Digital Heritage Research Lab

Digital Fikardou goes global

The UNESCO and ERA Chair Lab of the Cyprus University of Technology was proud to participate in the International Conference on Cultural Tourism Advances which took place in Brussels, Belgium between the 27th and 28th of June, 2023

While it is estimated that approximately 40% of all European tourists make a destination choice based on the cultural offerings, the goal of the Conference was to further understand the sustainable development potential of cultural tourism by focusing on successful policy interventions, new cultural tourism trends, advances in visitor management systems, and new business and/or governance models.

Our Lab was represented at the Conference by PhD Candidate Orestis Rizopoulos who talked about his paper titled “The holistic digital cultural heritage documentation of the Fikardou traditional village in Cyprus”.

The paper focuses on the case study of Fikardou village in Cyprus – a UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List site, highlighting its unique cultural value by referencing historical evidence identified during the research conducted in relevant literature, historical accounts and multidisciplinary academic studies.

Our Lab’s contribution investigates Fikardou’s cultural offerings by presenting and analyzing the major outcomes of three EU funded projects – Textour project, H2020_Impactour and H2020 ERA CHAIR Mnemosyne at Digital Heritage Research Lab, CUT. The projects embody Fikardou as a major component in their research programme.

The paper elaborates on selected successful outputs such as policy interventions, novel cultural tourism trends, advances in visitor management systems and new business and/or governance models that arise from this specific case study. The authors argue for the advances that have been achieved in the cultural tourism sector in Cyprus, as exemplified through the experience of Fikardou as a developing cultural tourism destination, exploring and embracing digital technology as a force multiplier in achieving its aims.

Mr. Rizopoulos elaborated on the electronic platform developed by the #CUT#UNESCO Chair team, named e-fikardou, that serves as a vessel for collected data and generated knowledge designed to offer a unique, integrated and educational experience and engagement with Fikardou’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

The platform incorporates fully digitized models of the entire village and its monuments, an interactive e-book, a 360 tour, VR tour and downloadable applications featuring a virtual gastronomy lab and the geoinformatics mapping of Fikardou’s cycling walking routes.

The presentation was very well received by the Conference’s distinguished guests as an innovative, all-encompassing, strategic tool for the management and advancement of cultural heritage protection and promotion.

The Conference was organized in collaboration with the European Research Executive Agency and six (6) EU-funded projects: IMPACTOUR, Smart CulTour, SPOT, TExTOUR, INCULTUM, Be.CULTOUR. These projects have contributed, in total, around 20 million euros towards the development of new technologies, tools and strategies on cultural tourism.

This signifies the first time such an initiative took place in service of this important sector.

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