Albert Castellanos Lluís Salvadó Moments Estel·lars - Marc Llibre
Albert Castellanos and Lluís Salvadó in a new session of 'Moments Estel·lars - Marc Llibre

“The America’s Cup is a great opportunity to attract investment”

The CEO of Acció, Albert Castellanos, and the president of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó, hope that the regatta will position the Catalan capital as an innovative city, as they explained in a new session of the cycle 'The New Barcelona-Moments Estel-lars'.

One of the major topics of conversation this year will be the America’s Cup, the oldest sporting competition in the world and one of those with the greatest economic and media impact, behind only the Olympic Games and the World Cup. Many economic agents will be involved in running it from August onwards, with an eye to ensuring that the international event leaves a legacy beyond the months of the regatta and that it is repeated in the Catalan capital another year. “The America’s Cup is a great opportunity to attract investment and develop tourism in segments that are underdeveloped, such as the nautical sector”, said the Secretary for Enterprise and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos, at a new session of The New Barcelona – Moments Estel·lars, organised by The New Barcelona Post with the collaboration of CASA SEAT,  Must Media Group and Barcelona Global.

Castellanos was accompanied by Lluís Salvadó, the president of the Port of Barcelona, one of the principal parties involved in the organisation of the regatta, with the participating teams already settled in their facilities preparing for the competition. “We have to score a very high pass mark for the America’s Cup.”, continued Salvadó. “The first thing we have to do is to manage it well. This is a differential element with regard to other editions of the competition; in Barcelona, it is being managed in an economically rational and sustainable way. Brand Barcelona is also brand Catalonia and people know how to manage the economic resources well, especially the public ones”, the President of the Port emphasised.

With an expected economic impact of 1,200 million euros, Castellanos called for “not just this figure, but to make it as high as possible. To achieve this, we have to take advantage of all the opportunities that this great showcase gives us”, he remarked, without forgetting the city’s main asset, “the ease with which companies can attract the best talent in the world”.

Lluís Salvadó Albert Castellanos
Castellanos calls for increasing the expected economic impact of the America’s Cup. © Marc Llibre

To this end, all the technological innovations adopted by the participants will play an important role, opening windows of collaboration with Barcelona companies. “It is not only a sporting competition, but also has a very high technological component and we want to link this technology with our local ecosystem,” said Castellanos. “The America’s Cup will not be won by whoever has the best athletes, but by whoever has the best engineers in technological development”, added Salvadó, noting that participants’ budgets are as high as 100 million euros to get their boats flying over the sea.Top of Form

“It is no surprise that at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) we are giving a space to the America’s Cup”, Castellanos said without going into too much detail. The Secretary for Business and Competitiveness has indicated that he plans to address issues such as the accuracy of weather forecasts, a key factor in the teams’ victory.

Positioning as an innovative port city

In the session moderated by the journalist and UPF-BSM professor Toni Aira, the president of the port highlighted the fact that the regatta represents a chance to position the Catalan capital, as well as being a good manager, as an innovative city open to the world, with its port as a central element, which must be used to tackle future issues in the maritime sector. “We are aware that a port such as ours cannot compete with the port of Tangiers, today the leading port in the Mediterranean, either in terms of costs or volumes, but it can do so by providing innovation, service and management”, he insisted. As an example, he pointed out the growth registered by the infrastructure in the mobility sector after the close of 2023, moving 800,000 electric cars. “We are capturing traffic that comes from the added value provided by our concessionaries”, he stressed.

According to the Port’s president, the America’s Cup fits in perfectly with three of the main lines pursued by the logistics infrastructure: “internationalisation, technological innovation and enhancing the value of the Barcelona brand. There is an incredible return to the Port of Barcelona being seen as a port where important things happen. For example, our future challenge is to be in the green corridors, routes from Southeast Asia to the United States that will pass through the most innovative ports, capable of supplying non-fossil fuels. In this, being there or not is often the consequence of brand intangibles”, Salvadó explained.

Lluís Salvadó, the president of the Port of Barcelona ©Marc Llibre

Castellanos explained the commitment of the Government of Catalonia, through ACCIÓ, to support exporting companies and said that last year sales abroad exceeded 100,000 million euros. At the same time, he indicated the need to accompany Catalan companies in the current process of “multi-localisation”, a concept that no longer has to do with the relocations that took place at the beginning of the century, but with the need to be able to produce it as close as possible to large areas of consumption such as China and the United States.

The Secretary for Enterprise also recalled that in seven years Catalonia has doubled the number of start-ups, which have gone from 1,000 to 2,000 thanks to the innovative ecosystem that has been consolidated, the quality of life offered to foreign talent and the powerful university system. According to Castellanos, the big bet now is to promote “deeptech” startups, as they are “the ones that take advantage of Catalonia’s great capital: a research system that is one of the most competitive in Europe”.