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Gothenburg is the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a competition created by the European Commission to reward cities setting examples in smart, innovative and inclusive tourism solutions. Back in August, Gothenburg was chosen, together with Málaga, as a winner for 2020. The cities appointed as the capital must show strong performance in four categories: accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage/creativity. In its competition entry, Gothenburg highlighted strengths in all four categories and underlined the ambition to share knowledge and experiences with other destinations.

In addition to the main designation, Gothenburg also received a prize in the sustainability category.


Gothenburg is not a large city, not even a capital. Despite this, or perhaps thanks to this, we have developed our own way of driving innovation and change through collaboration. Smaller cities must work hard and become experts in creating effective partnerships. This has been Gothenburg’s strategy for two decades now. And with a top position in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (four years in a row!) and a runner up position on Future Today Institute’s list of the World’s Smartest Cities 2019, we dare to say that we have been successful.

Gothenburg is growing like never before and the growth will continue for many years thanks to property and infrastructure investments. Tourism is booming as city conditions are improving. However, the tourism industry needs to develop new, sustainable ways to take advantage of the growing tourism sector. This is an opportunity to go from smart to smarter.


Our leading role as the world’s most sustainable destination will help us bring attention to smart tourism through already planned lectures and speeches. From getting a top position in the Global Destination Sustainability Index we already have great experiences with creating themed press trips. This will definitely be done with smart tourism as well, welcoming delegations from other cities within the EU.

We will follow, and scale up, Helsinki’s example and invite the growing Capital of Smart Tourism network to meetings in Brussels and Gothenburg. Also, we will bring smart tourism into our other networks, such as European Cities Marketing, ICCA – International Congress and Convention Association – EU members, and the National Swedish Destination Network led by Visit Sweden.

In cooperation with Gothenburg University, Centre for Tourism, we prepare to give smart tourism classes to master students; tomorrows tourism industry leaders.


We believe that moving further and going smarter is best done together. Sharing and collaborating is in our DNA. Therefore, we intend to raise the smart tourism torch and open the dialogue wherever we participate. The best channels, however, will be the ones of our partners from the tourism industry.

Gothenburg application for European Capital of Smart Tourism

News about Gothenburg and the Capital of Smart Tourism 2020

Welcome to the Tourism Industry’s Knowledge Hub where open data creates new insights and innovation!


Göteborg & Co are now investing in developing a concept and prototype of a destination data platform that will form the basis for a long-term effort to become one of Europe’s leading knowledge hub in the hospitality industry.

The concept focuses on four central areas, where open data is at the centre.

  • Gathers data from the tourism industry’s most important data sources in transport, housing and activities
  • Binds together, enriches and creates insights
  • Analyzes, follows up and improves the collection and enrichment process
  • Packages and distributes open data

The destination data platform is intended to strengthen the ability for external monitoring, analysis and statistics by enabling the collection, enrichment (interconnection), analysis, and making data available to the operators of the tourism industry.

The goal is to provide initial insights and improved decision support in the destination development work at Göteborg & Co and with participating partners. In a first step towards the destination data platform, Göteborg & Co has decided to work together HiQ in Gothenburg.

The need for digitalisation in the tourism industry


The ongoing crisis accelerates the need for digitalisation in the tourism industry and many new initiatives are underway.

In June, a digital Think Tank was implemented by Göteborg & Co. Both representatives from the tourism industry in West Sweden and the IT industry participated.

The Think Tank focused on how digitalisation and new technology can contribute to the development of the tourism industry and how we plan and act in a new normal after the crisis. Participants shared their thoughts on opportunities and challenges with the digitalisation and the implementation of new technology.

The economic association GREAT facilitated the Think Tank. This initiative is the first in a series of planned workshops during the year.

How can Smart Tourism be relevant to a tourism industry in crisis?


The hospitality industry, like many other industries, has been severely affected by covid-19. Many countries have closed their borders, cities have been closed down for extended periods and strict restrictions apply to residents. Larger meetings and events are canceled or postponed. It is not yet possible to say what the long-term consequences are for the hospitality industry.

The program for the year as the European Capital of Smart Tourism is now being reviewed as many of the planned activities are postponed or canceled. We are now adjusting to an even more digital focus.
We are also sharing knowledge and experience in the European network for European Capital of Smart Tourism on a weekly basis.

Each week, 10 European destinations meet in digital meetings to discuss covid-19’s impact and effects, as well as share initiatives. Destinations participating are Málaga, Breda, Ljubljana, Karlsruhe, Helsinki, Lyon and Linz.

Currently, the focus lies on how we can set and prepare our destinations for the new normal after covid-19. For the moment, smart tourism is all about being a smart destination in times of crisis and still being able to look forward and focus on a long-term development.

European Capital of Smart Tourism statue


When Gothenburg was awarded the European Capital of Smart Tourism by the European Commission, the city also received a statue as part of the prize. This statue has now been given a place of honour at the square Kungsportsplatsen, just outside Gothenburg Visitor Centre.

Today, the inauguration took place with Anneli Rhedin, Lord Mayor of Gothenburg and Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

Gothenburg starts the year as the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism


Representatives of the city, academia and the business community of Gothenburg gathered on February 7 2020 for a launching event with regards to Gothenburg’s win as the 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism. The aim was to bring together as many people as possible to help make this year an engine of development for the destination.

– Gothenburg has been given a fantastic opportunity to drive the sustainable development of smart tourism cities in Europe. We intend to carry the title proudly with our stakeholders and showcase our strengths as a destination, says Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

Read more about the kick-off event.

Gothenburg present at FITUR Madrid 2020


The 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism, Gothenburg and Málaga, together with the other 2020 European Smart Tourism Awards winners Breda, Ljubljana and Karlsruhe were present in this year’s FITUR travel trade fair in Madrid. Representatives of the cities participated in the FITUR Know-How event Developing Smart Tourism Destinations on January 23 2020.

It was an interesting discussion, in which the cities explained how they each address the current challenges in the tourism sector and how they became smart tourism destinations. The public had the opportunity to learn about the European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative also at the stand – getting an insight into how the EU is supporting cities in promoting their good practices and working together on smart tourism.

See more photos from FITUR Madrid 2020.

Gothenburg kicks off the year as 2020 European Capital of Smart Tourism


A kick-off meeting with the participation of Gothenburg’s representatives, European Commission tourism policy officers and the European Capital of Smart Tourism Secretariat took place in Gothenburg, one of the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism.

Gothenburg was represented by Katarina Torstensson, Smart Tourism & Sustainability Strategist; Helena Lindqvist, Project Manager Gothenburg European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020; Lars Isacson, Manager Research & Development and Jonas Norrman, Smart Cities Expert.

Facts about the award

The European Commission awards the title of “European Capital of Smart Tourism” to two European cities at a time. The winning cities must stand out from the competition by developing tourism in smart, innovative and inclusive ways. Helsinki and Lyon held the title in 2019, and Gothenburg and Málaga are the smart capitals of 2020.

The competition is open to cities in the EU with a population of over 100,000. In EU countries that do not have such large cities, the largest city may enter.

By rewarding smart destinations, the EU aims to promote innovative, inclusive and multicultural tourism development. It also aims to highlight how tourism can contribute to sustainable development.

Read more:

Please, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how your organization can take part of the collaboration:
Helena Lindqvist, Project Manager European Capital of Smart Tourism
Phone: +46 725-41 84 50