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The kick-off meeting of the SITE project (Shaping Inclusive Tourist Experience) has recently been held at the Urban Center of Trieste, and was funded under the Interreg Italy-Croatia 2021-2027 programme. The event marks the official launch of an ambitious project that aims to make tourism sustainable through the principles of Universal Design, addressing the challenge of diversifying flow through a more inclusive tourism.

The SITE project has been created in conjunction with a consortium of seven other partners. It has been organised by prof. Lorenzo Castelli of the Department of Engineering and Architecture (DIA) of the University of Trieste in collaboration with the Trieste Inclusion and Accessibility Lab (TrIAL) research group, whose contact person is prof. Ilaria Garofolo. The main objective of SITE is to promote tourist destinations that are accessible to all travellers, guaranteeing an experience free of barriers of any kind.

The Italian and Croatian partners involved in this innovative project include the City of Šibenik, DURA Dubrovnik Development Agency, Dubrovnik Airport, Municipality of Fano, Central Marketing Intelligence (CMI) - Trieste, VEASYT - Venice and the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality of the University of Rijeka.

With a duration of two and a half years, the SITE project envisages the development of pilot initiatives in key locations such as Dubrovnik, Šibenik and Fano, to test and implement solutions that make tourism an accessible and enjoyable experience for all.

In today's Europe, where a quarter of the adult population lives with some form of disability and the Ageing Index is continuing to rise, the SITE project aims to turn demographic challenges into opportunities. By creating more inclusive tourist destinations, it is not only possible to improve travellers' experiences but also to stimulate sustainable and diversified economic growth.

The kick-off meeting took place in the Urban Center, which was made available by the Municipality of Trieste, and was attended by Vice-Rector Valter Sergo, who in his welcome recalled that SITE is the only Interreg 2021-2027 project whose Lead Partner is a department of the University of Trieste, the DIA.

Thanks to the support of the European Union and the joint commitment of the partners, the SITE project stands as a beacon of innovation and inclusivity in the tourism sector. It is a practical demonstration of how, working together, we can overcome barriers and make tourism a universal experience, open to all.