The project concerns the enhancement and improvement of the attractiveness of areas of natural and cultural interest through the protection and promotion of important "water elements" on the E4 path in Crete and Cyprus.
E4 has special environmental, cultural, and historical value for the two islands. It runs through areas and monuments of special natural beauty which are part of European and international protection networks such as Natura 2000 and the UNESCO Geoparks network to which the Sitia (Crete) and Troodos (Cyprus) Geoparks belong. Recognition of them, as a comparative advantage, provides unique opportunities and possibilities for local communities for sustainable development and for promotion as geotourism destinations of excellence.
The project highlights the value and special features of geological and cultural heritage, contributes to the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural environment and raises public awareness about climate change and sustainability. It is a tool of an integrated social and economic sustainable local development. The partners designed and submitted this project proposal as part of a joint effort to meet the development objectives that aims to exchange best practices, adopt common approaches, implement joint actions and produce common innovative products and services with the following common objectives:
- improving the attractiveness and increasing the visibility of the areas where the interventions take place. These areas are disadvantaged in terms of economic development and are more prone to climate change;
- promoting these areas as cultural and geological tourist destinations throughout the year, thus extending the tourist season.
The visibility and the attractiveness improvement will be achieved through the upgrade of the tourist product with the introduction of the water element as an important factor shaping both the natural landscape and the culture in these areas.
Specifically, the project will developι:
actions to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure (places to visit and interactive models),
enrichment and development of activities, information and education of residents, tourists, students and entrepreneurs using new ICT technologies specific to tourist / recreational / educational visits
Recording and documentation of monuments and areas of natural interest of water elements
portable museum kits
communication material, documentaries / small commercials
pilot actions for the protection, conservation and restoration of disturbed habitats..
The operation will have multiple and significant benefits:
- for the visibility and attractiveness of the areas where the interventions take place;
- for the inhabitants through the strengthening of entrepreneurship, employment and the diversification of the local economy;
- for the visitors through the offer of high quality innovative products and services.