28 October 2021
Valencia, Spain has been named European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022. The city’s candidacy has been chosen by a jury of the European Commission, specializing in accessibility, sustainability, digitization, cultural heritage and creativity. Valencia’s commitment to developing projects that promote smart tourism; networking and promoting the development of innovative, sustainable, and inclusive tourism, were recognized and cemented the jury’s decision.
The councilor for tourism of the Valencia City Council, Emiliano Garcia, said in a press statement that this distinction from the E.U. “represents recognition of the work on sustainability that the Valencia destination is developing, together with the business sector.”
“Valencia is positioning itself as a cosmopolitan, intelligent and sustainable tourist destination, at the level of large tourist cities and European capitals,” he added. “We are leading pioneering projects in terms of sustainability, such as the one relating to the calculation, certification and reduction of carbon and water footprints, or the development of a complete Tourist Intelligence System. We are positioning ourselves as a destination for international filming thanks to the constitution of the Film Office; we are the World Design Capital for 2022, and in parallel, we continue to maximize the value and visibility of our most traditional heritage, both tangible and intangible.”
Supported by a panel of experts in communication and brand development, Valencia will produce a promotional video, a large sculpture, including a hashtag that will be installed in a prominent place in the city and various promotional activities within the European Union to support visibility and awareness of the award in 2022.
Valencia has developed its tourism strategy on the pillar of sustainability, promoting projects that allow progress and meet the DMOs sustainable development goals. Among these projects and taking into consideration the city’s economic, social, and environmental impact is the recent audit of its carbon and water footprint of tourism activity. Through the reduction and compensation of tourism related activities, Valencia aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025.
Significant efforts have been made to increase the space dedicated to pedestrians. Showcasing Valencia’s commitment to mobility, more than 95 miles of bike lanes have been created in the city, the promotion of facilities with special equipment has increased, architectural barriers have been eliminated and multiple projects have been developed to adapt the tourist offer to ensure those with reduced mobility can enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Aimed at easing the decision-making process in the business sector, communication tools such as tourist chatbots, smart tourist information kiosks—which help travelers 24 hours a day, seven days a week—as well as geocaching experiences to discover the city’s attractions are some examples of the digital advances Valencia has taken to connect with visitors via tech.
A city full of cultural heritage, historical character, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Valencia is committed to the preservation of its key tourism offerings and attractions. In addition to the journey to declare paella as Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the candidacy also highlighted other international recognitions—such as the 2022 World Design Capital award—as well as the synergies created between the cultural, creative and tourism industries.
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