European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

What are the cities known as the European capital of smart tourism ? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, fast-paced technological advancement and innovation have led to tough competition for European cities to be shortlisted as smart tourism hubs every year. European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

The smart tourism capital website, which forms a part of the European Commission website, sheds some light on this question. Below, we present some of the leading cities in this area and also discuss the most promising, innovative, smart tourism features.

“The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative, currently financed under the COSME Programme. Our aim is to promote innovation to strengthen smart destinations in Europe, to enhance tourism offers for visitors and to facilitate new partnerships, networking and the exchange of best practices. We also aim to foster the EU’s forward-thinking tourism offer to global audiences and sustainably increase footfall at pioneering destinations that offer unique visitor experiences.” (Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, 2022)

Bordeaux (France) and Valencia (Spain) European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2022

The 2022 European Capital of Smart Tourism is the third edition of the competition. This initiative rewards European cities for outstanding, innovative and sustainable tourism practices. Applications were first evaluated by a panel of independent experts. In the second step, up to seven shortlisted cities were invited to present their city’s candidature in front of the European Jury. The European Jury has selected two winners, the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2022.

This year, the jury picked Bordeaux (France) and Valencia (Spain) as the European Capitals of Smart Tourism in 2022.

Valencia, home to three UNESCO World Heritage Declarations lies on the Spanish South-eastern coast and is the third-largest city in Spain with over 791,000 inhabitants. The picturesque city welcomes 2.2 million visitors every year and is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Declarations. The city boasts avant-garde architecture, a futuristic Arts and Sciences City and many creative events such as the Goyas film awards or the Michelin food gala. Its tourism sector employs over 30,000 professionals and it has been developing its innovative practices, making it a strong candidate for the European Capital of Smart Tourism.

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

On the other hand, Bordeaux is a cosmopolitan city with over 257,000 inhabitants where people and cultures meet. It is a place of creativity and a gateway to the South-West of France. Here, where multiple environments intertwine, the river that runs through the greatest vineyards in the world, all the way to the Gironde Estuary, is found – close to the Atlantic Ocean and Arcachon Bay. Bordeaux may well be an 18th-century city, but it is proudly eco-friendly and innovative. While the Gironde capital constitutes the largest UNESCO-listed area in the world with 347 monuments, it is also a pioneer for urban regeneration. The city is fully committed to welcoming refugees.

Smart tourism

Smart tourism describes the increasing reliance of tourism destinations, their industries, and tourists on emerging forms of information and communications technology (ICT) that allow for massive amounts of data to be transformed into value propositions.

In smart tourism, information technology plays a very important role that integrating the services provided to the tourist. In these countries, many tourism businesses and projects have started from smart tourism. In other words, smart tourism is a system that will improve tourism services for tourists and provide integrated tourism services to customers.

In general, the word smart is derived from the new generation of information technology to provide tourism services, using smartphones, microchips such as RFID and NFC, etc., which in fact means the use, integration and sharing of data. From the virtual world to the real world, it creates unique experiences for tourists and locals alike.

European Capital of Smart Tourism 2021 is a city full of cultural heritage, historical character, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Tech and the tourist experience

Today, smartphones have become one of the most important parts of our lives, and everywhere we look, this tool, as one of the most important means of mass communication, has an undeniable role in our lives. On the other hand, smartphones have a great impact on the planning and selection of a destination by tourists. Sharing sites and all kinds of tourism applications have become more accessible, the smart systems available to people and provide many facilities such as online planning, search for destination information, location, etc., and all these factors affect the choice of smart tourist destinations.

A tourist uses various smart tools to plan their trip to the European capital of smart tourism 2022; also writes about that attraction when they visit it through Foursquare or Google Now, and finally shares their opinions about restaurants or hotels in TripAdvisor.

Therefore, when we look at a trip, we find that the trips have gone beyond their traditional model and have been introduced through smartphones much more intelligently and as an irreplaceable tool in smart tourism.

Smart tourism examples are increasingly looking to create smart platforms to provide visitors with a more unique experience. European Capital of Smart Tourism 2021 and 2022 provides tourists with more integrated and desirable information.

