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Smart City 2023

About the Destination

Pafos, once the capital of Cyprus during Roman times and the European Capital of Culture in 2017, has now been selected as the European Capital of Smart Tourism for 2023.


Pafos is a year-round destination and one of the island’s most diverse and historically rich regions. It is the most popular holiday resort in Cyprus, attracting the vast majority of visitors to the island. The entire city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and visitors can see key sites such as the UNESCO Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos, the Mediaeval Castle near the historic harbour, and the Old Town, among others.  This rich location attracts more than 1.5 million international tourists per year, with an average stay of 8 days, and has a capacity of 30,000 licenced tourist beds.

The entire region is currently investing extensively in the infrastructure of the destination, tourist products, services, and experiences, tourism technology, and environmental preservation. Pafos has evolved from a traditional mass-tourist sun-and-sea resort to a modern and innovative tourism destination.

What exactly is the European Capital of Smart Tourism?

The European Capital of Smart Tourism is a European Union initiative that promotes smart tourism in the EU by recognising cities for pioneering approaches in accessibility, digitalization, sustainability, cultural heritage, and innovation. Essentially, the initiative aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices.

What is a Smart Tourism Destination

A smart destination is one that has a technology, innovation, sustainability, accessibility, and inclusion strategy that extends throughout the tourism cycle: before, during, and after the trip. A smart destination considers both locals and tourists, incorporating multilingualism, cultural idiosyncrasies, and seasonality into tourism planning.

It may also be characterised as a destination with an interactive/participatory management style that attempts to enhance the quality of life for residents and tourists by utilising ICTs and other technology for data collecting, storage, exchange, and processing.

Smart destinations prioritise resource efficiency, a cleaner environment, and, ultimately, sustainability. A holiday location where tourist facilities and services such as accommodation, transport, and attraction booking are provided and managed through technology.

Furthermore, a smart destination uses sophisticated ICTs and technology tools to improve the tourist experience.

Last but not least, smart refers to destinations that use cutting-edge technology to ensure the sustainability of tourism destinations, facilitate tourist communication with the environment, and improve the quality of life for locals.

Advantages for the destination

  • It will carry out a number of projects and actions in 2023 and subsequent years
  • Pafos will achieve international prominence and its image will be further enhanced
  • It will receive global as well as local promotion
  • It will benefit from strong networking with previous capitals
  • It will have the opportunity to obtain resources for many initiatives
  • Citizens and businesses will benefit from a better and smarter way of life

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