COSME Programme 2014

COS- TFLOWS-2014-3-15


Duration of the project

15 months



1.      ST PATERAKIS & CO LP, the project coordinator - GREECE

2.      Municipality of Chania - GREECE

3.      E-Seniors - FRANCE

4.      Život 90 - CZECH REPUBLIC



KO meeting in Greece



The ambition of ‘Meet Nature’ is to overcome significant obstacles

of tourism and Seniors’ transnational mobility, most of which have already been determined

during previous actions taken by the European Commission. These obstacles comprise:


Tourism in the EU:

- Seasonality is a constant challenge for European transnational tourism, since highseason

visitor-nights (usually July-August) account for one third (on average) of the

annual total and there are two medium season periods.

- Countries with winter high-seasons (e.g. alpine areas of Italy, Austria; mountainous

Romania etc) also face tourism flow problems during other periods

- Employment in the tourism sector follows similar seasonal patterns, thus affecting

income and well-being of seasonal and part-time employees

- There are various societal pressures related to high-season tourism, i.e.:

o Public service and infrastructure demand

o Environmental pressures for receiving destinations, during problematic

periods for natural resource availability (e.g. water)

o Human labour intensive employment during the ‘holiday’ months


Senior mobility:

- Limited travelling mobility of Seniors, especially in terms of transnational leisure trips

- High-season travelling for seniors can be a burden, owing to extreme weather

conditions in some cases (e.g. Northern Europe destinations in summertime; alpine

Europe destination in wintertime)

- Social isolation of Seniors owing to erroneous perception that they are ‘disinterested’

in trying new things and ‘retired’ from life’s experiences

- Exclusion of Seniors from ‘exciting’ parts of modern life, among which is outdoor

visits and modern ICT tools

Low mobility of certain social groups (e.g. youths and seniors) leaves a significant gap in

demand for low-medium season tourism, since these groups would be available for traveling


The most highly appreciated asset of a destination for Seniors is nature, according to the

most recent studies (Tourage, 2013). Nature has always offered plenty of recreational

activities, and this truth has been recognised by many actors in the tourism industry.

Nevertheless, the relationship of travellers with nature is mostly staying on a superficial

level, where nature acts as the mere scenery or background for athletic, artistic, religious,

gastronomic and other activities. Many travellers have experienced the beneficial effect of

clean air, water, flowers or trees when outdoors, but very few of them ever knew what

nature really is.



MeetNature is a product especially designed to bring seniors in contact with nature’s complexity and diversity.  MeetNature is a project funded by the COSME programme of the European Commission.


The aim of MeetNature is to combine the benefits of (a) interacting with nature and (b) of creative and playful learning (CPL), with the beneficial experiences that seniors enjoy through transnational travelling and second chance learning to mobilise transnational tourism flows during low and medium season.


The individual objectives that MeetNature aims to fulfil are:

·        To deeper explore Seniors’ attitudes towards CPL and experiential activities in nature;

·        To record and adopt best practices of CPL for adults and seniors in particular;

·        To explore the compatibility of protected and non-protected natural areas (ecotopes) with accessibility and other functional needs and particularities of seniors;

·        To record and adopt best practices for using audio-visual assistance (through ICT) for facilitating seniors’ participation;

·        To create side-products (e.g. video footage) that will promote nature conservation (social motivation) and the creation/participation in similar products elsewhere;

·        To measure the willingness-to-pay for the tourism product developed;

·        To disseminate the characteristics and importance of the new product to various actors on the supply-side (e.g. tourist operators, tourist professionals) and on the demand-side (seniors organizations, public authorities).


The fulfilled objectives will also provide solutions to existing obstacles, i.e.:

·        Provide a successful paradigm for seniors who would like to travel and experience nature or take second chance learning trips

·        Provide CPL and audio-visual ICT tools that will assist in fighting social isolation and exclusion of seniors

·        Reinforce inbound alternative tourism flows

·        Create flows during low season, since nature’s best-suitable periods are spring (low season, in almost all member states) and autumn (medium to low season, depending on the member state)

·        Assure reliability of the model in other areas and member states, owing to the general benefits of CPL and the local differentiation of nature’s characteristics

·        Relieve environmental pressures and promote conservation of important natural areas, thus providing beneficial synergies with EU conservation policies



E-Seniors’ role

As an end-user organisation, E-Seniors role is to work with the target population (older adults 55+ years) and to provide their ideas and feedback related to the low and medium season tourism at natural sites. Moreover, E-Seniors is responsible for organization an information event in Paris at the beginning of the project, gathering feedback from the target groups for the initial project questionnaire and recruiting & accompanying 20 local seniors to travel and test the developed tourism package in Greece. 


The French senior test for the EU a "nature" tour in Crete seniors