Cyprus has one of the clearest night skies as well as optimal geographical location in the world, offering great advantages for astrotourism development. The AstroT project aims in using a professional approach in astrotourism product research and development for Cyprus along with a high-end astrotourism policy and governance.
The main objective of this research project is to initiate a new section in the Cyprus tourism industry by increasing the number, the quality, the expenditure of the tourists and the number of local jobs in the periphery. Within this objective, we aim to research and create direct and indirect experiences within real, virtual and blended augmented reality environments where the visitor could expand his/her astronomical knowledge in a practical, simple and efficient way. This experience will be an added value tool for Cyprus, where the weather conditions secure clear skies for most of the days and nights.
The overall goal is to conduct research that will focus on “beyond the state-of-the-art” innovation in the field of astrotourism leading Cyprus to be added on the world map of the astrotourism “hot” destinations and creating the proper environment to host and offer astronomy experiences for both experts and enthusiasts at an entry level.
The project also addresses the following specific objectives:
- Promotes a holistic project that will strengthen the tourism competitiveness in Cyprus. The consortium of partners will research and address all parameters related to the astrotourism product and aspects utilizing all local existing infrastructure and initiatives concerning astronomy as well international synergies that may be deemed important for developing a holistic product.
- Promotes the development and/or upgrade of existing innovative products or services that promote competitiveness. The project will research and develop an innovative product that will give Cyprus the leverage to include itself in the international arena of astrotourism destinations thus increasing its competitiveness in an area that is increasingly becoming one of the most stimulating travel trends. It will also work in alignment with other special-interest tourism local initiatives thus enriching both the astrotourism product and the other forms of tourism creating a strong competitive advantage for the country.
- Provides solutions on important problems that may be considered as obstacles for sustainability in tourism. This project will provide solutions in diminishing the negative results of the longstanding problems of tourism in Cyprus which is the low-income tourism (such as all-inclusive visitors) and the seasonality issues.
- Contributes to social progress and stimulates economic growth. The consortium will develop its product with dedicated care for the environment, it will provide the opportunity for many local citizens to experience and learn about the universe in both real and virtual environments and will be the driver for the creation of local jobs.
Furthermore, the project will develop important synergies and links between private and public academic and research institutions, businesses and SMEs, federations, chambers and business associations, local authorities, NGOs, scientific chambers as well as policy makers and influencers (public services, governmental institutions and the public sector). It will also create an important pool of researchers and utilize young scientists for developing research activities.