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An initiative to reward innovative and smart tourism practices in European cities

European Capital of Smart Tourism - Smart gets you further

The European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation as well as cultural heritage and creativity. This EU initiative aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices.



The European Commission is implementing the European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative. Currently it is financed under the COSME Programme and it is a successor of the Preparatory Action proposed by the European Parliament. 

The initiative aims to:

Promote the rich tourism offer of European countries and increase citizens’ sentiment of sharing local tourism-related values.

Strengthen tourism-generated and innovative tourism development in the cities, their surroundings and their neighbour regions.

Increase the attractiveness of European cities that are awarded the title and strengthen economic growth and job creation.

Establish framework for the exchange of best practices between the cities and create opportunities for cooperation and new partnerships.

Inform the travellers of the sustainable and outstanding tourism practices in destinations they are visiting.

Encourage sustainable socio-economic development in tourism destinations across Europe.

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The European Commission launched the competition for the 2021 European Capitals of Smart Tourism on 22 April 2021. The competition deadline was closed on 16 June 2021 at 17:00 CET.

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The initiative is managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. It is supported by the COSME programme and results from a preparatory action proposed by the European Parliament.

The 2021 European Capital of Smart Tourism is the third edition of the competition. This initiative rewards European cities for outstanding, innovative and sustainable tourism practices. Applications will first be evaluated by a panel of independent experts. In the second step, up to seven shortlisted cities will be invited to present their city’s candidature in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will select two winners, the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2021. 

Our aim is to promote innovation to strengthen smart destinations in Europe, to enhance tourism offers for visitors and to facilitate new partnerships, networking and the exchange of best practice. We also aim to foster the EU’s forward-thinking tourism offer to global audiences and sustainably increase footfall at pioneering destinations that offer unique visitor experiences.

This initiative complements other EU actions and policy initiatives in the tourism field.

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Spotlight on the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism 

Gothenburg and Málaga were the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism while Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and jointly held the titles of2019 European Capitals of Smart Tourism.

Cities recognised with European Smart Tourism Awards 2020 for their achievements in individual categories