Evaluation of the Smart Destinations Network and prospects for 2021

The Plenary Commission of the Smart Destinations Network, led by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Fernando Valdés, has performed an evaluation of the work carried out and made progress with areas of activity for 2021.

The Secretary of State for Tourism has informed the members of the Smart Destinations Network of the general areas of the plan for the modernisation and competitiveness of the tourism sector being prepared by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, which will receive funding of €3.4 billion over the next three years from the Next Generation European Recovery Funds.

During his presentation, Fernando Valdés highlighted that the European funds represent an opportunity to make our tourism model “evolve”, and explained that the plan will largely be implemented through various actions in the destinations. “Our great project will be the destination,” he confirmed.

Among the actions carried out within the Network, a work group has been created to focus on the new Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the objective of which is to promote a process of dialogue and participation among the Smart Destinations Network members in relation to the details and development of the plan, to analyse and make specific proposals regarding the programmes and initiatives being designed.

In terms of training and qualifications, the first version of an online introductory course for Smart Destinations was launched at the end of 2020. 224 have signed up, and its objective is to share the characteristics and components of the Smart Destination model, to facilitate its general understanding, update knowledge and establish bases for better destination management.

Regarding technology, the directory of technological solutions was created in 2020, featuring 155 companies and 174 solutions, ranging from those related to artificial intelligence, virtual assistants or data analysis systems, to tools for marketing, CRM, video mapping, virtual reality, active listening or web design, to others related to efficient water management, air quality, energy or waste.

In 2021, the work groups will continue, boosting knowledge generation through the creation of new studies, webinars and personalised communication and customer service for Network members.

Upcoming studies include the creation of a report that will compile and document adaptations carried out by Smart Destinations Network destinations at beaches or bathing areas and in their tourist offices and information points as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.

During the Commission, the incorporation of nine institutions, eight companies and one international observer member was approved, taking the number of members to 251: 154 destinations, 40 institutions and 57 companies.

Among the nine institutional members are the Hotel Business Association Madrid (AEHM); the Smart City Cluster; the Hotel and Non-Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro (ASHOTEL); the Association for the Promotion of Wine Tourism (AVINTUR); the Association of Canary Island Tourist Towns; the Inco-LAB Smart Island Cluster; the Group of Spanish World Heritage Cities; the Arrayán Network for Culture, Heritage and Environment; and the Santiago de Compostela Tourist Board.

The nine collaborating companies joining the network are Blogsterapp Ambassador S.L.; Data Seekers S.L.; Gamma Solutions S.L.; Graphene Solutions S.L.; IRALTA FILMS S.L.; Mabrian Tecnologies S.L.; Nae Comunicacions S.L.; and Sebka Technology S.L.; while the new observer member is the Council for Comprehensive Development of Tequila Civil Association.