Next year, Gothenburg will be the European Capital of Smart Tourism. The city will stand as an example to EU cities for the development of smart and sustainable tourism. The European Commission has now visited Gothenburg for an initial planning meeting in preparation for 2020.
When Gothenburg was appointed European Capital of Smart Tourism in October, the city began work on planning activities for 2020. Ilona Lelonek Husting, tourism policy officer for the EU Commission, received the first review of the plans on Friday 6 December.
“What impressed the EU Commission most was how successful we have been in building collaboration between the visitor industry and the city, and involving the residents of Gothenburg. We will now look at the activities we will organise ourselves in 2020 and what has already been planned,” says Helena Lindqvist, Project Manager at Göteborg & Co.
This will provide a platform for developing Gothenburg as a destination and collaborating even more closely with the city’s stakeholders. More importantly, it is about taking a lead role within the EU to develop tourism in a way that is sustainable in the long term.
The Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU initiative that is intended to raise the profile of Europe as a tourist destination and to create a platform for sharing best practices in tourism in European cities. The initiative is open to cities with a population of at least 100,000 and the selected capital must show strong performance in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation, and cultural heritage and creativity.
“It’s about integrating these four elements in order to develop really smart tourism. We have a unique capacity for collaboration in Gothenburg and I’m proud to be able to tell others about this. But we can also learn from others who have achieved a lot in these areas. That way we can become even smarter,” says Katarina Thorstensson, sustainability strategist at Göteborg & Co.
Tourism is growing and now accounts for 10 percent of the EU’s total GDP, creating 27 million jobs. It is a fragmented industry made up of 2.2 million companies, 90 percent of which are small or medium-sized. But there is great potential to grow further by enhancing visitors’ experiences, creating new opportunities for partnership and collaboration, and promoting innovation in European cities and regions.