||Fancy getting away from it
all, and flying off to warmer shores? But you still have work to do, and
can't be out of touch for too long.
The Crete Telework Network (CTN) is
designed to meet the needs of business tourists, and holiday-makers who
need to - or just want to - have Internet access.
The CTN emerged from an
earlier European-funded project to develop telemedicine and teleworking in
Crete. Hospitals and healthcare centres were networked, and given the
importance of tourism for the island, 15 hotels were wired up.
Hotels involved in the CTN
range from the smaller family-run enterprise to the large luxury hotel.
Facilites can include:
Touchdown points - where users
can connect their laptop
Computers in public areas of
hotels for access by residents
Resort Office - a hotel room
doubling as a fully wired up office
Business centres providing
high-speed access and videoconferencing
Also offered are Virtual Office support and 24-hour
Access speed is usually by ISDN or 56kb modem, although 2
megabit links are available in some business centres.
Generally people use the network for Internet banking,
picking up and sending email and using the Internet for browsing - often
to find local information or catching up on news back home.
The number of requests by prospective holiday-makers for
such facilities is increasing rapidly. And it's seen as one way of giving
the island some competitive advantage. This particularly applies to guests
who stay on the island for longer periods, which is becoming quite common
over the winter months.
People are staying for perhaps 3-4 months over the winter
to enjoy the beauty of the island, and a milder climate at a time when
it's less crowded. Being able to work effectively is an important element
of their choice.
Future ideas for developing CTN include:
expanding the network to include more of the islands accommodation
expanding the network to bring connectivity to local small
setting up local telecentres or telecottages to encourage
the participation of more local people.
The network, then, is playing a role in the economic
development of the island. It provides an additional angle to more
traditional approaches to tourism, and may be the basis for more
innovation to come.