Each year since 2018, the European Commission is selecting the European Capital of Smart Tourism, a competition between European cities recognising successes in smart tourism. Every year two European cities win the title of European Capitals of Smart Tourism and Bordeaux (France) and Valencia (Spain) won the titles for 2022 between the 30 cities from 16 countries, which submitted their applications. It is financed under the COSME Programme. Every destination in the competition is assessed in regard to four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, cultural heritage and creativity.
The European Commission aims to keep European tourism as a leader in smart tourism and these different categories represent the European vision of the future of tourism. The best practices in digitalisation from the 2022 European capital of smart tourism competition involve facilitating information for specific target groups, collecting information for smarter management and, physical and psychological accessibility through innovation. An example of a new target group is Chinese tourists. Some European cities developed apps to help attract Chinese tourists to access information in their language or use a popular payment application from their country during their trip. Another illustration of a best practice in digitalisation is the use of smart control rooms by cities, which allow municipalities, public authorities or other public service providers to collect data to improve mobility and security in the city but also planning future events with the data collected.
After Covid-19, virtual experiences have been trending and best practices like accessing museums digitally or AR and VR experiences support accessibility through innovation. Examples of digital practices can be found in this recently published collection of best practices: