The Municipality of Thessaloniki is seeking to claim two European titles for the city, according to Thessaloniki Mayor Konstantinos Zervas.
Speaking during a municipal council meeting earlier this month, the mayor announced that Thessaloniki would be running for the titles of European City of Sport 2024 and European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024.
Zervas noted that the city “is moving up a category and entering all maps” by claiming titles that can promote its offerings to a wider audience, assist networking and future funding.
European City of Sport 2024
Thessaloniki is a strong contender for the title of European City of Sport 2024, according to ACES Europe representatives who recently visited the city and received the nomination file.
“The dossier submitted by the Mayor and his colleagues contains very useful information, it was an excellent job and we will be very happy to work together. We believe that Thessaloniki has all the qualifications to win the title, but we will know on September 1,” said President of ACES Europe, Gian Francesco Lupattelli.
Lupattelli stressed that the title of European City of Sport will attract many more tourists to visit Thessaloniki to watch sports events and participate in sporting activities.
Thessaloniki has a long and rich history of sports. It has hosted a number of major sporting events, including the European Taekwondo Championships I.T.F. 2016 and the World Rowing Coastal Championships 2014. The city also has a vibrant sports culture with a wide range of sporting facilities and programs available to residents and visitors.
If Thessaloniki is awarded the title of European City of Sport, it will receive a number of benefits, including:
- increased recognition and visibility at European and international levels
- additional opportunities for networking with other cities and sports organizations
- more funds for sports programs and infrastructure
- increased participation in sports activities by residents and visitors
The title of European City of Sport is awarded by ACES Europe, a non-profit organization based in Brussels which seeks to promote sport among all the citizens of the European Union, particularly disadvantaged groups, children, the elderly and the disabled, among others.
European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024
According to local media, the Thessaloniki Deputy Mayor of Tourism, Maria Karagianni submitted the city’s nomination file to the European Commission which announced the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024 competition earlier this year.
If Thessaloniki is awarded the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024, it will use the opportunity to:
- Promote itself as a smart and sustainable tourism destination.
- Further develop innovative technologies to improve the visitor experience, and produce blockchain-based tourism products like the Thessaloniki Tourist Card.
- Attract more tourists and boost the local economy.
Among the city’s advantages presented in the submitted file are the following:
- Many of city’s cultural and historical points of interest have signage offering access to more information through QR codes.
- The local public bus organization (OASTH) runs a special route around Thessaloniki’s monuments using a telematic info system in Greek and English.
- The majority of the city’s museums are accessible to people with mobility-related disabilities and offer digital applications and audio guides in many languages.
- The Thessaloniki Tourism Organization website contains a wealth of content about the city, it is available in nine languages, and offers a series of mobile phone applications for the digital promotion of the city.
The European Capital of Smart Tourism 2024 will be able to receive support from the EU through actions and promotional activities aimed at raising the profile of the city.
The results of the competition and the city that will hold the title next year are expected in November.