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Valencia: World Leader in Smart Tourism and Design

It’s an exciting year for Valencia, with the innovative city being declared the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022, as well as World Design Capital 2022. The city is buzzing this year as it engages in a range of events and showcases to celebrate its newfound titles.


The European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022


This award acknowledges the impressive efforts the city has made in the tourism sector, specifically related to four key ‘pillars’ of Smart Tourism: sustainability, accessibility, digitalization, and cultural heritage and creativity. The vote officially took place at the end of last year, with the city winning out over 30 other cities who applied for the title. The award is being shared with Bordeaux, France, which has also been making significant strides in this area.


As an example of its committment to Smart Tourism, Valencia has become the first place in the world to measure and certify the carbon and water footprint of its tourism sector, and the city has set a lofty aim to become the world’s first carbon neutral tourist destination by 2025. It currently has a number of sustainable initiatives in place, as recommended by the United Nations and the World Tourism Organization. It also has a specially-appointed Smart Tourism department within its city council.


Scheduled events


This year, Valencia has a full schedule of events running monthly to highlight its role as European Capital of Smart Tourism. This includes four European Urban Tourism Trends Forums, which will take place each season, with each focussing on one of the pillars of Smart Tourism mentioned above. These forums will feature debates, conferences, and workshops, and guest speakers will be invited from other European countries to share their knowledge on the topic.


Other events include the celebration of Sustainable Gastronomy Day in June, to highlight the importance of eating locally sourced products. Eating such ingredients reduces the carbon emissions from the transport of food products to and from their destination.


In September, Valencia will also participate in European Mobility Week. The city will encourage the use of public transport and bike lanes by measuring and offsetting the carbon footprint of all trips taken with the Valencia Tourist Card, and it will also provide discounts on bike rentals. September will also see its participation in World Tourism Day, where it will run a “tweethaton”,  engaging the public via Twitter in the Smart Tourism conversation, whereby followers can send their suggestions on ways tourism can be more sustainable in the city.


World Design Capital 2022


Further acknowledging its position as a forward-thinking, modern city, Valencia has also been named World Design Capital 2022. As seen through some examples below, the city will be hosting a range of activities and events to highlight its world-leading urban design and innovation.


Scheduled events


In June, Valencia will host the World Design Experience, an international festival of leading design figures held over four days. This will feature concerts, workshops, and special master classes in the area of design.


It will also bring together its dual role as European Smart Tourism Capital and World Design Capital through a special event in November, the World Design Capital International Congress. This will be an important opportunity for the city to create synergies between design and Smart Tourism. A second event in November is the World Design Street Festival, which will see the festivities taken to the streets through a number of installations, workshops, and exhibitions in the city. This event will seek to attract international visitors, engage the local community, and highlight the importance of design to its residents.



As you can see, Valencia is the place to be for first-class innovation and design! There’s so much to see and do this year, with the city buzzing in celebration of its recent accolades. If you aren’t already here, now’s the time to consider a move to this vibrant city!


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