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.
“From the experience of other cities that won the title in the past, it is a good idea to start preparations about ten years in advance and create a separate team fully dedicated to preparing for the candidacy,” he adds.
Other towns expected to submit bids for 2028 include Ostrava, Zlín, Liberec.
Prague received the title of European Capital of Culture in 2000, and Plzeň 15 years later, defeating Hradec Králové and Ostrava.
Cities that have received the title in the past not only saw a high number of visitors in the year of celebration itself, but a steady increase in the number of tourists.
The title leads to both increases in local business revenue and growth in the total number of jobs in the region. In the case of Plzen, spending by visitors caused 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 initially called the European City of Culture and was conceived in 1983, by Melina Mercouri, then serving as minister of culture in Greece.
Mercouri believed that at the time, culture was not given the same attention as politics and economics and a project for promoting European cultures within the member states should be pursued.
The European City of Culture program was launched in the summer of 1985 with Athens being the first title-holder.