EU launches European Capital of Smart Tourism

The initiative aims to promote the smart tourism offer and showcase innovative, inclusive, culturally diverse and sustainable practices.

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On the initiative of the European Parliament, the European Commission is launching the European Capital of Smart Tourism to recognise outstanding achievements in smart, innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism by European cities.

The initiative aims to promote the smart tourism offer and showcase innovative, inclusive, culturally diverse and sustainable practices to tourism development by European cities.

Tourism is the EU’s third largest socio-economic activity, representing almost 10% of EU GDP and supports 25 million jobs. By rewarding exemplary practices of smart tourism, the European Union seeks to encourage innovation at the level of tourism destinations, culturally diverse and inclusive tourism offers and highlight the multi-faceted contribution of tourism to sustainable development.

Two European cities that demonstrate innovation, creativity and excellence in four categories – accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage and creativity – will be awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019.

Winners of the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 will receive expert communication and branding support for a year, a marketing video, a purpose-built sculpture for their city centre, and tailor-made promotional actions.

Additionally, four European cities will receive thematic European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements in the categories listed above.

The awarded achievements will be presented in an exhibition on the occasion of a prestigious Award Ceremony in Brussels on 7 November 2018, organised on the European Tourism Day.

  • Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the expectation of digital information, products and services; equal opportunities and access for all visitors; sustainable development of the local area; and support to creative industries and local talent.
  • The competition opened on 11 April 2018. Details on how to apply and terms and conditions can be found online. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2018 at 16:00 CET. Finalists will be announced mid-August 2018 and winners in the second half of September.
  • The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population of over 100,000. In countries where no city has more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.
  • Eligible applications will be evaluated against a set of established assessment criteria by a panel of independent experts. The panel will shortlist up to 10 cities which will be invited to Brussels to present their candidature for the Capital title in front of a European Jury during September 2018. The Jury will select two European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019.

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