Bratislava and Ljubljana have been named amongst 10 finalists in a competition to find the European Capitals of Smart Tourism 2020. The winners will be selected in October.
Bratislava’s location lends itself especially well to sustainable travel, as there are very few cities that are so easily accessible by train from so many other places in Europe. A focus on accessibility continues once visitors arrive in the city as they are encouraged to take up the offer of the Bratislava City and Region Card which allows for unlimited travel in all zones of Bratislava’s integrated transport system. The city is also geared up to meet the needs of all visitors: most public transport routes and tourist sites offer barrier-free access and Gerulata, the ancient Roman site, even offers a tactual exhibition, where visually impaired visitors can be guided by touch.
Ljubljana was chosen because of its charm, on the one hand as a small capital but on the other hand as a facilitator for smart ideas. The Slovenian capital has closed down its city centre for cars entirely. Instead, the city gives tourists sustainable mobility options. But the most important sustainable tool for Ljubljana is its digital platform, where visitors can get information on events, accommodation, trips, art and anything else that’s going on in the city, creating their very own travel itinerary online. But Ljubljana’s digital success does not stop here: the Nexto app 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.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism, an initiative launched by the European Commission, recognises outstanding achievements in smart tourism in those European cities that respond to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of digital tools, products and services, equal opportunity and access for all visitors, sustainable development of the local area, and support to creative industries, local talent and heritage. The current European Capitals of Smart Tourism (two are selected each year) are Helsinki, Finland, and Lyon, France.