18 October 2022

The European Commission announced the 7 shortlisted cities for the 2023 European capital of Smart Tourism title. Among the cities, the Intelligent Cities Challenge is proud to see three of ICC cities: Aarhus (Denmark), Gijón (Spain) and Porto (Portugal).
The European capital of Smart Tourism was created by the European Commission to recognise remarkable achievements in smart tourism across Europe. The tourism sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is now changing at a very fast pace with a constant need for innovation. While the demand for more sustainable solutions keeps growing, the implementation of smart tourism practices is a necessity to remain in line with the objectives set by the green and digital transitions.

The award rewards cities across four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage. These categories are covering the main area of Smart Tourism.
The city of Aarhus was shortlisted for its outstanding work towards a smarter tourism. This work is included in the city’s sustainable strategy. The city developed many different projects around the digital and green transition within the tourism sector such as “DigitalEX – EXPANDING the digital destination” project aiming at further develop the interaction and engagement with guests before, during and after their visit. More information on Aarhus’ achievements can be found here.
The Spanish city of Gijón was shortlisted for its effort to make tourism accessible to anyone in its city. The main achievement of the city is the introduction of the Integral Plan for Safe, Sustainable Mobility (PIMSS) 2018-2024 as part of a legislative package to promote road safety and user-friendly transport. The city is also keen to challenge tourism to make it more sustainable. Its efforts on this subject are already recognised as the city was awarded with “Biosphere Gold Destination” in 2019. More information on Gijón’s achievements can be found here.
The city of Porto is a tourist destination recognised since a long time. It was added to the UNESCO’s as World Heritage List in 1996, and since then the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the city as well as preserve the environment keep gaining importance in the city’s strategy. The city focused on the digitalisation of the available tools to guests. For instance, the city developed a mobile-friendly VisitPorto website as an essential platform for tourists to organise their stay. More information on Porto’s achievement can be found here.
The Intelligent Cities Challenge wishes the best to Aarhus, Gijón and Porto for their presentation before the European Jury. The Jury will then designate two winners who will be announced in the coming months.