Paphos and Sevilla in Spain have won the EU 2023 European Capitals of Smart Tourism competition.
Organisers said the award resulted from a careful and systematic effort by the municipality and the organisation for Tourism Development and Promotion of the district.
Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos said that because of the tragic train accident in Greece, all the events organised in the city for the title presentation were cancelled.
The town will hold the title of the EU’s 2023 European Capital of Smart tourism until 31 December.
The Mayor said that although Paphos is a popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean, it can develop and evolve further to offer more quality services to visitors.
He referred to all the projects implemented in the past years with the aim for Paphos to develop into a smart city with digitised services and innovative programmes.
Chair of Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kyriakos Drousiotis said the town managed systematically to earn the title, having competed with famous cities in the EU.
Other stakeholders also praised the effort and noted that Paphos is now a destination that fulfils the criteria in sustainability, accessibility, digitisation, cultural heritage and creativity.
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 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.
Paphos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cyprus.
The whole city is included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
People can discover important places of interest, such as the UNESCO Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos, the Medieval Castle by the ancient harbour, and the Old Town, among others.
This rich area attracts then over 550,000 international visitors with an average stay of 8 days, has a capacity of 12,000 licensed tourist beds and the tourism industry of Paphos employs around 14,000 people.
“Paphos has transformed from a traditional mass sun-and-sea tourism hotspot into a modern and innovative tourism destination,” said the EU.