Last week the European Commission launched the competition for the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020. This initiative rewards European cities for outstanding, innovative and sustainable tourism practices. In order to compete for the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism title, cities are asked to demonstrate their innovative tourism practices in four areas: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage & creativity.
Tourism is the EU’s third largest socio-economic activity, representing around 10% of the EU’s GDP. The sector plays a crucial role in generating growth and jobs, but still holds untapped potential. Through this initiative, the EU is aiming to celebrate outstanding achievements in smart tourism by European cities and ensure that both visitors and residents alike can benefit from them.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative, based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which secured its funding for 2018 – 2019 through a Preparatory Action. It is implemented by the European Commission. The initiative seeks to strengthen tourism-generated innovative development in EU cities and their surroundings, increase their attractiveness as well as strengthen economic growth and job creation. It also aims to establish a framework for the exchange of best practices between cities participating in the contest, create opportunities for cooperation and new partnerships.
In order to compete for the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism title, cities are asked to demonstrate their innovative tourism practices in four areas: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage & creativity. Applications will first be evaluated by a panel of independent experts. In the second step, up to 10 shortlisted cities will be asked to present their city’s candidature in front of the European Jury. The European Jury will select two winners, European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2020, which will be announced in October 2019 at an Award Ceremony.
Both winning cities will receive expert communication and branding support throughout 2020. This will include the production of a promotional video, a giant sculpture to install in a prominent location, diverse promotional activities and visibility at EU level.
Furthermore, four cities scoring the highest in individual categories, based on the evaluation by experts will be recognised with 2020 European Smart Tourism Awards.
To apply, city representatives are asked to complete an online form. The deadline for applications is 10 May 2019 at 18:00 CET.
The European Commission supports the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019, Helsinki and Lyon with promotional activities during the year. One of them will be a dedicated stand for two cities at the International Travel Fair ITB Berlin on 6-10 March 2019.