Travelling in the digital era

Over 600 European cities can apply until the 30th June 2018 to compete for the title of the first European Capital of Smart Tourism.

On the initiative of the European Parliament, the European Commission launched in April the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition in order to recognise outstanding achievements of EU cities as tourism destinations in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, cultural heritage and creativity as well as digitalisation.

With this initiative, the Commission aims to promote the sharing of best practices and to encourage the development of innovative, inclusive, culturally diverse and sustainable tourism in European cities.

Why tourism needs to be smart – and digital

Tourism is a vital contributor to the EU’s economic growth and employment: five EU Member States are among the world’s top ten tourist destinations worldwide. As the EU is welcoming more and more visitors every year, the development and diffusion of smart tourism practices is essential. Tourism is an activity that requires solutions to foster and protect cultural heritage while reconciling economic growth with sustainable, accessible and digital development.

The rapid evolution of digitalisation and the steady rise of Internet usage in the last decade across all aspects of life have drastically changed the way people travel and experience tourism. Almost 40% of the population in the EU relies on the Internet for making travel arrangements, booking accommodations or finding out about other travel related activities. Innovation and new information technologies have become determining factors to stimulate the competitiveness of the European tourism sector.[1]

Keep an eye on our competition to see which EU cities have implemented outstanding measures in digital, accessible, sustainable and cultural tourism.

The shortlisted finalists will be announced mid-August on our website:


Friederike Sandow,, + 49 (0) 30 700 186 315

Sandra Bumbar-Malchow,, + 49 (0) 30 700 186 707


Notes to Editors

  1. Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the expectation of digital information, products and services; equal opportunities and access for all visitors; sustainable development of the local area; and support to creative industries and local talent.
  2. The European Capital of Smart Tourism competition opened on 11 April 2018. Details on how to apply and terms and conditions can be found at The deadline for applications is 30 June 2018 at 16:00 CET. Finalists will be announced mid-August 2018 and winners by the end of September.
  3. 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. Please refer to the Guide for Applicants for more information.
  4. Eligible applications will be evaluated against a set of established assessment criteria by a panel of independent experts. The panel will shortlist up to 10 cities, which will be invited to Brussels to present their candidature for the Capital title in front of a European Jury during September 2018. The Jury will select two European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019.
  5. Please feel free to share and link to the newly released video about the European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative.

[1] For more information please visit: