The University of the Algarve (UAlg) will use virtual and augmented reality to create guided tours on an interactive platform for a project aimed at showcasing the Mediterranean cultural heritage of UNESCO.
Called the iHERITAGE project, it brings in 10 partners from six Mediterranean countries – Italy, Egypt, Spain, Jordan, Lebanon, and Portugal. The duration of the project is an estimated 30 months, culminating in 2023.
Discussing their participation, the coordinator of the project in Portugal, Alexandra Gonçalves, stated that the project “has to do with the creation of virtual content associated with UNESCO’s cultural heritage, in this case, the Mediterranean diet”.
In 2013, the Mediterranean diet was the second Portuguese element to be included in the Representative List of The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO post the inclusion of Fado in 2011.
“We hope to contribute to the appreciation of the Mediterranean diet in the Algarve and to a greater visibility of the concept, which is intangible”, she added while addressing the challenges associated with the intangible aspect of it.
For example, the project features virtual visits to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan while one can go through an olive oil mill or a grain silo in Portugal. “It is a way to enrich the visit to an intangible cultural heritage that is sometimes not so visible, having points scattered throughout the territory”, she said while highlighting that the ultimate objective for the project in this scenario is “to create an application that serves for virtual guided tours to selected sites”.
The professor of the School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism of UAlg exclaimed that the project requires the participation of the community to come together for establishing “proposals of virtual animation of elements of the Mediterranean diet”.
The core objective of the project is to create a Mediterranean platform that puts together “these heritages associated with UNESCO”. It is going to start through a process of establishing the scenarios to govern the project ecosystem from January to March.
The project is sponsored by the ENI CBC program of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and will be a segment of the Research Centre on Tourism, Sustainability, and Welfare (CinTurs) of the University of the Algarve.
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