Cyprus Mail

Guided tours of the sky developed

michal mancewicz q6ypnqrk2u0 unsplash

There is untapped potential in Cyprus for astronomical observations, the three-year research project Astrotourism in Cyprus concluded, it was reported on Saturday.

According to the Nicosia Astronomy School, astrotourism is an introduction to the world of starry skies and stargazing, and several projects related to it are already underway.

Twelve sites were examined over 18 months and four were selected, with one in the process of being certified as a Dark Sky site by the international Dark Sky organisation.

As an internationally certified Dark Sky site, the School said, the astrotourism group will be able to promote responsible policies for night sky conservation, prioritising public education about the threats of light pollution and the need to protect biodiversity and human health.

Astrotourism products include Star Parks (for families and adults) and Star Camping (for children), which feature tents and the necessary equipment, creating an impressive tourist camp for those who choose to enjoy evenings under the stars while learning about the infinite and beautiful sky. It also includes stargazing, with guided tours of the sky.

The project also included a virtual reality mission, and a tour of the solar system through augmented reality, where users walk on a real nature trail to experience the scale of the distances between planets.
The four pilot actions were held in different places and seasons where these products and processes were tested, with around 700 participants of all ages.

The project was completed in December 2023 and the target now is to commercialise these products.

The consortium behind it consists of Top Kinisis Travel Public, CYENS Centre of Excellence, AKTI Project and Research Centre, University of Nicosia Research Foundation (incl. Cyprus Astronomy Organisation), Adelve Research-Innovation-Consulting & Trade and 1010 Cosmos.

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