About the Green Pioneer award
The European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism is an EU competition, implemented by the European Commission, which will raise the profile of Europe as a sustainable tourism destination and will set up a network to share best practices among European destinations.
Its aim is to recognise and award smaller destinations that have implemented successful strategies to boost sustainable tourism through green transition practices.
The destination showing the most successful strategies or measures to boost sustainable tourism through green transition practices – and convincing the European Jury with an exciting programme for the year in which they hold the title – will be awarded the title of the "European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism 2024".
Sustainable travel has been steering the European tourism policy for the past years, led by increasing demand and expectations by the travellers and the local communities alike. While the COVID-19 pandemic had paralysed travel in the past years, it has been also a unique opportunity to reset, shift the cultural mindset and emerge more resilient.
By awarding exemplary practices of sustainable tourism, the European Union wants to encourage green transition solutions and promote a more sustainable and innovative tourism model.
For more examples and a more detailed description and additional information, please refer to our Guide for Applicants.
Benefits – WHY APPLY?
The winner of the title of European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism 2024 will receive expert communication and branding support in promoting its destination in the media and online, a sculpture for their city centre, a promotional video representing its destination and sustainable tourism practices, and many other promotional actions from the EU that are designed to raise the profile of the city and boost visitor numbers.
The competition is open to cities in EU Member States and COSME (Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom) and Single Market (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) countries, with demographic population between 25,000 – 100,000 inhabitants. For smaller states with total population below 1 million, cities with more than 5,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply. Population size should be checked against the EUROSTAT.
How is the winner selected?
> Evaluation Step 1
All submitted, admissible and eligible applications are evaluated against a set of established criteria by a panel of independent experts. The evaluation by the experts determines which cities are the best performers in each individual category. Moreover, on the basis of their evaluation, the Commission then establishes a shortlist of a maximum of 4 cities which will proceed to the next evaluation step.
> Evaluation Step 2
The shortlisted 4 cities will then be invited to present their case in front of a European Jury. Following these presentations, the European Jury selects the 2024 European Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism.