The Region of Thessaly has received the first prize at the European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN) competition for the development and operation of Greece’s first underwater museum in the area of Peristera off the coast of Alonissos in the Sporades group.
The Region of Thessaly was awarded in the “Innovation & Digitalisation in Sustainable Cultural Tourism towards Smart Destinations” category.
According to an announcement, the project was recognized as a prime example that inspires other tourism destinations and encourages the development of sustainable and responsible cultural tourism initiatives, during a ceremony held online on 22 October, under the theme, “Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism 2020”.
The jury comprised of senior representatives of ECTN, Europa Nostra, the European Travel Commission, NECSTouR and the European Commission Directorate-General of Education and Culture.
The Alonissos Underwater Museum opened to the public in August to offer divers the chance to explore the 5th-century shipwreck of Peristera through guided dives.
It features one of the largest Classical-era shipwrecks dubbed the “Parthenon of Shipwrecks”, located off the islet of Peristera that was discovered in the 1990s at a depth of 25 meters with more than 3,000 amphorae.
ECTN currently numbers 29 members in 19 countries, including 13 EU member states and six associated countries.
The Awards for ‘Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism’ have been organised since 2014 by the ECTN around annual themes, for the benefit of destinations, communities, associations, businesses, citizens and visitors.