Activities ?>

Activities

In SORT, activities and phases are connected. Starting in 2016, the project spans across six phases, each with its distinct purpose.

Phase 1: Preparation (March – May 2016)

Kick off meeting

SORT project partners met at Larisa from 7–10 of April 2016. They exchanged opinions and updated project parameters. Photos from the kick off meeting:

Coordinators Meeting in Brussels

On 14th of April 2016 project manager participated in the coordinators meeting organized by EASME.

Phase 2: Development of SORT Draft Touristic Packages (June – July 2016)

Presentation meeting

The Presentation Meeting of SORT project partners was held at the city of Larisa from 10–13 July 2016 aiming at discussing and assessing the first draft of the 10-day Local Touristic Programs of the seven partners. In particular, the objectives of the meeting were the following:

  • To present, assess and modify accordingly the first draft of the 10-day Local Touristic Programs of the 7 partners
  • To schedule the final dates for the trial version of the pilot application (6-day Local Touristic Programs)
  • To discuss the evaluation process of the trials
  • SORT Guide structure

Phase 3: Pilot Application of SORT Model (August 2016 – January 2017)

Pilot Applications concern a small scale trial implementation of the prepared and previously modified SORT program/package/model. The pilots will last 5 nights and will be realized in all partner communities in a circle-style approach, as follows:

  • ŸGR – IT  4 seniors
  • ŸIT – SI  4 seniors
  • ŸSI – HU 4 seniors
  • HU – HR 4 seniors
  • HR – RO 4 seniors
  • RO – BG 4 seniors
  • BG – GR 4 seniors

Phase 4: Development of SORT Guide (February – April 2017)

Basic result of the SORT project was the creation of the Prototype SORT Model which concern a 10day touristic package, based on the needs and desires of the seniors 55+,combied touristic and voluntary activities. The whole process of the Prototype SORT Model was imprinted at the “SORT Guide”, a sixteen pages Guide that describes all the activities and the objective sof the Project.

The Prototype SORT Model piloted applied at the 7 partner countries, in a adapted 6day touristic package (according to the initial 10day touristic package) in an effort to see if these prototype planning run  in an effective way and as anticipated as well as to optimize the strengths and to improve the weaknesses of the Local touristic package’s content and practical matters. The Touristic and Voluntary activities design according to the touristic portfolio of each partner country and according with the following categories: NATURE / CULTURE-HERITAGE/ SPORTS /EVENTS / SOCIAL LIFE/ SPECIAL INTEREST.

Participants were seniors 55+ from each country partner at the following dates:

IT hosting GR 24 – 29 Nov November 2016 / Sl hosting IT 23 – 28 October 2016

/ HU hosting SI 11 – 16 October 2016 / HR hosting HU 25 – 30 September 2016

RO hosting HR 3 – 8 of October 2016/ BG hosting RO 26 September – 1 October 2016 GR hosting BG 10 – 15 October 2016.Totally in the Pilot Application Phase participated 28 seniors (4 participants per partner).

With the pilot applications we were able to apply the model in all partner countries, to find and evaluate the weak and strong points of the Model. We concluded that the voluntary activities help seniors to understand quickly and effectively the way of thinking of the local community of the region they have visited and they have felt more useful. The language barriers between the seniors and the local community, in all pilot applications, have not hindered the cooperation between them. Volunteers helped as translators and thus overcome the problem of communication.

The basic strong points of the “SORT Model” for the seniors and the local communities are:

  • Through the voluntary activities we promote the values and the meaning of the voluntarism,
  • Through the touristic activities we reinforce the local economy and strengthen the SME’s in the tourism sector by boosting the low and medium tourism period,
  • Seniors have the opportunity to meet with new cultures, to socialize and to interact with different people,
  • Promotion of the natural and cultural conservation in each country through the outdoor and educational touristic activities,
  • Strengthening synergies between the private and public sectors,
  • Developing partnerships at international level between the Project Partners and at national level between the Partners and stakeholders (Local NGO’s, SME’s in tourism sector, Local Authorities) involved in the implementation of local Pilot Applications, leading to the promotion and continuation of tourism activities and the Model.

