The European Commission has announced the launch of the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 competition, an event that rewards European cities for outstanding, innovative and sustainable tourism practices.
According to the Commission, the tourism sector plays a crucial role in generating growth and jobs in the EU, and 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. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the tourism ecosystem. With many cities and destinations now looking to recover and grow more resilient, it is important to develop and implement smart tourism practices in line with green and digital transition,” the Commission said.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism competition is open to cities across both the EU, as well as the non-EU countries that take part in the COSME program for the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises.
In order to compete, cities are asked to demonstrate their innovative tourism practices in four areas: accessibility, sustainability, digitization, cultural heritage and creativity.
Applications will first be evaluated by a panel of independent experts. In the second step, seven shortlisted cities will be asked 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 2022, which will be announced in November 2021.
Both winning cities will receive expert communication and branding support throughout 2022. This will include the production of a promotional video, a large hashtag sculpture to install in a prominent location, diverse promotional activities and visibility at the EU level.
The 2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism is the third edition of the competition. Gothenburg and Málaga were selected as the winners of the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism competition, while Helsinki and Lyon won the inaugural competition and jointly held the titles of 2019 European Capitals of Smart Tourism.