Congratulations to the welcoming city of Dublin for winning the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism for the year 2024.
This recognition is a testament to Dublin’s exceptional dedication to leveraging technology, sustainability, and community engagement to redefine the tourism experience.
Dublin, a city that brings together community, tech and innovation
‘The European Capital of Smart Tourism’ designation is awarded to cities by the European Commission in recognition of destinations that are leading the way in becoming more sustainable, accessible, cultural and digital.
Dublin, situated on Ireland’s vibrant east coast, has a population of over 1.5 million. The bustling Irish capital is the fifth-largest transport hub in Europe. Before the pandemic in 2019, tourism supported 68,000 jobs while the city welcomed 8.6 million visitors, bringing €2.6 billion in tourist spend. To ensure a successful and sustainable future, Dublin has implemented a strategic smart tourism program that brings together community, technology, and innovation to co-create and transform the traditional tourism experience.
Dublin City has previously been shortlisted for this award in 2021 and is one of the only cities in Europe to have an established Smart Tourism Programme which is supported by Dublin City Council, Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council Culture Company.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said: “I congratulate everybody concerned with Dublin’s designation as European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2024. This is a wonderful achievement that underscores the City Council’s commitment to ensuring that Dublin is a world-class sustainable, accessible and cultural destination. Dublin is our Capital and is the gateway destination for many of the visitors to our Island. It’s wonderful to see the great work that our local authorities and tourism agencies are undertaking being recognized like this. I know it will serve to inspire other areas to strive for excellence in sustainable tourism practices that deliver better environmental, social and economic outcomes for all.”
For Dublin City Council and its partners the designation will involve facilitating a comprehensive program of events, engagements and activities focused on embedding best practice in sustainable tourism. Representatives from other leading destinations in Europe will be visiting Dublin during the year to collaborate, learn and share best practices with their counterparts in Dublin. A core focus for the year will be using the designation to drive further collaboration between Dublin and other EU cities.
Dublin named European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024
Richard Shakespeare, Chief Executive, of Dublin City Council said, “We are delighted that Dublin has been awarded the 2024 European Capital of Smart Tourism. This designation is a recognition of our commitment to deliver a greener, more accessible, inclusive and innovative Dublin, for both our visitors and locals. Our Smart Tourism program, which was established in 2019 has been sharing, collaborating, and learning from some of the best cities in Europe and embedding this best practice in our work through our new Tourism Strategy 2023-2023. We will proudly use this designation as a platform to deliver an innovative approach to tourism for Dublin.”
1. Universal accessibility in Dublin
Dublin strives to make accessibility the priority for the city’s Tourism Strategy. By 2028, Dublin has pledged to place universal accessibility at the centre of all of projects and activities in the city. Dublin Airport, for example, has taken the lead in creating an inclusive travel experience. Through a Disability Users Group, they engage representatives from diverse organizations to ensure decisions align with the needs of individuals with disabilities. Initiatives like the ‘important flyer wristbands and lanyards’ enable self-identification of passengers needing extra support. The airport also created a sensory room to escape bustling surroundings, specifically catered to those with special needs or dementia.
Innovations extend to an assistance dog relief room, induction loop amplification points for those with hearing difficulties, and visual aids for passengers with autism to plan their airport journey. With over 340,000 interactions in 2019, Dublin Airport remains committed to enhancing accessibility and enriching the passenger experience.
Dublin is green and sustainable. The city boasts an expanding public transport network that moves 268 million passengers yearly, along with a thriving bicycle sharing scheme with 25 million trips. With over 1600 bikes and extensive cycling routes, exploring the city and coast by bike is encouraged. The Coastal Mobility Route, inaugurated in 2020, promotes sustainable transportation and has been successful in transforming how people navigate Dublin’s coastline.
Notably, Dublin hosts the world’s first carbon-neutral convention center, 8 beaches, and vast green spaces, including the enormous Phoenix Park. Dublin commits to reducing its carbon footprint by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This commitment is central to the new Tourism Strategy 2023-2028, aligning with national climate goals. Dublin leads in climate action as the first Irish city to sign the UN Glasgow Declaration on Sustainable Tourism and integrates UN Sustainable Development Goals into its strategies.
3. Cultural engagement
Dublin led by example as one of the earliest European cities to establish a dedicated Culture Company in 2015, driving cultural engagement. The Dublin City Council Culture Company manages city-wide cultural projects and venues, collaborating with individuals, communities, and organizations to enhance cultural involvement. Notable among these is 14 Henrietta Street, a museum narrating architectural and social history. Since 2008, this 10-year endeavor to rescue, stabilize, and conserve the house has combined perspectives from former residents, architects, historians, artists, and more. Oral histories merge with academic research, forming a rich collection enriched by guided tours, poetry, digital archives, and personal narratives.
EPIC, situated in Dublin’s historic CHQ Building, is a state-of-the-art attraction offering an interactive journey through Irish history. With touchscreen galleries, motion sensor quizzes, and restored audio, the building shares and brings to life the stories of Irish emigrants. Covering themes from religion to politics, and celebrating their global impact, EPIC shares the tales of over 300 lesser-known emigrants. Notable exhibits include “Blazing a Trail,” highlighting pioneering Irish women, and “Out in The World,” showcasing LGBTQ+ diaspora stories. Due to its innovation and accessibility, EPIC has hosted over 600,000 visitors and earned awards like Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction.