Finnova successfully holds the sixth session of Next LATAM-EU Generation on new ideas promoting innovation, sustainable development, and the circular economy in tourism

  • The webinar was held within the European Sustainable Development Week 2021 and featured high-level speakers from the EU and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
  • Topics included Latam-EU common goals like the sustainability, inclusion, awareness-raising, innovation, and recovery of tourism.
  • There are three remaining Next LATAM-EU Generation events. The European Commission’s StartUp Europe Awards will be delivered down the line.

Brussels [22/09/2021].

The sixth session of Next LATAM-EU Generation was held within the European Sustainable Development Week on Tuesday 21 September 2021. It focused on exchanging ideas on sustainable development and the circular economy in tourism to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. It underlined the importance of cooperation and the exchange of innovative practices between the EU and Latin America to support a deeply affected sector by Covid – tourism.

Finnova Foundation European Funds Director Juan Viesca kicked off the webinar and chaired the institutional and expert panels. Finnova IT Manager Eduardo Mercado took over later on.

Juan Viesca chaired the first half of the webinar

The institutional panel featured the contributions of Natalia Bayona (video presentation), Director of Innovation, Education and Investments at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Noelia Barriuso, EU-Brazil Policy Dialogues Support Facility. Both speakers encouraged entrepreneurship, training, inclusion, investment and EU-Latam cooperation to ensure a sustainable and resilient tourism sector.

Natalia Bayona, Director of Innovation, Education and Investments at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) (left) and Noelia Barriuso, EU-Brazil Policy Dialogues Support Facility (right)

The second panel was devoted to EU funding programmes, and it was run by Juan Viesca, who discussed economic recovery tools like NextGeneration and the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. Both programmes are available for Latin American countries. Mr Viesca mentioned some projects where Finnova is engaged. These include CirCoAX, a COSME project working to find out circular and social-minded business models in the textile and fashion industries (including textiles in hotels); LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0, a project harnessing wastes to generate energy on an efficient manner, and NAPOCTEP, a project fostering cultural tourism in Napoleonic routes.

The webinar also hosted a roundtable where experts debated about the circular economy and sustainable development in tourism. It featured Eduardo Parra-López, Ex-chair of AECIT – Spanish Association of Scientific Experts on Tourism – and a professor at Universidad de la Laguna; Luis Lehman, Circular Economy and Economic Sustainable Development Consultant; Estrella Torrecilla Crespo, Director-General of Tourism in Castilla y León; Javier Bello Lecuona, Nogal Studios, CEO; and Álvaro Reina, Energy Projects Officer at Finnova Foundation.

Eduardo Parra-López, Ex-chair of AECIT and a Professor at Universidad de la Laguna (left) and Luis Lehman, Circular Economy and Economic Sustainable Development Consultant (right)

As a keynote address, Eduardo Parra-López pointed out that “collective intelligence is increasingly important, which translates to interconnectedness and collaboration to reach a digital and innovative tourism sector”.Luis Lehman, an expert on the circular economy, further added that “it is fundamental to bear in mind all the factors enabling to upgrade the tourism sector and to integrate much-needed innovations”. Estrella Torrecilla stressed that switching current practices into increased sustainable ones may enable to reduce the negative impact of tourism on the environment and to boost destinations, which, according to Javier Bello, should turn to more digital and new technology-based practices. Álvaro Reina considered the tourism sector to be one of the most interesting sectors to implement the circular economy. He also discussed several projects Finnova Foundation is currently involved in.

Estrella Torrecilla Crespo, Director-General of Tourism in Castilla y León (left), Javier Bello Lecuona, Nogal Studios CEO (right), and Álvaro Reina, Energy Projects Officer at Finnova Foundation (bottom)

The last panel was headed by Luis Javier Parra, who discussed a success story – City Scan. Being its Co-founder, Mr Parra explained that this software (which was created in Colombia) is a digital tourism app which uses audioguides based on augmented reality and which connects tourists with local guides.

Eduardo Mercado wrapped up the event (left) alongside Luis Javier Parra, co-founder of CityScan (right)

The webinar was wound up with a questionnaire about the tourism sector.

Next LATAM-EU Generation is broken down into nine online events which will take place every second Tuesday of each month on the occasion of a particular World Day in line with SDGs. Next LATAM-EU Generation will be topped off with the delivery of the European Commission’s StartUp Europe Awards.

About Finnova Foundation 

Finnova Foundation is a Belgian-Spanish foundation working to support innovation through EU funds. It seeks to promote private-public cooperation through innovation to address societal challenges, e.g. employment, training, entrepreneurship, SDGs, circular economy, etc. Finnova is in charge of organising Startup Europe Awards, a joint initiative by Finnova and the European Commission to reward the best social European start-ups.

For more information, click on www.finnova.eu.

About Startup Europe Awards 

Startup Europe Awards is an initiative set up by DG CONNECT and implemented by Finnova Foundation since 2016. Startup Europe Awards are an open innovation mechanism which aims to identify disruptive start-ups and to promote private-public partnerships. They also seek to raise awareness on the importance of self-entrepreneurship as a driving force for job creation. In addition to promoting networks to meet the UN SDGs and the European Green Deal objectives, they also contribute to the circular economy, sustainable tourism and fighting against climate change.

For more information, click on https://startupeuropeawards.eu/seua/.

About Red Business Market 

Business Market is a forum connecting investors, businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups from Ciudad Real aiming to create a network of business, financing and support for economic and business projects in that area. All this funding can be coupled with venture capital, business angels, personal investments and corporate or financial funds for innovative and disruptive initiatives with an added value which need funding to start operating.

For more information, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-vd9gSy19s.

About Next Talent Generation

Next Talent Generation aims to create a pro-Europe alliance bringing together different entities – non-profit organisations, enterprises, universities, EU institutions, Spanish authorities, etc. This initiative offers in a single platform training opportunities across the EU. Next Talent Generation shows internship opportunities and mobility schemes in Europe to foster cross-border mobility and to enhance the level of employability of youth. Finnova currently offers the chance to do internships across all EU countries through the Garantía Nacional Juvenil scheme. 

For more information, click on https://nextalentgeneration.eu/.