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European Capital of Smart Tourism: Travelling in the Digital Era

European Capital of Smart Tourism: Travelling in the Digital Era

Over 600 European cities can apply until 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 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFHqZ7v9rfY&t=2s).

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.

Keep an eye on the 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 the website: www.SmartTourismCapital.eu

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

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