Can any city apply?
Only cities that are located within the European Union or COSME countries, with more than 100 000 inhabitants can apply. In countries where no city has more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply. For small states with the number of inhabitants below 1 million by 31 December 2021, cities with more than 10 000 inhabitants are eligible to apply (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
There are no cities over 100.000 inhabitants in my country – can a city from my country still apply?
Yes, if there’s an EU or COSME country without a city of more than 100 000 inhabitants, the country’s largest city is eligible to apply. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
Our city is not in the European Union, but on the European continent. Can we still apply?
Only cities located in EU Member States or COSME countries (Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/39579) are eligible to apply. The participating countries can be found here (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
My county has over 100.000 inhabitants, but the cities within it do not. Can we still apply?
No, only cities with over 100 000 inhabitants can apply. It is possible that a metropolitan area or a larger urban zone applies but under the condition that it includes a city of more than 100 000 inhabitants. Moreover, it needs to justify that it is promoted/ branded as a tourism destination in line with the local/regional/national tourism development and promotion strategy. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
My county has a city with over 100.000 inhabitants. Can we still apply as a county?
A “city” is understood to be an urban area (excluding conurbations), and is an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of elected body. A metropolitan area or a larger urban zone is allowed to apply under the following conditions: it includes a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants and is promoted/ branded as a tourism destination in line with the local/regional/national tourism development and promotion strategy. In that case, the application should be submitted by the city (of more than 100,000 inhabitants) and in case awarded, the city will bear the title of the “European Capital of Smart Tourism.” (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
Which COSME countries are eligible to apply for the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition?
The countries participating in the COSME programme and are eligible to apply: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/39579
Do I have to apply in English?
You may apply in any official language of the European Union. You can find a list of all eligible languages here. We would suggest writing, or submitting material, in English, to the extent possible, to speed up the evaluation process and comparability of applications. (Please see “3.1 Technical Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants) or visit this website
We are a school/organisation/company in the city of XY. Can we apply in the name of our city?
If you are not a legal representative of the city applying, you cannot apply in the name of the city. However, you are welcome to participate and help your city with the application and talk to your Mayor/the Tourist Office, but the signatory of the application should be the Mayor or the highest-ranking city representative, authorised by national law to legally represent the city. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
Can a city apply for only one category?
No, throughout this initiative a smart tourism destination is considered as the one demonstrating exemplary measures/projects /programmes implemented in all four categories. You will be asked to provide an answer to all four categories (Accessibility, Digitalisation, Sustainability, Creativity & Cultural heritage). We will not be able to accept applications that only answer to one, two, or three of the categories. (Please see “3.1 Technical Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants)
How does a city submit an application?
Applications will be submitted via an online registration tool, which you can find by clicking on “Apply now” on the competition website. You have to register in the name of your city and then you can start filling in your application! (Please see “7. How to Apply: Step by Step” in the Guide for Applicants) For more details, see here: https://smart-tourism-capital.ec.europa.eu/apply_en
Once I have started the application process, can I pause and go back to the application a few days later?
Yes, you can save the application and work on it continuously up until the deadline. (Please see “7.2.3 Step 3: Editing your proposal” in the Guide for Applicants)
Can several people work on one application together?
Yes. You can create multiple accounts per city and work on the application together. A single application by a city can have multiple co-authors. The person who first creates an account for the city needs to make sure that the submitting author has allowed co-authors to edit the application. (Please see “7.2.1 Step 1: Create your account” in the Guide for Applicants)
Where can I read about the categories and the assessment criteria that are needed to win this competition?
You can read about the categories and the assessment criteria on our homepage and in particular in our Guide for Applicants (See “4. Award categories and assessment criteria” in the Guide for Applicants)
Who will decide which city wins?
During the Evaluation Step 1 all submitted and admissible applications will be reviewed against the assessment criteria linked to a clear points-system by a panel of independent experts in the field of tourism (Please see “5. The Evaluation process” in the Guide for Applicants). Each of the experts has an in-depth knowledge in at least one of the categories of accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation as well as cultural heritage and creativity. A maximum of 7 cities with the highest overall score of all four categories combined will be shortlisted as finalists. During the Evaluation Step 2, the shortlisted cities will be invited to present their candidatures and the programme they intend to implement during the year they will hold the title as the potential European Capital of Smart Tourism, in front of the European Jury, who will take the final decision on the two winners. (See “5. The evaluation process” in the Guide for Applicants)
What are the benefits for the winning cities?
Winners of the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism will receive a year of expert communication and branding support in promoting their destination to 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 in the name of the initiative that are designed to raise the profile of the city and boost visitor numbers.
We have won a city award by the European Union / currently hold an award by the European Union in this year’s cycle. Can we still apply for the “European Capital of Smart Tourism”?
Winners of other European awards are eligible to take part in the European Capital of Smart Tourism. Previous winners of the European Capital of Smart Tourism are not eligible to apply to become Capitals for a second time. However, they can take part in networking activities.
Will the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition also award cities in the individual categories of the initiative?
In a change to previous editions, this edition will select two cities to hold the European Capital of Smart Tourism title, but no further European Tourism Awards in individual competition categories will be awarded.
When will the shortlisted cities be announced?
All submitted, admissible and eligible applications are evaluated against a set of established criteria by a panel of independent experts. On the basis of their evaluation, the Commission establishes a short-list of seven cities which will be announced in September 2022.