European Capital of Smart Tourism

EU funding opportunities

The European Commission launched a competition to award the title of the European Capital of Smart Tourism. The 2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism is the third edition of the competition. This initiative rewards European cities for outstanding, innovative and sustainable tourism practices.

The call is aimed at supporting EU cities and encourage them to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for sustainable and accessible tourism, which makes use of digital technologies and which strengthens the function of heritage and cultural industry and creativity as tourist goods.

The competition is open to cities that have a population of over 100 000 inhabitants. In countries where there is no city with more than 100 000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.

The cities applying will be evaluated in relation to the following categories:

– Accessibility: accessible to travelers with special needs, regardless of age, economic or social situation or possible disabilities. Easily accessible by different means of transport and equipped with a functional and efficient internal transport network;

– Sustainability: actively committed to preserving and improving the environment and natural resources while maintaining a balance between economic development and socio-cultural development;

– Digitisation: offering an innovative system of information, products, services, spaces and experiences related to tourism and hospitality, designed on the basis of consumer needs through ICT-based digital solutions and tools;

– Cultural heritage and creativity: making full use of their cultural heritage and the creative industry, for a rich tourist experience.

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. The European Jury selects the two European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2022.

The title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 will offer a unique opportunity to get targeted communication and branding support for a year from a group of experts in the field. By means of extensive communication activities, the cities will be put on the smart tourism destination map and will gain visibility as pioneers of smart tourism in the EU. Among other benefits, their promotional actions will be enhanced through the development of a short presentation video highlighting their achievements and an exhibition during a major EU tourism event or travel fair.

Gothenburg and Málaga were the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism, while Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and jointly held the titles of 2019 European Capitals of Smart Tourism.

Deadline for applications set for June 2021. Official documentation is available here.

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