Phase 5: Dissemination (May – July 2017)

Each partner promoted the project at both local and transnational levels. Except the project site and the trailer, the main dissemination activities of the partners was the dispatch of press releases to media, contact with SMEs, participation in local exhibitions, contact with small businesses in the tourism sector (hotels, hotels, tourist agencies), associations of chambers, chambers of commerce, all relevant bodies dealing with tourism, information for the agencies dealing with the elderly, individual information for the elderly. In order to be able to promote the SORT project at European level has been contact with cooperating partners from other European countries. They have been briefed on the actions of the Project and received the English version of the SORT Guide. Participation in two international tourism fairs also helped to promote and disseminate the project at a transnational level.

Great attention was paid to the presentation, promotion and distribution of the SORT Guide in each partner country. Each Partner organized at least 2 events in order to present the SORT Guide:

Country Event No Participants
BG 3 141
HR 2 93
HU 2 187
IT 3 192
RO 2 133
SI 2 64
GR 2 86

The presentations of the SORT guide have the following structure and the principles of effective communication, mutual respect and active citizenship:
• General information about the project
• Discussion on current conditions in the tourism sector, both for adults, for the local economy and for voluntary organizations, while at the same time conducting a survey of the needs, objectives, expectations, knowledge and experiences of the participants.
• Presentation of the SORT GUIDE and the main points of the Sort model and the new holiday experience that suggests changing the current situation. The partners each time sought out the techniques (dialogue, brainstorming, role play) that would lead to better results, depending on the target group.
• Questions, Findings and Positions of Participants
• Answering the questions and encouraging participants to participate in partner programs in order to continue the program.
• Invitation for a more detailed presentation of the SORT model to those interested.
In conclusion, we can say that there were positive comments during the presentations, both for the project and especially for the driver who described it as “Analytical, detailed, informative”. Small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises that form the foundation of the tourism economy in the regions of the project partners expressed their desire and interest, both individually and through their associations, to accommodate adults at particularly attractive rates in low and average tourist season. Of particular interest was both individual citizens – adults as well as NGOs and institutional bodies – for their active participation in the project. The results that we extracted from the dissemination actions:

-Increase the number of people who have been informed about the SORT model and interest in the model’s actions. New partnerships with businesses and organizations at national level active in the tourism sector.
-Awareness of the needs /potential in active participation of the senior 55+. We have identified, updated and become more aware the tourism psychological needs of seniors 55+, such as active participation, occupation with new programs, the ability to establish new interpersonal relationships between seniors 55+.

-Promoting the idea of volunteering.
-The extension of the tourist season through alternative forms of tourism (interconnection with volunteering, primary sector, culture).
– Developing a different tourism model through the SORT model will contribute to the sustainable development the regions of the partners, as these are less developed and not first-class destinations.-Strengthening the extroversion and networking of small and medium-sized businesses, resulting in increased competitiveness.
-Through the networking of local operators, the promotion of local traditional products will be enhanced.

All partners, in order to be able to promote the SORT project at European level, have been contact with cooperating partners from other European countries. They have been briefed on the actions of the Project and received the English version of the SORT Guide. Participation in two international tourism fairs also helped to promote and disseminate the project at a transnational level.

The main objective of all project partners is to continue and further promote SORT project and its actions beyond the end of funding period. In order to be able to maintain the sustainability of the project, we have discussed some steps that we believe will ensure the continuation of the project:

  • Use of the activities and actions of the SORT Model in every area at both transnational and national level.
  • Continue actions between partners and attract new partners, either as a consortium or in smaller partnerships (e.g. expanding partnerships with new partners or creating new partnerships)
  • Including the SORT model or parts of the activities of the model in touristic offers that refer to our area (getting into contact with touristic agents or agencies that organize tours / cruises / etc.)
  • Contacts and promotion of the SORT project to organizations that there are active in the field of Voluntarism, in order to enrich the model with new volunteer activities.
  • Periodical presentations of the model to the Pensioners’ club and setting up group of interested people that are willing to experience the SORT model elsewhere and creating contacts with partner entities.
  • Intense usage of the SORT guide as promotional material and to gain interest by distributing it in the local community but also at all locations which are a tourist destination,  so that all restaurants / hotels / vinery has it available.
  • Networking of Businesses and Organizations involved in the tourism sector.
  • Constant and continuous information through letters, bulletins, participation in tourism fairs (national and international).
  • Inform the chambers and associations of enterprises active in the tourism sector.
  • Create new attractive touristic packages for seniors 55+
  • Finding donors to participate in follow-up actions and supporting the effort through special gifts for seniors 55+.
  • Meetings with regional and national public administrations responsible for tourism.

