Virtual reality to support accessibility

The various players in the Interreg “GATE” project, coordinated by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, are gathering together in Merano on 24 and 25 October. Their aim is to take stock of a process that aims to make tourism in the Dolomites more inclusive for all. The goal of the “GATE” initiative is to increase the number of people who can experience the natural world of the Alps and Prealps without physical or language barriers. This is a Cross-border Cooperation project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Interreg VA Italy-Austria 2014-2020.

Bletterbach for all

An important feature of the meeting will be a visit to the Bletterbach gorge, one of the nine systems recognised by UNESCO. Visitors can explore this open-air book of geology thanks to the use of virtual reality. Indeed, the first virtual reality prototype was unveiled at the visitor centre of the Bletterbach Geopark, in Aldino. This experience will become an integral part of Redagno’s geological museum, allowing everyone to visit the inside of the Bletterbach Gorge in an accessible way.

The project partners

The “Gate” project is coordinated by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation and involves various partners: the Independent L Social Cooperative, the Municipality of Santorso, the CAI Alpago, the University of Innsbruck and Salzburg Research. Inclusion is its main objective, plus a commitment to create equal opportunities for enjoying our heritage, including from the point of view of language. The UNESCO Dolomites Foundation has already been working for some time on the matter of physical access to the various sites through its Dolomiti Accessibili project. Thanks to this, many accessible trails have now been marked as suitable of families, the elderly and the disabled, throughout the Dolomite zone.