Paphos: European Capital of Smart Tourism 2023

April 4, 2023

Paphos is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, the place where myths and legends are still alive. It is a city that is located at a unique geographical location and a cultural crossroads, where old and new creatively co-exist in a blend of pride and optimism for the future.

Paphos is proud to have won the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2023 award. The European Capital of Smart Tourism recognises outstanding achievements in smart tourism in European cities. Smart tourism responds to new challenges and demands in a fast-changing sector, including the evolution of: 1) Digital tools, products and services, 2) Equal opportunity and access for all visitors, 3) Sustainable development of the local area, 4) Support to creative industries, local talent and heritage.  

For this initiative the cornerstones of smart tourism are being defined by excellence of tourist destinations across the EU in the four award categories: Accessibility, Sustainability, Digitalisation and Cultural Heritage & Creativity.

Sustainability: 

A wide range of green mobility solutions and an extensive network of bikes and bike tracks take visitors to historic sites, vibrant neighbourhoods and beautiful landscapes surrounding the city of Paphos. Through investments in sustainable lighting, recycling initiatives, smart water management, and an extensive network of green mobility solutions including bikes and bike tracks, Paphos is transforming from a mass tourism magnet into an innovative, modern, and sustainable holiday destination accessible to all.

Accessibility: 

Paphos is committed to making its attractions accessible to all visitors. The city’s public transportation system is well-connected and makes it easy for travelers to reach various world-heritage sights and attractions. Additionally, Paphos has made significant efforts to ensure that transportation and most tourist sites are fully accessible, with smart, multilingual apps and signs guiding visitors around the city. These initiatives aim to provide a seamless, comfortable experience for visitors of all abilities, making Paphos an inclusive destination for all.

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Digitalisation: 

Paphos has fully embraced the digital age to enhance the visitor experience. At the UNESCO Archaeological Park in Kato Paphos, visitors can use an intelligent travel guide app that provides detailed information about the historic site. Beyond the park, visitors can take advantage of online payments and smart parking technology to streamline their visit. Smart, multilingual apps and signs throughout the city also make it easy for visitors to find their way around and access important information. Overall, Paphos has leveraged digital tools to create a seamless and comfortable experience for visitors.

Cultural Heritage & Creativity: 

To enhance the visitor’s experience and promote the sustainability of the local economy, Paphos has taken steps to preserve and promote its cultural heritage and creativity. The city not only showcases its historical sites and cultural events but also highlights its traditional crafts such as ‘Fytiotiko’ weaving, basketry, and pottery. These practices are preserved through workshops and exhibitions that encourage visitors to pass them on to the next generation while involving the local community in the economic success of Paphos’ holistic tourism strategy. By valuing its cultural heritage and encouraging its preservation, Paphos is creating a unique and authentic travel experience for visitors while promoting sustainable tourism.

In its 4000 years of history, hospitality has always been part of the culture of the inhabitants of Paphos, and the city’s identity. Today Paphos makes for an authentic travel destination, it has become a “model” for smart tourism in Europe and is at the top of the international rankings in terms of sustainability, innovation and the integration of smart practices.

In order to create awareness about the initiative and promote the EU Capital title, the Paphos Tourism Board has launched an intensive campaign within Cyprus targeting the entire public of the country to highlight the title of the European Capital of Smart Tourism as well create more awareness about this EU Initiative.

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