Gothenburg: Göteborg: European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020


Gothenburg aka Göteborg is awarded ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020’ by a European Union’s body. Tourism is European Union’s third largest socio-economic activity and accounts for about 10% of the union’s GDP. EU reckons ‘innovation, accessibility, and sustainability are the future of tourism, and the European Commission aims to keep European tourism ahead of the curve’.


European Capital of Smart Tourism is an EU-initiative which recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation, and cultural heritage & creativity. It aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices.

Gothenburg and Málaga have been selected as the winners of the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism competition. In addition, four cities received 2020 European Smart Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements which are: Breda (Accessibility), Gothenburg (Sustainability), Ljubljana (Digitalisation) and Karlsruhe (Cultural heritage and Creativity).

“Gothenburg aspires to stay on top of digital trends. Both citizens and visitors are able to benefit from this approach as the city aspires, in all its digital initiatives, to achieve equal access for all, affordable technology, effective long-term planning and the promotion of public-private partnerships. This has paved the way for abundant 4G coverage, smart grids for traffic and electricity, accessible and open government data, future-oriented public transport systems, optimised for all citizens and dedicated environmental protection platforms,” the award givers noted. It acknowledged the city’s authorities’ efforts in promoting and sustaining the city ‘in collaboration with local tourism industry stakeholders, make use of all digital channels to enhance the visitor experience’.

The city was praised as the sustainability pioneer. It said, Gothenburg has also implemented far-reaching measures, to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy the city. The city was a pioneer in issuing green bonds and was one of the first places to set consumption-based emission targets. 92% of the city’s hotels and 100% of meeting facilities are now environmentally certified and events taking place in the city benefit from the ‘Event Impact Calculator’, a tool that has come as a result of local tech and science partnerships that forecasts potential environmental impacts and supports organisers to value events from an economic, social and environmental point of view. It is down to these initiatives that, for the past three years, Gothenburg has been named the world’s most sustainable destination, by the Global Destination Sustainability Index.”

Goteborg & Co, the official promoter of the city among others, said on its website that “Gothenburg is not a global metropolis, or even a capital city. Even so, we are a city that makes an impact on big issues.” It said, “We care about people and we care about the planet. Therefore, in Gothenburg, we do things that we believe in and we do them in our own way. Together. Because when you are small, you need to be great at working together. This approach has built a sharing culture that has helped businesses and projects to grow. Some to the size of Volvo Cars. No matter if you’re a craft beer brewer or a tech innovator – there is always a network of peers and colleagues to rely on.”

Gothenburg aims to double tourism by 2030.