The new initiative intends to reward innovation and boost “smart development of tourism”.
Outstanding achievements by European cities in innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism will be recognised for the first time this year.
The European Commission has launched the European Capital of Smart Tourism to recognise these ‘smart cities’.
The initiative, originating from the European Parliament, also aims to showcase inclusive, culturally diverse and sustainable practices for tourism development by European cities.
Tourism is the European Union’s third largest socio-economic activity, representing almost 10% of the bloc’s GDP and supporting 25 million jobs.
By rewarding “exemplary practices of smart tourism”, the EU says it wants to encourage innovation at the level of tourism destinations, culturally diverse tourism products and the multifaceted contribution of tourism to sustainable development.
Two European cities that demonstrate such innovation, creativity and excellence in four categories – accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, and cultural heritage and creativity – will be awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019.
The winners “will receive expert communication and branding support for a year, a marketing video, a purpose-built sculpture for their city centre and tailor-made promotional actions,” the EU promises.
In addition, four European cities will receive thematic European Smart Tourism Awards for their achievements in the four categories.
All of the cities’ achievements will be revealed in a special exhibition on the occasion of the award ceremony in Brussels on November 7, organised on European Tourism Day.