Modernization, promotion and exploitation of caves


My Caves
Project Number – MIS 5048155
Priority axis 2 - A Sustainable and Climate adaptable Cross-Border area
Investment priorities 6c - Conserving, protecting, promoting and developing natural and cultural heritage
Intervention fields 091. Development and promotion of the tourism potential of natural areas
Call 2nd Call for proposals under priority axes 2 & 4
Lead Beneficiary Municipality of N. Zichni
Beneficiaries "Rodopeya" Tourist Association
Alistrati Cave SA
Municipality of Madan
Public Benefit Enterprise of Municipality of Prosotsani
Start Date Jul 04, 2019
End Date Oct 31, 2023
Budget 780.269,85 €
ERDF Contribution 663.229,37 €
National Contribution 117.040,48 €
The project's primary aim is to incorporate innovative, state of the art methods in order to render cave sites in the cross - border area an attractive thematic tourism destination. Caves form a unique and vulnerable part of our natural and archaeological heritage. They also constitute a valuable scientific resource, providing evidence of human cultural change, the development of the landscape and climate changes. MyCaves will strive to:
- maintain and seek to improve interest in visiting caves
- encourage and support cave conservation
- apply innovative techniques pertaining to technology to disseminate acquired knowledge and outline the importance of sites of speleological interest 
- organise meetings and events, including training to raise awareness on all aspects regarding the importance of preserving caves and their significance as sites of natural heritage and scientific interest 
The project is expected to increase the attractiveness of cave sites in the cross - border area and the number of people visiting. Enhancing the attractiveness of natural resource sites improves the overall attractiveness of the cross - border area, thus leading to higher visitor figures,  increased international visibility and an overall elevated status as a tourist destination. Higher tourist flows in an area of exquisite natural and cultural heritage provide additional opportunities.

Another very important outcome is pointing out the need to improve the quality and variety of the services the local enterprises currently provide. Therefore, the modernization, promotion and exploitation of caves in the cross – border area is practically synonymous to enhancing its tourist potential by pointing out the inherent advantages of certain natural heritage sites.

The project is especially directed on using technologically advanced techniques that will help cave management authorities preserve natural heritage sites, achieve higher status as a tourist destination and ultimately help put the tourist sector on a sustainable development path. The proposed ICT applications will provide means for a better interpretation of the importance of caves and natural heritage sites in general. The project will serve as a good practice in depicting the major advantages of preserving and promoting natural heritage sites. Added value is also foreseen in aspects such as initiatives leading to cross – border cultural events, exchange in terms of knowledge, human resources and good practices, joint initiatives in future projects and restoration of sites whose immediate or distant future seems nowadays, at least obscure.

Furthermore, the benchmarking studies of the project will draw attention to issues pertaining to local and regional policies that if not already present will apparently emerge. The promotional actions planned, will help communicate these issues early enough as to offer adequate time to tackle future problems before they arise.

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