ALTER TRIP – Alternative Touristic Experience

Project funded by INTERREG IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Republic of Noth Macedonia 2014-2020”

Role in the project: subcontractor

Period of implementation: 2022-2023

The main goal of the project is to dynamize the transformation of a territory into an accessible and inclusive tourist destination and support the sustainable development of heritage tourism in the cross-border area. The project aims to:

  • Develop a cross-border partnership, with the involvement and participation of the various agents of the tourist value chain that contribute to creating an accessible touristic area and providing quality services to tourists with special needs.
  • Exchange and import know-how and good practices related to improving the accessibility of cultural and natural heritage structures (people-to-people activities).
  • Improve the accessibility and visitability of selected cultural and natural heritage assets in the cross-border area (accessibility works).
  • improve the capacity of authorities responsible for the management of cultural and natural heritage assets and professionals from the tourist field (such as guides, travel agents, event organizers, and transportation services) in better addressing the needs of senior and accessible tourism (capacity-building activities).
  • Enhance local community capacities in terms of tourist reception, create artisanship and traditional gastronomic corners within monuments` areas (enhancing craftsmanship & traditional products)
  • Develop a platform at which all disabled and elderly visitors would be able to design their trip to the CB area and be able through this platform to accomplish all the arrangements for their vacation trip. (Cultural and natural heritage visits, hotels, restaurants, etc.)
  • Raise awareness of the locals, especially of young people, in relation to the potential of heritage tourism, emphasizing the importance of endorsing strategies for sustainable development and inclusive design (awareness activities)
  • Collect data related to the accessibility and friendliness to disabled and elderly visitors of key cultural and natural assets of the cross-border area (field studies).
  • Improve the visibility of cultural and natural heritage assets that are accessible and friendly to all through electronic and physical media, campaigns, etc., and by producing an informative guide for all visitors with useful information for the elderly and the disabled (branding & promotion).
  • Conduct a joint strategic planning study towards branding the cross-border area as an international tourist destination for the elderly and disabled, of high quality at low to medium cost (policies & plans).

The project was implemented by the Business & Exhibition Research & Development Institute, Thessaloniki (GR), Ministry of Interior (sector Macedonia and Thrace), Thessaloniki (GR), and Moblinost Bitola (MK).

GAUSS Institute was a subcontractor to Mobilnost Bitola responsible for implementation of two pilot projects: developing acessible mobile and web app and creation of acessible signalétique for most important cultural and historical monuments in the City of Bitola, as well as publishing acessible tourist guide about Bitola, and realization of public awarenss campaign about acessible tourism.

Pilot projects

Pilot 1: Creation of physical models – tactical signs of ten cultural and historical monuments in Bitola.

In this pilot project we created tactile signs (composed of tactile images, maps, text in Braille) for ten most important cultural and historical monuments located in Bitola.

Ten stainless steel pedestals with mounted tactile image and tactile description of that tourist site, QR code, and GPS linked. The pedestals are mounted in front of cultural and historical monuments in Bitola.

Pilot 2: Production/development of software – a digital travel guide for people with disabilities. For each of the ten selected objects (monuments) where tactile signs are placed, we developed a digital tourist guide targeted at people with disabilities. Its content is optimized according to the WCAG 2.1 standard. The guide enables the guidance of people with disabilities to the ten selected cultural and historical monuments, as well as information on the accessibility of these monuments.

The travel guide as web and mobile app can be accessed here: Bitola – city center tour | IZI Travel

Promotion of pilot projects

The second assignment consisted of pilot project promotion. The promotion consisted of several elements: publication of paid articles in electronic and printed media, promotion in social media, and publishing a printed tourist guide in brille.

Publishing an accessible tourist guide of ten must-visit tourist attractions in the city of Bitola. Preparation and printing of a tourist guide for ten cultural and historical monuments in Bitola in Braille, based on the tactile signs developed in the pilot project no. 1. The tourist guide is printed in Macedonian, English, and Greek on swell touch paper (tactile paper). The tasks of GAUSS included complete preparation of the guide – texts in Braille, tactile images, pre-press, printing, and binding of the guide.

Public Awareness Campaign for promoting pilot projects (accessible signing and an accessible digital guide of tourist attractions in the city of Bitola) in the mass electronic media and social media. The promotion included creating social media pages and posts, publishing articles in the regional and national news portals, internet campaign.

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