EU Launches European Capital of Smart Tourism

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New initiative seeks to reward innovation and boost smart development of tourism in European Cities

Logo of EU Capital of Smart Cities Award

Brussels, 11 April 2018. A new initiative seeks to reward innovation and boost smart development of tourism in European Cities.

On the initiative of the European Parliament, today the European Commission launches the European Capital of Smart Tourism to recognise outstanding achievements in smart, innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism by European cities.

The initiative aims to promote the smart tourism offer and showcase innovative, inclusive, culturally diverse and sustainable practices to tourism development by European cities.

Tourism is the EU’s third largest socio-economic activity – it represents almost 10% of EU GDP and supports 25 million jobs. By rewarding exemplary practices of smart tourism, the European Union seeks to encourage innovation at the level of tourism destinations, culturally diverse and inclusive tourism offers and highlight the multi-facetted contribution of tourism to sustainable development.

Two European cities that demonstrate innovation, creativity and excellence in four categories – accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage and creativity – will be awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019.

Winners of the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 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.

In addition, four European cities will receive thematic European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements in the categories listed above.

The awarded achievements will be presented in a special exhibition on the occasion of a prestigious Award Ceremony in Brussels on 7 November 2018, organised on the European Tourism Day.

Who can apply?

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population over 100,000 inhabitants. In EU countries where no city has more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.

How to apply

Apply via the online application form before 30 June 2018.

For more information and application, please visit the EU Smart Tourism Capitals Award website

Selection - Assessment criteria

A panel of independent experts will assess eligible applications against the following criteria:

  1. How innovative and smart are the implemented measures?
  2. How sustainable are the implemented measures over time?
  3. How inclusive are the implemented measures for different social groups?
  4. The degree to which the measures contributed to raising the city’s profile as a tourism destination. How effective are these measures? What are the measurable impacts of the measures implemented? 

The top 10 shortlisted cities will be invited to Brussels to present their candidature in front of a European jury consisting of EU institution representatives.

The European jury will make the final selection of the 2 European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019. The 4 thematic European smart tourism awards will go to the best achievers in each individual category.


  • 11 April 2018: Opening of competition
  • 30 June 2018: Application deadline
  • August 2018: Finalist cities announced
  • September 2018: Final selection by the European Jury
  • 7 November 2018: Award ceremony and exhibition in Brussels

Links and further information


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