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How to apply in
3
easy steps
1

Create an account and provide contact details

Create an account with your name and email, and log in with the password. Provide all necessary contact details.

2

Submit your application and supporting documents

Provide a description of your city as a tourist destination in general and under each category. We also ask you to upload a signed endorsement from the city’s mayor.

3

Tell us how you learned about the award

Please indicate where you first heard about the European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative.

GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS

The application process for European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019 is now closed. Finalists will be announced mid-August 2018.

Stay tuned, in 2019 a new call for applications will open, and apply next year to become European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020!

GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS (EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF SMART TOURISM 2019)

TIMELINE

ELIGIBILITY

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population of over 100,000. In countries where no city has more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply. Population size should be checked against the EUROSTAT database.

DOWNLOAD GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS FOR FULL DETAILS

BENEFITS - WHY APPLY

Winners of the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 will receive a year of expert communication and branding support in promoting their destination in the media and online, a sculpture for their city centre, a promotional video on their destination and smart tourism offer, and many other promotional actions from the EU that are designed to raise the profile of the city and boost visitor numbers.

Recognised pioneer
Become a smart tourism thought leader and inspire others

Put on the map
Be the place to visit in 2019 and enjoy a boost to visitor numbers

Marketing boost
Win a year of expert communications and branding support for your city as a tourism destination

Networking opportunities
Meet and exchange new ideas with other EU cities, policy makers and industry leaders

Media profile
Benefit from a host of promotional actions from the EU​

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
1
Can any city apply?

Only cities that are located within the European Union with more than 100.000 inhabitants can apply. If there’s a country without a city of 100.000 inhabitants, the largest city of the country is eligible to apply. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5-6.)

2
There are no cities over 100.000 inhabitants in my country – can a city from my country still apply?

Yes, if there’s an EU country without a city of more than 100.000 inhabitants, the largest city of the country is eligible to apply. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5.)

3
Our city is not in the European Union, but on the European continent. Can we still apply?

Only cities located in EU Member States are eligible to apply. The participating countries can be found here (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5.)

4
My county has over 100.000 inhabitants, but the cities within it do not. Can I still apply?

No, only cities with over 100.000 inhabitants can apply. It is possible that a metropolitan area or a larger urban zone applies but under the condition that it includes a city of more than 100.000 inhabitants. Moreover it needs to justify that it is promoted/ branded as a tourism destination in line with the local/regional/national tourism development and promotion strategy. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5.)

5
My county has a city with over 100.000 inhabitants; can we still apply as a county?

A “city” is understood to be an urban area (excluding conurbations), and is an administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of elected body. 
A metropolitan area or a larger urban zone is allowed to apply under the following conditions: it includes a city of more than 100.000 inhabitants and is promoted/ branded as a tourism destination in line with the local/regional/national tourism development and promotion strategy. In that case, the application should be submitted by the city (of more than 100.000 inhabitants) and in case awarded, the city will bear the title of the “European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019.” (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5.)

6
Do I have to apply in English?

You can apply in any official EU Member State’s language. English is preferred but all official EU languages will be treated equally. You can find a list of all eligible languages here (Please see “3.1 Technical Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 4.)

7
Can I also apply next year?

Yes, you can apply next year, as the competition will reopen in 2019 for selection of the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2020.

8
We are a school/organisation/company in the city of XY, can we apply in the name of our city?

If you are not a legal representative of the city applying, you cannot apply in the name of the city. However, you are welcome to participate and help your city with the application and talk to your Mayor/the Tourist Office, but the signatory of the application should be the Mayor or the highest-ranking city representative, authorised by national law to legally represent the city. (Please see “3.2 Eligibility Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 5.)

9
Can a city apply for only one category?

No, throughout this initiative a smart tourism destination is considered as the one demonstrating exemplary measures/projects /programmes implemented in all four categories. You will be asked to provide an answer to all four categories (Accessibility, Digitalisation, Sustainability, Creativity & Cultural heritage). We will not be able to accept applications that only answer to one, two, or three of the categories. (Please see “3.1 Technical Requirements” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 4.)

10
If we apply but do not win, can we try again next year?

Yes, you can.

11
How does a city submit an application?

Applications will be submitted via an online registration tool, which you can find by following this link  and clicking on “Apply now”. You have to register in the name of your city and then you can start filling in your application! (Please see “7. How to Apply: Step by Step” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 11-15.)

12
Once I have started the application process, can I pause and go back to the application a few days later?

Yes, you can save the application and work on it continuously up until the deadline. (Please see “7.2.3 Step 3: Editing your proposal” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 14-15.)

13
Can several people work on one application together?

Yes. You can create multiple accounts per city and work on the application together. A single application by a city can have multiple co-authors. The person who first creates an account for the city needs to make sure that the submitting author has allowed co-authors to edit the application. (Please see “7.2.1 Step 1: Create your account” in the Guide for Applicants, p. 11-12.)

14
Where can I read about the categories and the assessment criteria that are needed to win this competition?

You can read about the categories and the assessment criteria on our homepage and in particular in our Guide for Applicants (See “4. Award categories and assessment criteria” in the Guide for Applicants p. 7-8.)

15
Who will decide which city wins?

During a pre-selection phase, all submitted and admissible applications will be reviewed against the assessment criteria linked to a clear points-system by a panel of independent experts in the field of tourism (Please see “5. The Evaluation process” in the Guide for Applicants, p.9). Each of the experts has an in-depth knowledge in at least one of the categories of accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation as well as cultural heritage and creativity. A maximum of 10 cities with the highest total score will be shortlisted as finalists.

The shortlisted cities will be invited to present their candidatures and the programme they intend to implement during the year they will hold the title as the potential European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019, in front of the European Jury in Brussels, who will take the final decision on the winners. (See “5. The evaluation process” in the Guide for Applicants p. 9-10.)

16
What are the benefits for the winning cities?

Winners of the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 will receive a year of expert communication and branding support in promoting their destination to the media and online, a sculpture for their city center, a promotional video on their destination and smart tourism offer, and many other promotional actions in the name of the initiative that are designed to raise the profile of the city and boost visitor numbers.

17
We have won a city award by the European Union / currently hold an award by the European Union in this year’s cycle. Can we still apply for the “European Capital of Smart Tourism”?

Yes, you can apply to become the European Capital of Smart Tourism even if you are a winner or you have been awarded in another EU competition.