Next November 7 we will know which two cities are designated European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2019. Ten cities are eligible for this distinction, three of which are Spanish: Valencia, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca.
The three cities are competing against two French cities, Lyon and Nantes, as well as Brussels (Belgium), Helsinki (Finland), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Poznan (Poland) and Tallinn (Estonia). All have been selected in recognition of their outstanding achievements in smart tourism. Spain is the only country with 3 finalists among the 10 selected.
They are not the only ones that have been presented. In the first phase, 38 cities from 19 EU countries participated, of which only 10 made it to the finals. To choose them, the jury analyzed the milestones achieved by these cities as destinations in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitization and cultural heritage and creativity.
In the case of Palma, the Jury highlighted «the overcoming of its role as a destination solely for sun and beach and valued aspects such as its modernity, accessibility and sustainability, as well as a history and a cultural, artistic and culinary legacy that is reflected in the tourist offer».
For their part, the Valencian authorities highlight the consolidation of «a successful tourism model, which is at the same time sustainable, friendly and integrated with the city and friendly with the territory». Valencia, say the City Council, is «promoting» the adaptation of infrastructures, the application of new technologies and the creation of services for everyone, with the aim of guaranteeing a «high degree of universal accessibility for any visitor».
Malaga, which also opts for the distinction of ‘Best European Destination 2019’, stands out for its digitization projects at the tourist level and is defined as a «unique destination that mixes modernity and tradition, high-level culture, beach, gastronomy and shopping, and celebrates amazing events».
This is the first time that the EU has awarded this distinction. With it, it aims to promote smart tourism, enhance innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism developments, and extend and facilitate the exchange of best practices.
The two winning cities will benefit from EU support in communication and branding, a promotional video, the placement of a sculpture created for this purpose in their city center and other promotional actions.
In addition, four other cities will receive special recognition for their achievements in each of the competition’s categories. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in Brussels on the occasion of European Tourism Day. It’s getting closer. Malaga, Valencia, Palma. All of them have every reason to opt for the award, will any of them be the winner?