At a gala event in Helsinki, held as a part of the European Tourism Forum, Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana was on 9 October 2019 announced as the city winning the 2020 European Smart Tourism award for its outstanding achievements in the category of Digitalisation. As the European Jury, comprising representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, European Committee of the Regions and the EU Member States (Finland and France), explained, while Ljubljana is a small capital it is still an increasingly important facilitator of smart ideas.
Ljubljana has, the Jury noted, closed down its city centre for cars entirely, visitors can purchase the URBANA smart card, making it easy to choose among various environmentally friendly transport options. A special mention went to the adaptations that allow visitors with disabilities to explore the city, including the Ljubljana by Wheelchair app. Slovenia’s capital also makes its services easier for visitors by providing them with access to information and digitalisation.
The Jury, headed by European Commission, emphasized also Ljubljana Tourism’s active communications using various social media platforms along the option for visitors to create their own travel itinerary in Ljubljana. Special notice went to two apps: the Nexto audio guide app which leads visitors through the city with a smart audio guide that engages users through features, such as puzzles, riddles and item collections via mobile scanning; and the Tap Water Ljubljana app that provides its users with information on where the closest water fountains are.
European Capital of Smart Tourism is the EU initiative aiming to promote smart tourism in EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices. This is not the first time Ljubljana was recognized for its outstanding achievements in Smart Tourism. Last year, Ljubljana received the 2019 European Smart Tourism Award in Sustainability.
This year, next to Ljubljana, three cities were recognized for outstanding achievement by European cities as tourism destinations: Breda in Netherlands for Accessibility, Gothenburg (Sweden) for Sustainability, and Karlsruhe (Germany) for Cultural heritage and creativity. The two cities that were selected as winners of the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2020 were Gothenburg (Sweden) and Málaga (Spain).