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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 – 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 European Capital of Smart Tourism recognizes outstanding achievements in smart tourism in European cities. Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of digital tools, products and services; equal opportunity and access for all visitors; sustainable development of the local area; and support to creative industries, local talent and heritage.

For this initiative the cornerstones of smart tourism are being defined by excellence of tourist destinations across the EU in the four award categories: 1) accessibility, 2) sustainability, 3) digitalisation, 4) cultural heritage and creativity.

For more examples and a more detailed description of each category and additional information, please refer to our Guide for Applicants or go directly to: How to Apply.


Accessibility does not only entail being a barrier-free destination, it also encompasses services that are multilingual and, for example, digitally available to all travelers or visitors – regardless of age, cultural background or any physical disability.

Being sustainable does not only mean to manage and protect your natural resources as a city, but to reduce seasonality and include the local community.

A digital city uses digital technologies to enhance all aspects of the tourism experience, as well as to help local businesses to grow.

The focus on cultural heritage and creativity means to protect and capitalise on the local heritage as well as cultural and creative assets for the benefit of the destination, the industry and tourists.


The Award Ceremony will take place on the European Tourism Day (7 November 2018) in the European Commission’s Charlemagne building in Brussels. The two European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019 and the four winners in each category will be invited to contribute to an exhibition on achievements in smart tourism.