The pilot sites of the GATE project – Inclusive tourism in the natural environment

A mountain excursion, a stroll through a romantic park, the descent of a gorge excavated by a stream through the course of millennia … a type of tourism from which many people feel excluded, perhaps. Not just the disabled: we’re talking about the elderly, too, or families with small children.

siti-piloti-progetto-gateThis is the motivation behind the GATE Project, so that tourism can become increasingly inclusive and allow everyone to fully enjoy their holiday, even in a context abounding in natural obstacles such as the mountains. To field test all of the technological solutions conceived and the guidelines developed by the project, four Pilot Sites have been identified:

The Bletterbach GEOPARC
Even though System 8 is the smallest of the UNESCO Dolomite systems in terms of extension, the Bletterbach may be defined as their “Grand Canyon”. This natural monument is a narrow gorge formed by the Bletterbach stream about 8 km long that overall covers a difference in altitude of 1,100 m, making the trajectory inaccessible to many types of visitors. Today, thanks to the GATE Project, the GEOMuseum of Redagno offers a thrilling virtual adventure that allows absolutely everyone to access the Bletterbach gorge for the first time without barriers. Also in System 8 of the World Heritage Dolomites a multimedia adventure trail has been set up from Passo Oclini to Malga Gurndin that can be viewed via a webapp and illustrates the World heritage in a breathtaking manner by describing the geological and geomorphological aspects that make it unique. The webapp is inclusive and all of its contents are available without having to install an App. Another novelty is the Bletterbot, an artificial intelligence system that, via the Facebook Messenger platform, provides information about Bletterbach and about the totally inclusive experiences developed there.

Parco Rossi in Santorso
Parco Rossi is an idyllic and romantic garden in the province of Vicenza, a welcoming and accessible area equipped with a built-in and multisensory communication system made to ‘Design for All’ standards. Thanks to the GATE Project, a multimodal and multisensory audio guide has been developed that provides 19 audio or video stories revealing the garden’s secrets. Another invention is the InGame thanks to which the visitor is engaged in an interactive, thrilling and totally inclusive game that helps discover the park’s hidden treasures. Another product developed within the framework of the GATE Project is the 3D rendition of a … tactile and talking Villa Rossi! Another unique experience accessible to everyone, a device to be read with the eyes, the hands and the ears.

The “Kinderleicht Wandern” project – Easy excursions in the Pongau environs
The GATE Project does not solely address persons with disabilities but also families with small children. Although trekking with children is a common activity in Europe, it still poses many difficulties for young families both during the trip and at the destination chosen for their holiday, especially because of the lack of trails that can be travelled with their smaller children in push chairs. Within the context of the GATE pilot project “Kinderleicht Wandern” (excursions made to measure for children), SalzburgerLand Tourismus and Salzburg Research have worked together to present in digital form a set of easy hikes with children in push-chairs in the Pongau area in the environs of Salzburg. Overall, 82 trails – 35 of which also suited for push chairs – have been uploaded onto an online map containing descriptions and itineraries that can also be viewed on mobile devices.

The Trail of Perceptions – Conca dell’Alpago
The marvelous Alpago basin cherishes within its mountains a wild and pristine landscape rich in traditions, historic towns, natural resources and scenic treasures. Within the context of the GATE Project, the ‘Trail of Perceptions’ has been designed and developed based on accessibility. It is 24 km long and runs at the feet of the major mountain ranges of the Alpago basin with a succession of ups and downs that never exceed 300 m in difference in altitude, making it de facto an excursion trail suitable for everyone. It is also easily reached from the towns down in the valley, offering the opportunity to walk it all in one day or to split it up into various sections. The excursioning experience can also be enriched by accessing the ‘Trail of Perceptions’ webapp that provides visitors with anecdotal readings of the cultural, natural and landscape features of this location.