Malaga European Capital of Smart Tourism: inspiring other cities on tourism recovery

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Malaga a city with so many options
Malaga a city with so many options Credit: Pixabay

FOR the past year the world has been facing an unprecedented global health, social and economic emergency as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid global travel restrictions to contain the virus, travel and tourism are among the most affected sectors.

During this challenging time, the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism, Gothenburg and Malaga have been implementing smart tourism initiatives throughout their urban areas.

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In doing so, they are offering inspiration for forward thinking destinations and making urban tourism more sustainable, accessible and digital.

Malaga stands out as one of the world’s most diverse tourism destinations, with a wide portfolio of tourism resources that can match any travel motivation, including: culture, sun, the beach, gastronomy, nature, sport and more.

Through the Malaga SMART project, the city is demonstrating its commitment to the digital transformation of all aspects of city life – from an app to check how crowded local beaches are, to the implementation of energy management systems in all public buildings.


Malaga’s progressive approach to open data is also helping businesses make better decisions, by making over 2,000 resources available online which is why the city hosts hackathons with prizes for smart solutions.

Within just two decades, the city has gone from having four museums to 37, including the Pompidou Centre, the Automobile & Fashion Museum and the Russian Museum Collection – Saint Petersburg.

Travelers can download the Malaga Pass app to guide themselves through the attractions and enter museums without queuing. Furthermore, Malaga, offers public bike hiring across 23 different access points in the city and more than 23,000 people are already making use of the service.


Aiming to support the recovery of tourism from the pandemic, the Malaga City Council launched the Covid-19 early detection program ‘Malaga Safe for You’. Its main objective is to reinforce Malaga as a safe destination and to guarantee spaces of trust in the tourism, culture and commerce industries thanks to rapid Covid-19 antigen testing.

The companies that participate in this campaign are given a badge to be displayed on a prominent and visible place in the establishment. This means that the employees of the affiliated establishment participate in the rapid antigen test program.

Furthermore, Malaga has been supported by a series of nationwide campaigns designed to support the tourism industry in showcasing not only its precautionary measures and safe spaces but also the wide array of activities that the city has to offer.

A working group between Malaga Airport, AENA, Costa del Sol Tourism and the Tourism Department of the city was reactivated to re-establish air connections in the European markets.

To compliment this, a Strategic Tourism Plan for the City of Malaga 2021-2024 has been drafted to establish a development plan for the tourism industry.

Find out more about the 2020 European Capitals of Smart Tourism here;

Gothenburg:  https://smarttourismcapital.eu/city/gothenburg/   

Malaga:  https://smarttourismcapital.eu/city/malaga-2020/

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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.

Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.

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