Three-Phase Roll-Out of the Social Tourism European Exchanges Platform, "eCalypso.eu"
Three events in Brussels in May and June 2013 will introduce the new online marketplace, www.eCalypso.eu which aims to make it easier for social tourism suppliers and intermediaries to make contact and do business - helping to meet the growing demand for cross-border social tourism in Europe.
- 14 May 2013 Workshop on the functions of the eCalypso Web Platform, at the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels
- 12 June 2013 Launch Event at Bozar, Brussels
- 20 June 2013 eCalypso Business Dating at the European Commission, Directorate General Enterprise and Industry.
Contact / Registration
To participate in the above events or learn more about the initiative, please contact the STEEP project office at the International Social Tourism Organisation (OITS-ISTO), Brussels.
Under the name, "STEEP - The Social Tourism European Exchanges Platform", a project was set up in April 2012 with co-funding from the European Commission and 7 partner organisations, to design and build a web site to stimulate and facilitate the development of Social Tourism in and between European Member States.
For many years, numerous public, private and non-profit organisations in Europe have offered subsidised or supported holidays for disadvantaged groups, for example youth, older people, families and people with disabilties, These programmes almost always provide holidays only within the countries where the beneficiaries themselves live.
Through a number of pilot projects involving two or more EU Member States, cross-border social tourism exchanges have been carried out on a trial basis under the so-called "Calypso" initiative.
Building on the experience of these projects, STEEP was set up to make cross-border exchanges more widespread and easier to establish, through an online system where suppliers and intermediaries can post offers, find suppliers and make holiday bookings.
The new eCalypso website has now been published (in beta version) and will be formally launched in June 2013.
www.eCalypso.eu will provide:
- a wealth of references on social tourism in Europe, including publications, best practices, news, and background information on the Calypso initiative;
- a market place for supply and demand through a commercialisation module, available to members of the scheme;
- an online meeting place for the community of European social tourism stakeholders, with the possibility to share ideas, post ads and collaborate.
After June 2013, a new organisational structure will manage the platform. This will be a non-profit organisation with a European scope, such as an International non-profit association (AISBL), a foundation or a cooperative society.
Conditions for membership and use of the platform will be defined by a code of ethics based on criteria meeting the requirements of the target groups. The charter will also take into account the objectives of accessibility, sustainability and quality.
Read more about STEEP and eCalypso at the ENAT Projects and Good Practices page.
OITS-ISTO and ENAT have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the two organisations have pledged to collaborate on projects and initiatives of mutual interest to their members, in line with their shared objectives.
The MoU also confers on OITS-ISTO the status of Honorary Member of ENAT.