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Gothenburg – the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a competition created by the European Commission to reward cities setting examples in smart, innovative and inclusive tourism solutions. Gothenburg was chosen, together with Málaga, as a winner for 2020. The cities appointed as the capital must show strong performance in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage/creativity. In its competition entry, Gothenburg highlighted strengths in all four categories and underlined the ambition to share knowledge and experiences with other destinations.

In addition to the main designation, Gothenburg also received a prize in the sustainability category.

Gothenburg application for European Capital of Smart Tourism

From smart to smarter

Gothenburg is not a large city, not even a capital. Despite this, or perhaps thanks to this, we have developed our own way of driving innovation and change through collaboration. Smaller cities must work hard and become experts in creating effective partnerships. This has been Gothenburg’s strategy for two decades now. And with a top position in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (four five years in a row!) and an award for Best Sustainable City Stay 2021 by Lonely Planet, we dare to say that we have been successful.

The tourism industry needs to develop new, sustainable ways. This is especially important after the tough 2020 and 2021 with less tourism and less business opportunities. This is an opportunity to go from smart to smarter.

Gothenburg programme

The covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the hospitality industry and the primary focus for most destinations has been recovery initiatives.  As a result of the pandemic, the planned Gothenburg programme had to be redesigned completely and many of the planned activities were performed digitally. This resulted in broader target groups and in a way a more accessible programme.

The Gothenburg programme comprised a total of 42 different activities during the year, including many national and international congresses and conferences, pod productions, digital workshops, and round table discussions.

Gothenburg initiated and developed the digital platform 101 Sustainable Ideas as a tool where you can explore ideas from all over the world, share inspiration and nominate new ideas.

One of the Gothenburg initiatives was the development of the Destination Data Platform focusing on providing open data. Gothenburg has been focusing on accelerating the digitalization development and aims to become more data-driven, both as a DMO and as a destination.

In cooperation with Malaga and with the universities in Gothenburg and Malaga we conducted Smart Tourism classes to master students, tomorrows tourism industry leaders.

Gothenburg also arranged a digital Smart Tourism conference and invited all finalists from the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition 2019 and 2020.

Raising awareness

We believe that moving further and going smarter is best done together. Sharing and collaborating is in our DNA. Therefore, we will continue to raise the smart tourism torch and open the dialogue wherever we participate. The best channels, however, will be the ones of our partners from the tourism industry.

Through the title, Göteborg & Co have had the opportunity to profile and position Gothenburg as a smart and sustainable destination in an international context. And to be able to promote sustainable growth on a national and European level. 

Facts about the award

The European Commission awards the title of “European Capital of Smart Tourism” to two European cities at a time. The winning cities must stand out from the competition by developing tourism in smart, innovative and inclusive ways. Helsinki and Lyon held the title in 2019, and Gothenburg and Málaga are the smart capitals of 2020.

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population of over 100,000. In EU countries that do not have such large cities, the largest city may enter.

By rewarding smart destinations, the EU aims to promote innovative, inclusive and multicultural tourism development. It also aims to highlight how tourism can contribute to sustainable development.

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Please, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how your organization can take part of the collaboration:
Helena Lindqvist, Project Manager European Capital of Smart Tourism
Phone: +46 725-41 84 50

Helena Lindqvist

Head of Marketing and Communications
+46 31 368 41 38