LTB participates in several EU programmes aimed at adapting and growing the scope of tourism services, with more approved to start in 2023.
In particular, 2022 saw the benefits resulting from two of these programmes; Time4AC and dTour.
The Time4 Alternative Creativity in Remote Spaces (Time4AC) project - part of an Erasmus+ programme of the European Union that LTB is taking part in - tackles the issue of making tourism accessible to persons with sensory disabilities. In 2022, LTB welcomed the project partners from Greece, Poland and Portugal to Larnaka to showcase the potential cultural experiences available to persons with visual or auditory disabilities.
Through the project, the island’s first Sensory Guided Tour for the Blind was created and the success of the pioneering pilot tour will open the door to further tours.
The tour included a visit to the Pierides Museum – Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the Kyriazis Medical Museum to feel authentic exhibits, and also incorporated taste and smell in the exhibits to learn about the island’s history. This was followed by a walk along the Foinikoudes (Palm Tree) promenade to hear the narration of the Larnaka Storytelling Statues and also feel a 3D replica of one of them for context.
Other actions of the project are the creation of a sign language dictionary for each partner country, whilst LTB is also finishing a Best Practices Guide that collates all the partner's examples of cultural institutions that have adapted their offering to persons with sensory disabilities. This will be disseminated to cultural institutions across Europe to help them to become more accessible.
The dTour project - part of an Erasmus+ programme of the European Union that LTB is taking part in - is aimed at training and certifying people who work in the Tourism & Hospitality sector with innovative digital skills in order to provide high-quality digitalised services to SMEs with focus on hotels and accommodation.
Following research, a training programme to certify the ‘dTour Digital Tourism Advisor’ was created by all the partners of the project (Cyprus, Greece, Sweden, UK), with LTB contributing a module of the course. The course 'Digital Tourism Adviser - ISO 17024' was introduced to the local trade in September 2022 through an event that featured guest speakers from the industry and the opportunity for tourism SMEs to sign up for the pilot training that is currently taking place.
With 95% of EU travellers using tourism digital tools, LTB’s participation in dTour will assist SMEs to keep pace with the digital tourism era.
Among the projects that began in 2022 is ESTour; another project that is part of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
ESTour is aimed at training and certifying people who have been working in the hospitality sector and would like to update their skills related to the new health and safety protocols and new digital technologies in regards to an effective response to epidemic crises’ impact.
So far, LTB has contributed to the desk research for Cyprus that will form part of the transnational report of tourism trends pre- and post-pandemic, alongside that of the partners from Greece, Italy, Spain and Poland. This will be followed by a training course that will help ready the local tourism industry in the case of potential pandemics or health related factors that can impact tourism.
Several other EU programmes are beginning in 2023, pending finalisation of their details and targets, with more news on the projects announced later in the year.