Paphos and Seville have been chosen by the EU as the 2023 European capitals of smart tourism, recognising the two cities’ outstanding achievements in smart, innovative, sustainable and inclusive tourism.
The announcement on Thursday was welcomed by the president of the Paphos Hoteliers Association (Pasyxe) Thanos Michaelides, who said the prize includes benefits and specialised branding for the city in 2023, including a dedicated video promoting it, an ad hoc hashtag, as well as a range of activities for tourists, both locals and foreign.
A total of 29 cities from 13 different countries took part in the competition.
“The choice of Paphos as the European capitals of smart tourism shows how progressive the city is. Paphos has been working tirelessly in the past year to improve its product,” he said.
“We are very satisfied with the result, which shows the extent of the successful cooperation between private companies and businesses and the deputy ministry of tourism, as well as the Paphos Regional Board of Tourism.”
Michaelides said that smart tourism relies heavily on using technology to improve the tourists’ experience and the way the city attracts visitors.
“Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of digital tools, products and services,” the EU says on its Facebook page dedicated to the competition.
“Smart tourism means equal opportunity and access for all visitors, sustainable development of the local area and support to creative industries, local talent and heritage.
According to a press release announcing the winning cities, the European Smart Tourism Capitals’ competition is part of the post-pandemic EU recovery plan for the tourism industry, which includes supporting innovative tourism measures and are set to become role models for digital, accessible, sustainable and creative tourism in Europe and beyond.
“Paphos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cyprus and it attracts most of the visitors coming to the island,” the press release said.
The whole city is included in the Unesco world heritage list and its area attracts over 550,000 international visitors with an average duration of stay of eight days, has the capacity of 12,000 licensed tourist beds.
“It is estimated that the tourism industry within the city of Paphos employs around 14,000 people. The city is currently investing heavily in the region’s infrastructures, tourist products, services and experiences offered, tourism technology and environmental protection.”