Apart from the contacts of partners with partners from other countries in order to communicate the project, all parnters work together as a partnership to be able to network in the tourism market and to sell the SORT project. In order to achieve this goal, we will try to participate in Tourism Exhibitions, not everyone but as a partnership, with a key tool for promoting the Project Guide.

Each partner in the partnership will contact tour operators in the neighboring countries in order to increase the number of partners. We will also inform the networks of town-twinned towns in order to incorporate the SORT model into their actions, but also to attract new stakeholders to promote the SORT project.

In our next plans are to create a promotional tool, we will begin to work on the design and implementation of an online Learning Platform to educate new businesses, organizations and individuals on the actions of the  SORT model. In this way, we intend to attract new entrants, creating a new customer base, training them on the actions and activities of the SORT model, and in turn these new “clients” to attract new stakeholders. Through this process, we are succeeding in continuing the project at transnational level and ensuring that the Model operates properly.

Phase 6: Evaluation, networking and reporting (August 2017 – ongoing)

During the program, the involved local stakeholders (involved in tourism or volunteering work) developed great relationships staying interested in promoting and developing this form of tourism internationally. The role of all Partners is to continue helping so these partnerships can continue to strengthen and lead to the growth and the consolidation of this type of tourism, thus strengthen SMEs in the tourism sector by boosting the low and medium tourism period and enhance the concept of volunteering through seniors participating in such activities. To achieve this we will also create a network of communication and cooperation of the participating organizations and play an important role in the exploitation of results as they have shown great interest in the project activities.

In order to be able to maintain the sustainability of the project, we discussed the next steps that we believe will ensure the continuation of the project:

– Continue actions between partners and attract new partners, either as a consortium or in smaller partnerships (e.g. expanding partnerships with new partners or creating new partnerships)

-Use of the activities and actions of the SORT Model in every area, at both transnational and national level.

– Include the “SORT Model”, or parts of the activities of the model, in touristic offers to partner’s area (getting into contact with touristic agents or agencies that organize tours / cruises / etc.)

– Continuous presentations of the SORT model to the Pensioners’ club and setting up group of interested people that are willing to experience the SORT model elsewhere and creating contacts with partner entities

-Contacts and promotion of the SORT model with organizations active in the field of voluntarism, in order to enrich the model with new volunteer activities.

– Intense usage of the SORT guide as promotional material, to gain interest by distributing it in the local community but also at all locations which are a tourist destination,  so that it would be available in all restaurants / hotels / vinery, etc.

– Networking of Businesses, Organizations and Public Authorities, involved in the tourism sector.

– Constant and continuous information through letters, bulletins, participation in tourism fairs (national and international).

– To inform the chambers and associations of enterprises active in the tourism sector.

– Create new attractive packages for seniors 55+.

– Find donors to participate in follow-up actions and supporting the effort through special gifts for seniors 55+.

–  Meetings with regional and national public administrations responsible for tourism.

Apart from the contacts of project partners with organizations from other countries in order to communicate the project, we will work together as a partnership to be able to network in the tourism market and to sell the SORT project. In order to achieve this goal, we will try to participate in Tourism Exhibitions, not everyone but as a partnership, with a key tool for promoting the Project Guide.
Each partner in the partnership will contact tour operators in the neighbouring countries in order to increase the number of partners. We will also inform the networks of town-twinned towns in order to incorporate the SORT model into their actions, but also to attract new stakeholders to promote the SORT project.

In our next plans are to create a promotional tool, we will begin to work on the design and implementation of an online Learning Platform to educate new businesses, organizations and individuals on the actions of the  SORT model. In this way, we intend to attract new entrants, creating a new customer base, training them on the actions and activities of the SORT model, and in turn these new “clients” to attract new stakeholders. Through this process, we are succeeding in continuing the project at transnational level and ensuring that the Model operates properly.

 


This site is part of the project SORT which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020). ŸThe content of this site represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

SORT – Seniors On Reciprocal Tourism
EU co-financing period is from March 2016 – August 2017
Call: SORT-COS-TOUR-2015-3-04/COS-TOUR-2015-3-04-1
Grant Agreement Number: 699414

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