The European Capital of Smart Tourism is an initiative from the European Commission which recognizes and distinguishes European cities as tourism destinations based on outstanding achievements, accessibility, creativity, sustainability, digitalization and significant cultural heritage. The goal is to promote innovation and to enhance tourism for visitors while building strong partnerships and networking.
It started in 2019 with Helsinki and Lyon winning the inaugural competition while 2020 had Gothenburg and Malaga as the European Capitals of Smart Tourism. The following year the competition was put to a pause because of the global pandemic but was reinstated in 2022 with Bordeaux and Valencia being selected.
2023 is a very significant year for Cyprus and Paphos in particular. Seville and Paphos have been selected as European Capitals of Smart Tourism on November 9th, 2022, after a European Jury meeting in Brussels. Paphos and Seville won over historically and culturally rich cities such as Porto, San Sebastian and Zagreb.
Following 2017’s selection as European Capital of Culture along with Aarhus, this is another milestone achievement for the city of Paphos. The city has already been the top destination for visitors because of its diverse and historically rich areas and all-year-round warm climate and the aforementioned achievement will only enhance traffic to the island and overall visitors’ experience.
This will strengthen tourism development in the area and bring about new areas of innovation for the region. Holding the title will definitely result in an increase in attractiveness for visitors and will guarantee economic growth and new job opportunities. The city is already included in the UNESCO world heritage list and hosts historically and culturally significant places of interest and following its selection for European Capital of Smart Tourism, Paphos will evolve from a simple tourist destination to a hotspot of innovation and technological advancements.
With more than 550,000 international visitors per year, the growth of the region has been a sight to behold especially in the last 5 years. The experiences offered coupled with innovations in the tourism sector and the environmental sector have made the city thrive and being selected as European Capital of Smart Tourism will promote the city as an international destination even further and establish it as one of the best destinations in Europe.