Dublin and Cork shortlisted for European Capital of Smart Tourism award

Irish cities chosen alongside Genoa, San Sebastián, Bremerhaven and Helsingborg

Ireland’s capital and its “real capital” are set to go head to head for a prestigious international honour, as both Dublin and Cork made it on to the shortlist to become next year’s European Capital of Smart Tourism.

According to the European Commission, the “esteemed honour” is granted to a city which “demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to shaping the future of sustainable and innovative tourism”.

From a pool of 30 candidates spanning 17 countries, the two Irish cities are joined by Bremerhaven in Germany, the Italian city of Genoa, Helsingborg in Sweden and Spain’s San Sebastián.

The shortlist for 2024 is made up of six destinations, instead of the four that had been initially planned as a result of a dead heat between two of the cities, the Commission said.

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The next step is for the finalists to present their proposals to a jury made up of independent experts.

“The chosen city will receive extensive support in communication and branding,” with the award including the “creation of a promotional video, installation of a hashtag sculpture for public exhibition in the city and the implementation of tailored promotional campaigns aimed at boosting visibility at both the EU and global levels”, which the Commission said would see visitor numbers increase.

Starting in 2018, the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition has provided a platform to highlight exceptional practices and achievements.

It rewards cities for their innovative approaches in areas such as accessibility, digitalisation, sustainability and cultural heritage and creativity.

Previous winners include Seville and Pafos in 2023, València and Bordeaux in 2022 and Málaga and Gothenburg in 2020.

“These cities have emerged as exemplary models for smart tourism in Europe, earning prominent international rankings for sustainability, innovation, quality of life and the effective incorporation of smart strategies,” the European Commission said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor