Despite the natural and cultural resources, the cross border area lacks an organized management plan for the development of thematic tourist products and hence the main tourist product remains “sun, sea & sand” tourism. In addition, the recent economic crisis in Greece, drove the local economy into a recession on the Greek part and slowed down growth rates on the Albanian part. T
his leads to a significant opportunity to promote the thematic tourism in the cross-border, especially by creating a visitor profile to understand the tourism impacts on local, regional and national economies was needed. Thus, there is a significant opportunity for growth and developing through thematic tourism in the area of interest and THEMA targets this need.
In order to address these challenges, the THEMA project delivers a solution using new technologies and creates innovation in three levels:
The end users of THEMA solution are tourists that could benefit from the solution in multiple ways, while the beneficiaries include, also tour operators and tour agents as well as tourism professionals in general.
Finally, local authorities (i.e. Municipality and Prefecture) will benefit from the increase in tourism domain in their area.
The overall objective is twofold:
The innovations that THEMA creates, address the Specific Objective 2.1 under the Priority Axis 2 and result to the enhancement of the tourist’s experience in the cross-border area and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage through smart and new technology.
This leads to the provision of quality services that could attract new audience (young people, fans of thematic tourism) and extend their visit in the area, since, through the thematic routes and the mobile app, a variety of options and content is presented to the user, while, through the rewarding mechanism, the tourist has additional motivations.
THEMA results, also, to a common interregional and transnational brand name and the establishment of common thematic routes and touristic packages. Also, through the rewarding mechanism, occupies local businesses in its process that, in association and collaboration with tour operators and tour agents, can lead to the promotion and enhancement of thematic tourism, boosting the tourism industry in the cross-border area of interest.
The project has started its implementation with the organisation of the kick-off meeting: