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Submissions open for the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition

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Aerial view of the city of Helsinki
Helsinki (pictured) and Lyon won the inaugural competition and jointly held the 2019 titles | Photo: Julius Jansson

The European Commission has launched the 2024 edition of the European Capital of Smart Tourism, as well as the European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism competitions and is inviting cities to submit their leading examples of smart and sustainable tourism practices in Europe.

Tourism is the EU‘s third largest socio-economic activity, representing around 10% of the EU’s GDP. The sector plays a crucial role in generating growth and jobs, but still holds untapped potential – especially in the area of smart and sustainable tourism. Innovation, accessibility, and sustainability are the future of tourism, and the European Commission aims to keep European tourism ahead of the curve. 

In a change to previous editions, this year there will be only one winning city in the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024 competition. Additionally, the European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism is now the successor of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN)competition.

In order to compete for the 2024 titles, cities with a population of over 100.000 are asked to demonstrate their innovative tourism practices and submit their applications using an online form. Applications will first be evaluated by a panel of independent experts. In the second step, shortlisted cities will be asked to present their city’s candidature in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will select two winners, the ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024’ and the ‘European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism 2024’, which will be announced in November – December 2023. 

Both competitions are open to cities across both the EU, as well as the non-EU countries that take part in the COSME and Single Market programmes1.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism competition has a proven track record of success. The 2024 European Capital of Smart Tourism is the fifth edition of the competition. Pafos and Seville are the 2023 Capitals, Bordeaux and València were selected as the 2022 Capitals, Gothenburg and Málaga as the 2020 Capitals, while Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and jointly held the 2019 titles.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024 will benefit from communication and branding support throughout 2024 which will tell the story of the outstanding smart and innovative practices that made it stand out and win. This will include the production of a promotional video, a large hashtag sculpture to install in a prominent location, diverse promotional activities and visibility at EU level and internationally. The winner will also have the chance to join a growing and active network of smart destinations that were shortlisted in the four previous editions of the competition, exchange best practices and learn from one another.

For more information and to submit an application for the contest, visit the European Capital of Smart Tourism Guide for Applicants.

EuroNewsweek is a dynamic news platform featuring lifestyle, sustainability, successful stories, tech, leadership, creative marketing, business, and the unstoppable people behind them.

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UK to get multi-million pound boost for grassroots cricket

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UK to get multi-million pound boost for grassroots cricket
Investment is expected to deliver 2,500 pieces of new equipment across schools, and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a £35 million investment in grassroots cricket facilities and widening access to the sport within state schools, enabling over 900,000 young people to play cricket over the next five years.

The investment, to be delivered across a period during which England and Wales host the 2026 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, the 2030 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and cricket returns to the Olympics for the first time in over 120 years, includes a major capital programme that will see 16 state-of-the-art all-weather cricket domes built within host cities across England.

The domes are covered and wind-protected and will allow for participation in cricket throughout the year – connecting school, community and talent programmes. Each dome will be built within diverse communities where figures have indicated low levels of physical activity. It follows the first cricket dome opened in Bradford in November last year.

The funding package will enable an extension to the ECB and Chance to Shine’s in-school cricket partnership. This will have a particular emphasis on children from lower socio-economic groups, and ensure that every school child in inner-city locations from across the 16 World Cup host cities will access the programme.

A further investment to the charity Lord’s Taverners will have a focus on access to cricket provision for 80,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The total investment is expected to deliver around 2,500 pieces of new equipment across schools involved in the programmes, and help to get 930,000 pupils playing cricket over the next five years.

In addition, the ACE Programme will receive additional funding to support their work in reconnecting the Black community with cricket.

“I first experienced the magic of cricket watching Hampshire play at my local ground in Southampton as a child.

“There remains huge potential to grow the sport even further and open it up to everyone, from all backgrounds and in all parts of the country, building on the great work of organisations such as ACE and Chance to Shine.

“That is why I am so proud we are making a major £35 million investment in grassroots cricket today, to widen participation in schools, encourage healthy lifestyles and provide world class, all-year-round facilities for local communities,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

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European Forum pledges over €7.7 billion for global crises

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European Humanitarian Forum pledges over €7.7 billion for global crises
Nearly 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024.

Nearly 300 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2024. The EU will provide more than €7.7 billion in humanitarian funding for 2024, following the European Humanitarian Forum which gathered leaders and humanitarian experts in Brussels. The money will go towards more efficient, long-term solutions to global humanitarian challenges.

The Forum’s participants agreed to increase funding to address the gap between humanitarian needs and available resources. Increase in climate financing for conflict-affected, climate-vulnerable areas is also on the cards, as well as address conflict and preserve humanitarian space, notably in the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.

The European Humanitarian Forum was co-organised by the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU last month, gathering 1,400 representatives from across the humanitarian community, EU countries and beyond.

Currently the EU is one of the biggest aid donors in the world, with funds being used for intervention in areas such as food and nutrition, shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation, and education.

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Grants for community projects in the UK open for applications

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Grants for community projects in the UK open for applications
The scheme offers support to projects which benefit both rail passengers and local communities | Photo: Kenny Eliason

Community rail projects have been given the green light thanks to funding from London Northwestern Railway (LNR).

Grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 have been made available via the “Your Community, Your Fund” scheme which offers support to projects which benefit both rail passengers and local communities.

The scheme, funded by the Department for Transport, is aimed at inspiring people to get involved with the railway and has been made available for applications by LNR.

“This funding is crucial for the railway and the vital projects make a real difference to local areas. The scheme has already supported a number of community-led projects in recent years and I am delighted that we have secured funding for new applications,” says Cara Higgs, LNR community strategy manager.

The funding is split between projects from LNR and its sister company West Midlands Railway (WMR).

Previously, projects have included enhancing Smethwick Rolfe Street with bedders, planters and artwork and the opening of a new tea room at Bricket Wood station in Hertfordshire.

The deadline for applications is 11.59pm Tuesday 16 April.

For more information visit www.lnr.uk/ycyf.

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