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Europe’s ‘smartest’ tourist cities named

Finland has long been considered home to arguably the best education system in the world. 


Now, its smarts have extended to tourism, at least in its capital, with Helsinki just awarded first place in the European Commission’s (EU) new European Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 Competition. 


Factors taken into consideration in the competition included the city’s image, accessibility, sustainable travel, tourism digitalisation, cultural heritage and tourism innovation. 



Entering with the theme “Helsinki - taking smart to new heights”, the Finnish capital tied for first place with Lyon, France in the competition.


Helsinki as a city is committed to promoting sustainable development and is showing the way in this regard also within the tourism sector in Europe,” Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen said. 


“Over the coming year we will formulate a sustainable tourism action plan that will further strengthen our role as a pioneer in this joint project.


Helsinki Marketing CEO Laura Aalto said the city was “showing the way internationally”. 


Helsinki’s success in this competition was made possible by our reinforced image as an attractive and functional city destination,” she said. 


“In addition, our long-term work in offering and utilising open data has clearly become one of our leading success factors.”


As well as holding the EU Presidency in the second half of 2019, Helsinki will host the World Tourism Cities Federation Summit in August 2019.


Nearly 40 cities from 19 EU nations took part in the inaugural competition, which aims to promote smart tourism in Europe as well as strengthen destinations. 


Along with Helsinki and Lyon, other finalists were Brussels, Ljubljana, Lyon, Malaga, Nantes, Palma, Pozna, Tallinn and Valencia. 


Have you been to Helsinki? What are your thoughts on the city?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 25 September 2018

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