Within the framework of the EduTourism Project “Showcasing of educational tourism for the promotion of environmental and cultural heritage, FOUR ELEMENTS was invited to set up a working group consisting of tourism professionals active in Crete and met two (2) times. The aim of the working group was to present for discussion the results of the study to assess the current situation and for tourism professionals to exchange views and experiences. The results of the meetings would be recorded so that they could be used to create targeted and sustainable results. A total of two (2) working group meetings were conducted, one (1) face-to-face and one (1) online.
The first meeting consisted of ten (10) participants and the discussion resulted in significant challenges and proposals that were categorized into four (4) main themes related to education, connectivity, infrastructure and institutionalization. More specifically, members indicated that there is a shortage of trained tourism managers and there is a need for the creation of more training disciplines. Members also discussed issues of lack of linkage between education and the labor market and between tourism professionals. With regard to infrastructure, participants mentioned that in Crete the infrastructure can only support footfall during the summer months. Finally, the lack of legislation on tourism and the need for legislation to regulate the operation of businesses according to specific criteria was discussed.
The second meeting was attended by six (6) members and the discussion resulted in interesting possibilities for the development of educational tourism in Crete related to the particular characteristics of Crete that make it an attractive destination, such as its rich history and natural environment. The working group also mentioned proposals for the promotion of Educational Tourism related to education, highlighting the need for training of tourism professionals and the possibility of exchange of students and tourism professionals from different countries. Proposals related to information were also discussed where members suggested the creation of a platform for the information of professionals and visitors. Very important for the participants was the partnership between the tourism, education and government sectors to promote educational tourism. Finally, concrete examples of activities such as educational interactive games for children and gastronomic activities were mentioned.
The EduTourism project is implemented in the framework of the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Programme “Greece – Cyprus 2014-2020” and is co-financed by the European Union (E.T.P.A.) and the National Funds of Greece and Cyprus.