Valencia has stepped out from the crowd as one of the Mediterranean’s main urban tourist destinations, attracting four million visitors annually. The €3 billion tourists bring to the local economy is being spent wisely, as the Spanish city invests in projects and initiatives designed to create a truly welcoming municipality – intelligent, fun and open to all. At the heart of this push is Valencia’s drive to become not only a smart destination but first and foremost a smart city that improves the quality of life for both residents and guests.
Paving the way for a more accessible tourism
The city’s main travel hubs are all fully adapted for people with disabilities, as is the public transport system — which provides numerous services for the hearing impaired, blind and those with reduced mobility. Once in the city, Valencia’s many beaches can be enjoyed by everyone, thanks to a programme that dates back to 1997 and provides visitors who request it with specialist assistance. And if you need any advice on which landmarks to visit, there are many applications and websites with relevant information only a click away.
As the city moves towards its smart goal, it aims to take a balanced approach that minimises tourism’s impact on both the environment and communities. To this end, as part of the European SCITHOS programme, the Valencia Smart City (VLCi) platform was developed to give both the city council and the private sector access to open data that can help manage tourism on a local level. Added to this, Valencia is committed to providing more space for cyclists, reducing energy consumption and ensuring that water management is more sustainable.
Access to open data is an important part of the strategic plan behind Valencia’s push towards becoming a smart city. Visitors can already take advantage of real-time data on transport, weather, public bikes and much more. One success has been the Valencia Tourist Card, which provides geo-located information and offers the holder discounts on a myriad of services, as well as travel around the city.
There are many reasons to visit Valencia, not least the Silk Exchange, Water Tribunal and the Las Fallas Festival — all of which have received UNESCO recognition. However, the city is constantly planning new cultural initiatives – the latest is an interregional project to promote the Route of the Holy Grail, which is housed in Valencia Cathedral. Why not make the journey yourself?