Dublin’s ‘portal’ celebrates its commitment to smart tourism

Dublin is celebrating its smart tourism award with a portal that connects it, at least virtually, to NYC.

Here’s something cool: a pair of “portals” in NYC and Dublin that allow passersby to see what’s going on in the opposite city across the pond.

A circular sculpture in a city park with a screen in the center showing a different city streetscape.

Since Wednesday, the 24/7 livestreams have seen people attempting to flirt — classic human behavior — and a New York mom “touch hands” with her daughter studying abroad.

This summer, the Dublin portal will also connect with people in Poland, Brazil, and Lithuania.

What’s this all about?

Invented by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys, these art pieces celebrate Dublin’s award as 2024’s European Capital of Smart Tourism, part of a European Commission initiative to promote smart, sustainable travel.

Cities are considered for their work in accessibility, sustainability, digitalization, cultural heritage, and creativity.

Winning capitals engage in events and activities surrounding sustainable tourism, and share best practices with other cities.

What makes Dublin so smart?

Dublin, which has had its own smart tourism program since 2019, has made several advancements in inclusive, smart tourism:

  • Its airport accessibility features include vision and hearing aids, plus relief rooms for both people and support dogs.
  • It built the world’s first carbon-neutral convention center.
  • It has continued to expand opportunities for public transit and biking, including a coastal bike path that opened in 2020.
  • It launched an AR map that helps users with smartphones explore the city and its history, and announced a partnership with OpenAI to develop an AI-powered itinerary planner.

Why it matters

Many cities rely on tourism as a key part of their GDP, but are still recovering from the pandemic.

Today’s tourists — especially Gen Z and millennials — care about traveling sustainably.

Meanwhile, tech can enhance their experience by offering quick, mobile access to destination and transit info — without requiring them to stuff their pockets with maps, bus schedules, and pamphlets they’ll just throw away.

BTW: If you liked this story, there’s also an EU Smart Tourism podcast.

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