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Competition launch: European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020

Competition launch: European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020
Published on: 26/02/2019
The European Commission is launching a new competition to award the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020 to 2 European cities with the smartest, most innovative and inclusive approaches to their tourism development.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative, based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which secured its funding for 2018 – 2019 through a Preparatory Action.
This initiative showcases and recognises outstanding achievements by EU cities as tourism destinations in 4 areas:

  • sustainability
  • accessibility
  • digitalisation
  • cultural heritage and creativity

In addition to the 2 capitals, 4 cities will be recognised with European Smart Tourism Awards for their achievements in 4 individual categories listed above.

The winning cities will receive a trophy at the award ceremony in October 2019, organised at the occasion of the European Tourism Forum in Helsinki.

By rewarding exemplary practices of smart tourism, the EU seeks to encourage innovation of tourism destinations, support culturally diverse and inclusive tourism and highlight the multi-faceted contribution of tourism to sustainable development.

What are the benefits?

As  Helsinki and Lyon –  European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2019, 2 new cities will hold the title of the European Capital of Smart Tourism during 2020 and will receive:

  • expert communication and branding support for a year
  • tailor made promotional actions designed to boost visitor numbers
  • a promotional video
  • a purpose-built sculpture for their city centre

Who can apply?

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population over 100,000 inhabitants. In EU countries where no city has more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply.

How to apply

Apply via the online application form by 10 May 2019 at 18:00 CET.

For more information and application, please visit the initiative’s website

Selection - Assessment criteria

In the first evaluation step, a panel of independent experts will assess eligible applications according to the following criteria:

  1. How innovative and smart are the implemented measures?
  2. How sustainable are the implemented measures over time?
  3. How inclusive are the implemented measures for different social groups?
  4. The degree to which the measures contributed to raising the city’s profile as a tourism destination. How effective are these measures? What are the measurable impacts of the measures implemented? 

For the evaluation step 2, up to10 shortlisted cities will be invited to present their candidatures in front of a European jury consisting of EU institutions' representatives and national authorities.

The European jury will make the final selection of the 2 European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2020. The 4 European Smart Tourism Awards will go to the best achievers in each individual category out of all applications received.


For more information please contact us at


  • 26 February 2019: Opening of competition
  • 10 May 2019 at 18:00 CET: Application deadline
  • May-July 2019: Evaluation period
  • August 2019: Announcement of shortlisted cities
  • 8 October 2019, Helsinki: European Jury meeting
  • 9 October 2019, Helsinki: Award Ceremony at the occasion of the European Tourism Forum