Pia Pakarinen, Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor, Alain Galliano, Vice-President of Lyon Métropole, and Jean-Michel Daclin, President of ONLYLYON Tourism and Congress, received the 2019 trophies on behalf of their cities.
Four other cities also received 2019 European Smart Tourism Awards for outstanding achievement in the four competition categories:
- Málaga (Accessibility)
- Ljubljana (Sustainability)
- Copenhagen (Digitalisation)
- Linz (Cultural Heritage & Creativity)
The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a new EU initiative, based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which secured its funding for 2018 – 2019 through a preparatory action. The initiative seeks to strengthen tourism-generated innovative development in EU cities and their surroundings, increase city attractiveness, and strengthen cities' economic growth and job creation. It also aims to establish a framework for the exchange of best practice between cities participating in the contest, as well as creating opportunities for cooperation and new partnerships.
To become a European Capital of Smart Tourism, a city needed to demonstrate exemplary achievements as a tourism destination in implementing innovative and intelligent solutions in all four award categories (accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage and creativity).
38 cities from 19 EU countries applied, but Helsinki and Lyon stood out for their innovative tourism measures and the impressive programme of activities they put together to celebrate their achievements.
Helsinki and Lyon have been awarded with promotional videos, an exhibition at European Tourism Day, as well as purpose-built giant sculptures that will be installed in prominent locations in the two cities. The cities will implement their programmes of activities during 2019 and will benefit from promotional actions at EU level.