The official Award Ceremony will take place at the European Commission's European Tourism Day conference on 7 November 2018 in Brussels.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism secured its funding for 2018 – 2019 through a Preparatory Action based on a proposal from the European Parliament. The initiative supports tourism-generated innovative development in EU cities and their surroundings.
38 Cities from 19 EU countries applied to compete for the title but both Helsinki and Lyon stood out because of
- their innovative tourism measures in all 4 competition categories
- their programme of activities to celebrate their achievements
- their suitability as role models for other upcoming smart tourism destinations
A 7-member jury chose the 2 European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019. The jury was made up of representatives from the Commission, Parliament, European Committee of Regions, and Bulgaria and Austria (holders of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during 2018).
4 other cities were announced as the winners in the specific categories of
- Accessibility (Málaga)
- Sustainability (Ljubljana)
- Digitalisation (Copenhagen)
- Cultural Heritage & Creativity (Linz)
These 4 cities will be recognised with European Smart Tourism Awards for their achievements in these 4 categories.
Throughout 2019, Helsinki and Lyon will get EU wide visibility. Both cities will receive expert communication and branding support, which will include the production of promotional videos, the installation of a purpose-built sculpture and bespoke promotional activities.
All of the winning cities will be awarded during European Tourism Day on 7 November 2018, a major EU tourism event. They will be featured at the exhibition where several hundred participants from all over Europe can discover their best practices in smart tourism.