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European Capital and Green Pioneer of Smart Tourism
Newsletter13 October 20183 min read

Helsinki and Lyon selected as 2019 European Capitals of Smart Tourism by European Jury

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a new EU initiative, based on a proposal from the European Parliament and implemented by the European Commission, to reward innovative and smart tourism in European cities.  

EU tourism day newsletter

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a new EU initiative, based on a proposal from the European Parliament and implemented by the European Commission, to reward innovative and smart tourism in European cities.

The tourism industry is changing. To stay up-to-date, destinations around the world are investing in their infrastructures in order to become more accessible and sustainable. Digital solutions are at the forefront of this effort and are allowing both visitors and residents to experience the very best that these destinations have to offer, including their unique cultural heritage and creativity.

The new EU award is targeted at showcasing exemplary smart practices by EU cities as tourism destinations in four categories:

categories newsletter

38 cities from 19 EU Member States entered the inaugural competition, all vying to be named the 2019 European Capital.

At a meeting in Brussels on 24 September 2018, a seven-member jury, comprising representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, European Committee of Regions and the EU Member States: Bulgaria and Austria (holders of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during 2018), selected Helsinki and Lyon as European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019. Both cities presented impressive programmes of activities, which they will implement to celebrate the title in 2019, including strengthening networking and peer learning with other cities. The official award ceremony will take place at the European Tourism Day conference, hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 7 November 2018.

announcement winners

Announcement of the winners, Brussels 24 September 2018: Members of the European Jury with the representatives of the winning cities


Jury expressed her delight at the final decision; "We are so happy and honoured to be the first holders of the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism; for Lyon it's a great privilege."

Her counterpart from the Helsinki delegation, Laura Aalto, was equally pleased; "Helsinki strongly believes in collaboration and I think the European Capital of Smart Tourism is exactly the kind of network that we need in Europe - and globally in fact. We all face the same problems and we can all find solutions for the future together."

Four further cities were also recognised with the 2019 European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements in the specific categories: Accessibility (Málaga), Sustainability (Ljubljana) Digitalisation (Copenhagen) and Cultural Heritage & Creativity (Linz). These four cities received the highest scores in individual categories of all 38 applicant cities, during the pre-selection process carried out by a panel of independent experts.

EU tourism day newsletter


2018 European Tourism Day

The European Tourism Day conference is one of the most important dates in the calendar for those involved in the industry. The event is the best opportunity to meet and hear from representatives from EU institutions, public authorities, relevant industry associations and leading travel organisations.

At this year's conference there will be the award ceremony for the first edition of the European Capital of Smart Tourism. The 400 tourism industry stakeholders in attendance at the event will have the opportunity to discover the impressive advancements made in the field of smart tourism, both during the awards ceremony and at the exhibition stands. To view the programme and register for the event, please click on the following link.

For those not in Brussels in November, stay tuned for the exciting programme of events taking place in 2019.

2018 winners newsletter


Copyright © 2018 European Commission. All rights reserved. 


European Capital of Smart Tourism

European Commission

DG GROW - Internal Market, Entrepreneurship &SMEs

Unit F.4. – Tourism, Emerging and Creative Industries

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Publication date
13 October 2018