Hi Katarina, and congratulations on the European Capital of Smart Tourism award!

– Thank you!

What is your role at Göteborg & Co?

– I’m the company’s Sustainability Strategist, and together with my colleagues I’ve been working on the application for this award. Right now I’m in Helsinki, one of 2019’s winners, where our CEO Peter Grönberg and I stated our case for an inquisitive jury. Apparently, they liked what they saw and heard …

How do you feel right now? And what does it mean to be selected, in practice?

– It feels amazing! The award is an important recognition for Gothenburg – the fact that we’ve been noticed and selected among all the competing cities. In short it means that we’re good, and smart. More specifically, we will now prepare for an active year of being the European Capital of Smart Tourism. We will plan as many activities as possible, with as many partners as possible. Of course, we want to show off Gothenburg to the world but above all we want to start projects that make our city an even better place to visit and live in.

"The challenge is to not just focus on one of the areas, but to see the big picture"

Why do you think that the jury chose Gothenburg this year?

– I think there are many reasons. Gothenburg performs well in the four cornerstone categories of the award – sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation and cultural heritage & creativity. But we’ve also made it clear that we want to keep developing these areas, and presented ideas on how to do that. That means both listening to and learning from others, and sharing the knowledge and experiences we’ve gained.

Could you give us some tangible examples from the four cornerstone areas that you mentioned?

– Well, Gothenburg has been named the world’s most sustainable destination according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index three years in a row. And the work to eliminate all disposable products from Gothenburg Culture Festival is another example. When it comes to accessibility, I’d like to mention an app created by Got Event, developed for event visitors with vision or hearing deficiencies. Gothenburg is in the digital frontline, with high connectivity, and can also boast a praised destination site, goteborg.com, and a much appreciated visitor’s chatbot. The Museum of Gothenburg's exhibition about the birth of the city is an example of how we embrace our cultural heritage and creativity.

A lot of good things!

– Yes, but the true essence of “smart tourism” is to put all these pieces together. The challenge is to not just focus on one area but to actually see the big picture. That way, the destination, as well as everyone’s experience of it, will improve.

The European Capital of Smart Tourism initiative recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation as well as cultural heritage and creativity. This EU initiative aims to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices. Read more.