The European Commission has launched a new program focused on innovation. The European Capital of Smart Tourism will recognize achievements in smart, innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism by European cities.
Tourism is a major economic driver for the European Union, representing 10 percent of the EU GDP and employing more than 25 million people. As more people travel to the region, it is important for cities to remain on the cusp of technological innovation and develop sustainable practices in order for the tourism industry to survive and keep up with the pace of current growth.
By rewarding smart tourism initiatives, the EU hopes to drive innovation in areas such as developing equal opportunities and access for all visitors, sustainable development of local areas and support creative industries and local talent.
Two European cities will become the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019. The honors will go to cities that demonstrate innovation, creativity, and excellence in four categories—accessibility, sustainability, digitalization, cultural heritage, and creativity.
The competition for the next Capital of Smart Tourism began today, and the deadline for applications is June 30, 2018. The new Capital of Smart Tourism will be announced in mid-August.
Winners receive communication and branding support for one year, a marketing video, a purpose-built sculpture for their city center and tailor-made promotional actions.
The European Commission also nominates cities for the European Capital of Culture—another program that highlights two cities for their arts and cultural programs. This year, the European Capitals of Culture are Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and Valetta, the capital of Malta.
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