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New Zagori Project Aims to Attract Repeat Visitors

By Nikos Krinis

A new project that aims to keep travellers interested in visiting and returning to the Zagori region was recently presented at the office of the European Parliament in Athens by the University Research Institute of Applied Communication (URIAC) of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Zagori Excellence Network – ZEN.

Titled the “Sense Zagori Project”, the new project is expected to offer a brand new experience to visitors of the region through mobile apps and augmented reality combined with educational playful learning programs.

Inspired by Maria Filippi, researcher of URIAC, the project’s main goal is to increase arrivals to the region and extend the tourism season.

According to Filippi, the “Sense Zagori Project” will create incentives for visitors through loyalty programs, upgrade offered services and the overall visitor experience, create opportunities for new jobs and entrepreneurship and compose a dynamic new identity for the region based on innovation and sustainability.

The project will be implemented in two phases, under a budget of 350,000 euros through sponsorships.

“Zagori is a monument of world cultural and natural heritage, an example of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature,” Athens University Professor Mihalis Meimaris said during the project’s presentation, adding that the project aims to globally promote the area as a unique cultural and tourist destination. “The ‘Sense Zagori Project’ uses technology and innovation for social development, sustainability and culture,” he said.

Maria Filippi, researcher of URIAC and project manager of the Sense Zagori Project.

Maria Filippi, researcher of URIAC and project manager of the Sense Zagori Project.

The first phase of the Sense Zagori Project was recently completed and offers visitors:

– the Sense Zagori App, an innovative tool that gives access to a lively open-air museum of 1,000 km2 and offers historical, cultural, environmental and educational information. Access to the platform is free for all and it offers incentives for visitors to return, visit the area again and spread the word to others. The app is supported by the Sense Zagori website.
– the first “live” Culture Museum of Zagori through augmented reality. Visitors will be able to receive information about many places of cultural interest through their smartphone.
playful learning programs to increase visitation of schools and universities from Greece and abroad and to attract senior travellers. The learning programs will be supported by the ZEN member companies.

“We are optimistic that the Sense Zagori Project will boost Zagori and all of Epirus and this will contribute to the overall ‘restart’ of the region,” ZEN President Vasilis Katsoupas said.

The project’s first phase was financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

‘Sense Zagori Project’ enters phase 2

ZEN President Vasilis Katsoupas.

ZEN President Vasilis Katsoupas.

The project has now entered its second phase and will be supported financially by sponsors including independent electricity producer Protergia of the Mytilineos Group and the electrical equipment company KAFKAS. The National Bank of Greece will be a main sponsor as it will cover expenses for the completion of the loyalty program.

The second phase of the “Sense Zagori Project” will also include the launch of innovative digital games that will offer incentives to attract visitors from Greece and abroad. Moreover, during the second phase, the organizers of the project will boost promotional efforts and also seek to attract more partnerships.

The “Sense Zagori Project” is supported by the European Parliament office in Greece and runs under the auspices of the Greek National Commission for UNESCO and the Region of Epirus.

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