Innovative projects awarded for plans to boost Scotland’s visitor numbers

Four innovative Scottish projects received recognition for their new ground-breaking tourism business concepts at this week’s Scottish Tourism Week.

Elite Falconry from Fife, Festivals Edinburgh, Prestige Tours from Glasgow and Roulottes Retreat from near Melrose in the Borders, were each presented with a Tourism Innovation Fund Award from Scottish Enterprise chief executive, Lena Wilson at the Scottish Tourism Conference on 3 March in Edinburgh.

These awards, which are each worth up to £30,000, are designed to promote innovation by offering funding assistance for pioneering new business ideas which will encourage visitor spending, improve products or introduce new products or processes. The award package includes access to a special adviser who will support the winning companies as they develop and implement their proposals.

Elite Falconry, Fife

This project offers the opportunity for the thrill seeker interested in flying a microlight aircraft with the added dimension of flying with an eagle to ‘buzz’ their day. The visitor will see what the birds sees, feels what it feels, go where it goes. Scotland is home to around 1000 wild eagles and this will be marketed as the must do experience when visiting Scotland.

Festivals Edinburgh, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Festivals Passport is a new travel trade product available up to a year in advance.  The first of its kind, the product will enable the creation of packages to Edinburgh’s world-renowned summer festivals by international and domestic travel operators and wholesalers. This is a collaborative product that will allow visitors access to three festival shows over a day, via a custom-built itinerary spanning six of Edinburgh’s Summer Festivals.  It will enable visitors to buy a package in the same way as the highly successful Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as part of a holiday package or hotel offer and will allow the festivals to provide a purchasable product at the time of planning and booking.

Prestige Tours Ltd, Glasgow

GoTourGuide is a new tourism product that will revolutionise the way independent travellers will experience a self-drive holiday in Scotland. Utilising totally new GPS technology, GoTourGuide will deliver an informative and entertaining commentary to visitors touring Scotland by car, motorcaravan or mini-bus. It will be like having you own personal guide in your vehicle, with interesting facts, historical information and tourism information for travellers. The guide is a plug and play device that can easily be installed in any type of car, including rental vehicles.

Roulottes Retreat, near Melrose

Roulottes Retreat will provide an eco tourism destination offering an authentic experience for visitors in unusual, quality accommodation in the Scottish Borders. Guests can enjoy a luxurious, eco-friendly, romantic stay amidst the beautiful countryside. The proposal is for stylish accommodation in Roulottes, traditional wooden caravans created by French / Dutch designers based on historic designs. This would be unique in the UK offering ‘glamorous caravanning’ – getting back to nature but with an abundance of comforts, amidst interiors reminiscent of a bygone era with a hint of the Far East.

The announcement coincides with the launch of the updated Scottish Government Economic Recovery Plan, which highlights the importance of innovation in helping to accelerate Scotland’s economic recovery. 

Julie Franchetti, tourism innovation project manager at Scottish Enterprise commented: “These projects and the others before them are exemplars of innovation in the Scottish tourism industry and we hope they inspire other operators or groups to go out and innovate themselves. The Tourism Innovation Fund is integral to our overall Tourism Innovation programme which focuses on stimulating a real step change in the industry.”

The fund has attracted significant interest since being launched last year – receiving 48 applications in the first three rounds.  Round three currently progressing through the judging process and the closing date of 30th April is fast approaching for round four.

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