MIRTO - Minimizing forest fire Risks for Tourists
Research area : Sustainable tourism development
Project manager : Zrinka Marušić mag. math., univ.spec.oec.
Implementation period : 2010. - 2012.
AMBIENTE ITALIA – EU PROJEKT
Institut za turizam
The overall aim of the MIRTO project was to develop and test the method of raising awareness of tourists regarding the danger of open fires while on holidays.
The Institute for Tourism was in charge to define methods to monitor the efectiveness of MIRTO activities, to implement monitoring methods and analyze the results of monitoring activities.
The main target of project activities was the part of the tourist population more exposed to the risks of open fires – young tourists whose activities are often taking place in nature areas (i.e. hiking, excursions in hinterlands), those staying in camps where they are more at risk from fires and those staying in private houses/apartments, where they have no so readily available information on what to do in case of fire.
The main messages of the communication strategy related to the safe fire behavior or, in other words, how to behave in a manner not to cause an open fire and what to do in case of fires. To communicate these two main messages, a number of communication methods was used, each geared towards specific segment of the target population (youths, camping guests and guests staying in private houses/apartments) - video spots, brochures and posters.
The second major aim of the project was to test the effectiveness of MIRTO awareness campaign in several aspects: in terms of the appropriateness of the communication channels used; in terms of the clarity of messages and in terms of the overall effectiveness of the campaign.
The campaign was conducted on the islands of Croatia, Greece, France and Italy. Taking into account several criteria, the campaign was implemented on: (i) the island of Hvar in Croatia, (ii) the islands Skopelos and Skyatos in Greece, (iii) the island of Corsica in France and (iv) the island of Elba in Italy.
In terms of its implementation, the MIRTO campaign consisted of screening video spots on ferries to target the youth tourists and distributing brochures to reach those staying in camps and private accommodation. It was implemented with the help of ferry companies and local partners. The monitoring of the MIRTO campaign was conducted to test the way it was implemented and to see how effective it was.
In terms of the effectiveness of the MIRTO messages, it seems that the more general messages (i.e. fire prevention, be careful with fire, behave safe) were recalled by about 30 to 50% of those exposed to the messages. As the messages got more specific, the rate of recall decreased proportionally. Secondly, even though there was a set of messages designed specifically for each target population, it appears that the target population has not paid specific attention to them. Thus it is difficult to claim with any degree of certainty that the messages recalled were the effect of the exposure to MIRTO or whether the MIRTO has reconfirmed/recalled their already acquired knowledge.
The fact that the MIRTO campaign was not only the first such campaign aimed specifically at tourists in the Mediterranean area but also the first one that has monitoring planned from the outset, the major contribution of the MIRTO campaign is in that the results can be used as the benchmark for any future similar campaigns. At the same time, the MIRTO results clearly illustrate the advantages of the monitoring activity as it gives very clear indication if the selected communication channels are reaching the target population and to what extent and whether/to what extent the population is receptive to the messages.