterwards, Ana Raquel Machado, technician of Rota Histórica das Linhas de Torres, dedicated her speech to the presentation of pedestrian and mountain bike routes in Portugal, including the Wellington route, which is part of NAPOCTEP. «Through the creation of these Napoleonic routes and the fact that Portugal and Spain are making this new tourist product known, a great deal of economic and business activity is generated«.

The mayoress of Alba de Tormes, María Concepción Miguélez, presented the Via Verde del Tormes, also a partner of NAPOCTEP, because this town was the scene of Napoleonic battles in the early 1800s, as was the neighbouring town of Arapiles, a historical site included in this route. By supporting cycle tourism on these routes and by maintaining the vegetation, which has become a habitat for different families of butterflies, Miguélez assured that «we are providing added value by promoting sustainable bicycle tourism with 21 km of greenway passing through Salamanca, so we are creating jobs, one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations».

Iván González, CEO of the bicycle travel agency Kolotrip, highlighted the importance of adapting accommodation, routes and restaurants to cycle tourism with places to store bikes or spaces to make repairs, for example. González mentioned: «This is a form of tourism that involves all kinds of aspects and is not just about cycling. The bicycle is just an excuse to travel. It’s not about racing, but about going at one’s own time and enjoying the road».

Pau Sendra, CEO of Waynabox, presented this Finnova-accelerated company, winner of the 2017 StartUp Europe Award for tourism, which organises surprise trips in Europe as an example of good practices in sustainable tourism. Waynabox takes advantage of free spaces in accommodation and airplanes to create a weekend trip formula for two people in which the final destination is not known until two days before, an initiative that makes it possible to optimise the large emissions generated by air transport, because «a plane uses the same fuel with empty seats».

Finally, Alejandro Acosta, co-founder of Electric Car Tour, a company that offers guided tours in 100% electric cars in Malaga, said: «The travellers drives the vehicle themselves while our local guides accompany them in another vehicle and tell interesting facts about the city through the car’s audio system. It is a cultural and leisure experience, as the traveller experiences a different view of the city».

To close the event, Íñigo Bilbao, coordinator of the NAPOCTEP project at Finnova, congratulated the speakers and celebrated the fact that «the project, which has been running for two years now, is maturing and creating synergies between the partners and developing ideas together».

Couldn’t assist to this event? You can watch it here.

About NAPOCTEP

The NAPOCTEP project: Napoleonic Routes in Spain and Portugal is a project framed within the Interreg V-A Programme of Cross-border Cooperation Spain-Portugal POCTEP and whose purpose is to enhance the cultural heritage of the Napoleonic period, through the creation of Napoleonic routes in Spain and Portugal, specifically in the Central region of Portugal and the westernmost provinces of Castilla y León, generating an innovative and attractive tourist product, generating economic activity and employment in an area affected by depopulation.

The project will have a planned duration of two years (2019-2021), with a total investment of 711.000 euros co-financed by the European Commission within the Interreg POCTEP programme.

About the Finnova Foundation

Spanish-Belgian foundation for the financing of innovation, whose objectives are to promote public-private cooperation through innovation to address societal challenges such as employment, training, entrepreneurship, the UN SDGs, the circular economy, etc. In its commitment to innovation, Finnova has been organising the Startup Europe Awards since 2016, an initiative of the European Commission’s DG Connect.

Finnova, headquartered in Belgium and Spain, has its own delegations in Chile and Panama. In Spain, it is present in the Valencian Community, the Basque Country, Andalusia, the Community of Madrid and the Canary Islands.

About Next Tourism Generation

Next Tourism Generation is a platform promoted by Finnova with specific information for the tourism sector, which will lead the way out of the crisis and lay the foundations for a modern, digital and sustainable Europe in the field of tourism, offering information on calls for proposals and grants for this sector, as well as news of interest.