The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union (EU) for a period of one calendar year during which it organizes a series of cultural events with a strong pan-European dimension.
“When I look at the previous cities that won the competition, it had a very positive impact on everyone and I am convinced that it will also help Budějovice. The project could have a huge impact on tourism and the local economy, ”explains Juraj Thoma, Deputy Mayor of České Budějovice.
“Based on the experience of other cities that have won the title in the past, it is a good idea to start preparations about ten years in advance and create a separate team entirely dedicated to preparing for the candidacy, ”he adds.
Other cities are expected to submit bids for 2028, including Ostrava, Zlín and Liberec.
Prague received the title of European Capital of Culture in 2000, and Plzeň 15 years later, beating Hradec Králové and Ostrava.
Cities that have been awarded the title in the past have not only seen a high number of visitors during the year of the celebration itself, but a steady increase in the number of tourists.
The title results in both increased income for local businesses and growth in the total number of jobs in the region. In the case of Plzen, visitor spending led to the growth of the Czech economy by CZK 711 million, of which the impact of foreign tourists was 12.7%. The number of tourists arriving in Plzeň since 2014 has increased by 40%.
The European Capital of Culture program was originally called the European City of Culture and was conceived in 1983 by Melina Mercouri, then Minister of Culture in Greece.
Mercouri believed that at the time, culture had not received the same attention as politics and economics and that a project to promote European cultures within member states should be continued.
The European City of Culture program was launched in the summer of 1985, with Athens being the first holder of the title.