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The Digital Evolution of Tourism in Larnaca Region

A series of innovative virtual projects for Larnaca region were presented on October 21 at an event held by Larnaca Tourism Board (LTB) and the Youth Board of Cyprus (ONEK), with the support of Larnaca Municipality and the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism (DMT).

The ‘Virtual Larnaka’ event took place at the premises of Youth Makerspace Larnaca under the auspices of the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Savvas Perdios, in the presence of distinguished guests.

LTB and ONEK joined forces to implement a multifaceted project to promote their common innovation; specifically, four interconnected, complementing virtual experiences that offer both locals and visitors interactive technological applications to enjoy the region’s attractions. Combining modern technology with landmarks, historical and cultural attractions, Larnaca’s tourist offering has been given a new dimension, with information given in a more engaging and immersive way.

Statues that speak; a 3D reconstruction of the Ancient Port of Kition; a virtual underwater navigation of Larnaca’s seabed, and interactive tours of museums that present exhibits with additional, enriched information and media all come together to offer a complete virtual experience of the region.

The pioneering Larnaca Storytelling Statues incorporates QR codes on various statues, monuments and busts across the region. Visitors simply scan the code from a mobile device with Internet connection to receive a call-back from the monument recounting their unique story.

For the first time in Cyprus, an ancient archaeological site has been virtually restored to show historical accuracy in a 3D reconstruction. Utilising virtual reality technology, the user can discover what the Ancient Port of Kition looked like 2,500 thousand years ago.

An important element of Larnaca’s touristic product is its wealth of diving sites and as such, the forthcoming Larnaka Underwater Diving Routes projects was presented, showcasing the Zenobia, Elpida and LEF1 wrecks as well as reefs in Xylofagou’s Watchtower area and Voroklini’s Dorida. The routes will include all the details for each diving spot and present them in a virtual, 360° format.

The fourth pillar of Virtual Larnaca is an interactive 360° tour of Larnaka region museums with information and enriched content for selected exhibits. The first phase includes the museums: Municipal Museum of Historic Archives of Larnaka, Pierides Museum - Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, Kallinikeio Municipal Museum of Athienou, Livadia Craft of Caning Museum, Kyriazis Medical Museum, and the Environmental Information Centre of Larnaka Mountainous Area.

Through the innovative platform, the museums can be virtually toured by viewers at home, or at the museums for a hybrid experience that accesses bonus material, including 3D representations of spaces and exhibits, and audio-visual content.