i4WALKer improves tourist infrastructure and services on hiking trails, specifically the E4 European path

The i4WALKer project has built and upgraded hiking trails in areas of environmental and cultural significance on the islands of Chios, Crete and Cyprus in order to protect the natural environment and support tourism by promoting cultural monuments. The cross-border territorial cooperation within the project has enhanced tourist infrastructure and services and performed studies related to creation of new networks of trails.

Additional tools

Information point on an upgraded hiking trail © i4WALKer Information point on an upgraded hiking trail © i4WALKer

" The project can have multiple benefits for the region. The routes can act as a catalyst for local development and development of business and improve the tourist product. They can help to convert overnight tourism into longer stays and attract new categories of tourist, while strengthening cooperation between local actors. "

Roula Papadopoulou, Regional Unity of Lasithi, Region of Crete

The partners created tools to improve planning and organisation of walking routes, including pilots and technical specifications for the design, management and marking of new paths, upgrades to paths and management of paths in state-owned forests. This led to the creation and marking out of five new networks in the Lasithi area of Crete, on Chios, and in Cyprus – on the Akamas peninsula, in the Troodos mountains and on the Cavo Greco headland.

i4WALKer also helped to restore the routes between the Agioi Pateres and Nea Moni monasteries, Armolia and Apolichnon Castle, and Fa Lithi on Chios following the wildfire of August 2012. Automatic sensors were installed to record visitor numbers on the new and restored trails and systems for evaluation of the trails and visitor satisfaction were put in place.

Training for work as guides

Seminars were held and guidelines published for the local population with the aim of training them to work as guides on the mountain and forest trails. Promotion and dissemination activities included production of more than 10 000 flyers and tourist maps, as well as standard tourist guides and brochures, and use of ICT-based promotional channels.

The project has contributed to overcoming deficiencies in services and technological infrastructure. By protecting and making the most of the area's natural and cultural environment and providing safe and easy access to the trails, it has promoted development of alternative forms of tourism and improved the tourist experience in the area. This should increase the number of visitors and extend the tourist season, thereby making tourism in the target areas more competitive, encouraging business development and improving the inhabitants’ quality of life.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “I4Walker” is EUR 581 949 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 465 559 from the Operational Programme “Greece - Cyprus” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date