Interreg AI Smart in Lefkada for smart, green and integrated ports

The three-day Cross-Border Services Events in the context of the European Project AI SMARTAdriatic Ionian Small Port Network“, organized on July 6 to 8, 2022 in Lefkada, by the Region of the Ionian Islands/Regional Unit of Lefkada was completed with great success. The AI ​​SMART project is implemented within the European Territorial Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Greece-Italy 2014-2020 by the Regions of Apulia (lead), Ionian Islands, Epirus and Western Greece, and aims to develop a common network of ports in the Adriatic-Ionian region based on in the concept of “smart, green and integrated ports”

The main objective of our participation in the AI SMART project – said Andreas Ktenas, Deputy Regional Governor P.E. Lefkada – is to build better prospects for our area, for its inhabitants and for the thousands of people who visit Lefkada every year. The project represents a starting point for development both for the Nydri area and for the entire region. Furthermore, AI SMART will contribute to the improvement of the territory from an environmental point of view and will implement a culture of travel, nowadays increasingly attentive to respect for nature and natural resources”.

The purpose of the three-day cross-border event was to ensure a dialogue between the tourism sector stakeholders, and to hold a technical discussion among interested parties, implementing public bodies and private sector. The three-day event brought together officials of the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Greece-Italy Programme, officials of the services from the involved Regions, representatives of the academic community, specialists and technical experts, representatives of the private sector and policy makers. 

On the 1st day (July 6) was held a technical workshop dedicated to the services of the AI ​​SMART platform, related to the methodologies identified and adopted to achieve the expected goals of the project were discussed. The 1st day ended with an on-site visit tour of the participants, to the construction site at Nydri AI SMART small port, where representatives of the contractor company “SABO S.A.” presented the progress of the works. 

The 2nd day (July 7) was dedicated to the Stakeholder Plenary. Participants had the opportunity to follow the progress of the AI ​​SMART project’s actions and the results achieved to date. The main event concluded with an open consultation between agencies and representatives of relevant sectors of the private sector (port managers, tourism entrepreneurs, etc.), during which various opinions and positions were expressed regarding the positive effects of the project on the local economy and the opportunities that are going to be created in the marine tourism sector. 

The events ended on July 8 with the on-site visit tour to the port of Mytikas Preveza where the participants had the opportunity to see up close the port infrastructure interventions that have already started as part of the project. 

In these three days of cross-border events – said Matilda Mali, Project Manager of the AI SMART project – in which we had the opportunity to work together by sharing our experiences, comparing the work done, talking about the obstacles overcome, what I really appreciated is that, beyond the difficulties encountered in these three years, our wonderful partnership, part of a much larger and more consolidated AI SMART community, has come out even stronger. These events have shown once again how a great “spirit of collaboration”, mutual support, must be at the basis of cooperation programs. An important job has been done, but other challenges await us”.