The seven shortlisted cities for the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 competition were recently announced, and it’s no surprise that the Intelligence Cities Challenge (ICC) city and previous 2020 winners, Ljubljana is one of them.

Slovenia’s capital is well known for its green spaces, with its credentials in green and sustainable projects widely recognised. It is a designated ‘Tree City’ as part of the programme ‘Tree Cities of the World’ awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Additionally, it received the title of Planet Earth Friendly Municipality eight times in a row. The city discussed many of its green and digital initiatives during a recent Meet the Cities interview.

For this particular honour, Ljubljana’s outstanding achievements as a destination for smart tourism are being acknowledged. A panel of independent experts evaluated its initial application and chose to push it to the next round where finalists will present their city’s candidature to the European Jury. Two winners will be announced in November 2021.

Ljubljana is a city where sightseeing and technology go hand-in-hand through its proactive approach to sustainable tourism. More visitors and subsequent revenue lead to further development for the city, which means new initiatives to help revitalise areas can be more easily implemented. The city strives to recognise local products by promoting Slovenian food, wine and beer in hotels and restaurants.

Ljubljana won the digitalisation category of the European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2020. The Visit Ljubljana website best shows off the city’s digitalisation credentials through its promotion of travel and navigation apps. The WiFreeLjubljana network offers one hour of free internet per day and has 400 access points.

Ljubljana’s innovative approach to transportation is another reason why it is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe. Private vehicles are banned from the city centre, which means visitors get to tour the city in a unique way via the Urban zero-emission electric train. This train ride stops at all the main tourist attractions and is a fun, educational and environmentally friendly experience for people of all ages. Additionally, Ljubljana’s public transportation options of buses and bikes are unmatched. The integrated transport system allows tourists and locals alike to get around the city with ease using the Urbana card for transportation.

If Ljubljana is recognised as one of the two European Capitals of Smart Tourism, it will benefit from heightened visibility at the EU level with communication and branding support throughout 2022 including a promotional video, a sculpture installed in a prominent location and other diverse promotional activities.

The ICC wishes Ljubljana the best of luck with the next round and hopes to see its leading smart tourism expertise recognised.