Information and Communication Technology

ICT is the key to the conceptualization and development of smart tourism examples. The notion of smart tourism became popular only recently among academics and practitioners; But ICT with the ability to support tourism in an intelligent way has been discussed, developed, and envisioned for a long time. ICT is expected to be able to comprehend, profit from experience, acquire and retain knowledge.

Smart tourism rests on the ability to collect enormous amounts of data and intelligently store, process, combine, analyze and use them to create business innovation, operations and services. According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon that requires the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or commercial or professional purposes.

Launch of European Capitals of Smart Tourism competition

Smart cities are the future. Hence, a new competition was introduced: the ‘European Capitals of Smart Tourism’. The launch of the competition was in 2019 and the winning cities, namely Gothenburg (Sweden) and Málaga (Spain) were announced shortly after. There were a total of 35 cities from 17 European Union member states that competed. The competitions have been a success and have continued year after year, with the contenders now registering for the 2023 competition.

European Capital of Smart Tourism Initiative

Over the last two decades, more information has become available on the concepts such as interdisciplinary integration, structural innovation, partnerships, and collaboration.

These concepts are to address the challenges that smart tourism examples face. The European capital of smart tourism 2022 is a city full of cultural heritage, historical character, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The notion of smartness can improve competitiveness in the context of tourism destinations. Smart tourism has emerged as a subset of the smart city concept. The European capital of smart tourism recognizes outstanding achievements in smart tourism in European cities.

IoT solutions in the smart city have made great strides over the years. Living in a city has changed almost everything, especially in places where the development of technology interferes with the old ways of doing things. The Internet of Things acts as a mediator between these objects and helps citizens interact with systems created using devices such as smartphones, tablets, cars and even homes. Smart infrastructure provides the necessary foundation for all smart solutions. This infrastructure often includes automatic lighting, smart elevators and the like.

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

European Capital Of Smart Tourism In 2023

Today, the main destinations based on smart tourism are European countries such as Italy and Spain. In these countries, many tourism businesses and projects have started to use smart tourism. Knowledge, creativity, and innovation have triggered a new concept in the public, private and academic sectors. The main goal of smart cities is to optimize city functions, promote economic growth, and improve the quality of life for citizens by using smart technologies and data analysis. The smart city concept covers a variety of industries such as the tourism industry.

Smart tourism is a system that will improve tourism services for tourists and provide integrated tourism services to customers.

Four Categories to Evaluate the Smart Tourism destinations

There are four categories in which smart cities are evaluated: accessibility, sustainability, digitization, and cultural heritage and creativity. We showcase all of them in more detail below.

1. Accessibility

· Physical

· Information

2. Sustainability 

· Combat and accustomed to climate change

· Natural environment preservation and improvement

· Extend the flow of tourists

3. Digitalization

· Ease of information access for precise target groups

· Innovation as a tool for physical and psychological accessibility

4. Cultural Heritage and Creativity

· Sustainability, protection and branding of traditions and cultural heritage

· Communal infrastructures

· New creativity using cultural heritage

These factors and elements have been employed to scrutinize the best practices in smart tourism from 2019 to present and will most likely remain intact in 2023 Smart Tourism destinations competitions.

Special features of smart tourism

Smart tourism features consist of three specific components, such as cloud services, IoT and the End System service.

Cloud Services

A key feature of cloud services is that it provides a web browser-based access to a variety of technological tools, including applications, software, and data. They provide intelligent destinations with support for information management and analysis and complexity related to automation and control.

End System

End systems support users with tools and applications to access tourism-related services. These include applications aimed at providing services to tourists that provide access to products and support services, including the use of payment systems and interfaces.

Digital Transformation

In summary, the key features of a smart tourism destination are the digitization of systems, processes and services.

A higher level of the link between tourists and destinations, focusing on community and local government among other sectors; Higher level of interaction; Higher level of data production and use through integrated intelligent systems; And above all, there is a better orientation towards managing tourism experiences.

Creating and managing tourism experiences is one of the main goals of smart tourism systems. European Capital of Smart Tourism 2021 and European capital of smart tourism 2022 was suggested by the European Union.

European Capital Of Smart Tourism


Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. (2022, February 7). Bordeaux and València start the year as 2022 European Capitals of Smart Tourism. Retrieved from European Commission, official website:

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