The value of Smart Tourism
The European Capital of Smart Tourism recognizes outstanding achievements in smart tourism in European cities. Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of digital tools, products and services; equal opportunity and access for all visitors; sustainable development of the local area; and support to creative industries, local talent and heritage.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the tourism industry. With many cities and destinations now looking to recover and grow back, it is relevant to develop and implement smart tourism practices in line with green and digital transition.
For this initiative the cornerstones of smart tourism are being defined by excellence of tourist destinations across the EU in the four award categories: 1) accessibility, 2) sustainability, 3) digitalisation, 4) cultural heritage and creativity. For more examples and a more detailed description of each category and additional information, please refer to our Guide for Applicants or go directly to: How to Apply
About the award
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 tourism. Innovation, accessibility, and sustainability are the future of tourism, and the European Commission aims to keep European tourism ahead of the curve.
For this initiative the cornerstones of smart tourism are being defined by excellence of tourist destinations across the EU in the four award categories:
Accessibility includes services that are multilingual and digitally available to all travellers and visitors, regardless of their age, cultural background or their physical disability.
Being sustainable does not only mean to manage and protect your natural resources as a city, but to reduce seasonality impacts on the environment and to involve the local community.
A digital city uses digital technologies to enhance all aspects of the tourism experience, enabling simpler access to services, as well as to help local businesses to grow.
Protect and capitalise on the local heritage as well as cultural and its creative assets for the benefit of the tourism destination, the industry and the visiting tourists in general.
Benefits – WHY APPLY?
Winners of the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 will receive expert communication and branding support in promoting their destination in the media and online, a sculpture for their city centre, a promotional video on their destination and smart tourism offer, and many other promotional actions from the EU that are designed to raise the profile of the city and boost visitor numbers.
How are the winners 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 establishes a short-list of a maximum of 7 cities that are invited to present their candidatures in front of a European Jury.
> Evaluation Step 2
The European Jury selects the two European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2022.