New business ideas aim to grow Scottish tourism

Some of Scotland’s most innovative tourism companies were recognised today (28 Sep 2009) at an event to mark the Tourism Innovation Fund awards. 

Scottish Enterprise’s Tourism Innovation Fund aims to encourage tourism operators in Scotland to develop new and creative business ideas to achieve growth and deliver innovative and exciting experiences for Scotland’s visitors.

Individual companies or groups of companies working together are invited to submit their business ideas to help them to commercialise innovative tourism projects that can make the most of Scotland’s key strengths. Successful applicants receive match-funding of up to £30,000 and one-to-one professional business support.

Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism presented the winning projects at the celebratory event which was held in the MacDonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh.

Julie Franchetti, Scottish Enterprise’s tourism innovation manager, said: “Our tourism innovation programme plays a significant role in stimulating innovation in the industry.

“Scotland has tremendous tourism assets, however with increased competition and greater consumer choice, it is essential we continue to look at ways to exploit this to maximum advantage.

“Good ideas based on an understanding of the market and implemented well can revolutionise a business or group of businesses, increase profitability and improve competitiveness. By encouraging higher levels of innovation and collaboration we can continue to improve Scotland’s tourism experience and attract more visitors in new and exciting ways.

“The successful projects that have been highlighted today demonstrate new business ideas and ways of working that have real potential to achieve significant business growth through the development of new products, services and processes.”

Tourism Minister Jim Mather said: “We have shown ourselves to be a nation of innovators and these Tourism Innovation Fund Awards celebrate the vast skills and talent we have within the Scottish tourism industry.

 “I congratulate all the recipients of this first round of funding - they have put in a huge amount of dedication and hard work and show what a vibrant and exciting sector of our economy tourism is. Together we will ensure that Scotland's tourism industry continues to compete on the global stage as one of the must-visit destinations in the world."

The Tourism Innovation Fund has been developed based on the success of the Tourism Innovation Development Awards. Support is aimed at individual or collaborative project ideas that offer genuinely innovative new experiences and give visitors a real reason to visit Scotland.  

This is the first round of Tourism Innovation Fund awards. There are three competitive rounds in 2009/2010, with winners chosen by a panel of judges.

The winners are:

Roam Edinburgh Edinburgh, Lothians - Paul Nixon

Paul has the exclusive UK license for Digimap guides and is developing a handy GPS PDA that visitors to Edinburgh can hire, collect from a city centre pick-up point or have delivered direct to their hotel.  The guides will also be available to download to visitors own GPS PDA or Smartphone via the Roam Edinburgh website. 

The software is user friendly, visual and allows an incredible level of interaction and is fully flexible should the visitor veer from the chosen route.  They can click on buildings and descriptions will appear and offers scope for advertising revenue via the cross promotion with local attractions.

Skinny Tyres Airntully, Perthshire - Scot Tares

Skinny Tyres provides a complete cycling experience aimed squarely at the competitive amateur and sportive cyclist.  The aim is to offer professional training holidays in Scotland for cyclists who are looking for a more competitive edge. Trips will comprise of hub based and point to point, long weekend and week-long fully inclusive packages that exploit the extensive network of challenging roads in Scotland. Sessions with nutritionists, physiotherapists and related experts will be offered to enhance the full package of support.

Velodays Cycling Holidays Aberdeen - Neil Innes

Velodays offers bespoke and package cycling holidays guided by GPS navigation. Holiday itineraries will be provided to the client on a GPS unit which attaches to the handlebars of the bike providing customers with a door-to-door guide to their route on each day of their trip. Rather than budget accommodation, cycling itineraries have been shaped around quality accommodation to provide a comfortable stop at the end of each day. 

Walking Heads Ltd Alan Gibson, Renfrewshire Sharon MacLaughlin, Dougal Pernman, Fay Young

Walking Heads is a creative collaboration that are capitalising on their collective skills to develop a range of ‘off the beaten track’ tours.  The tours will be extremely well produced and aim to highlight a different view of the City.  The walking tours will be paid for downloadable podcasts available at point of sale in Visitor Centres and also via sites such as iTunes, Amazon and other partner websites.  The first tour in development is a Glasgow Music Tour, giving the visitor a true insight to the off the beaten track highlights and places to visit. Additional revenue will also be generated via targeted paid for advertising messages.

Notes to editors

For more information about the Tourism Innovation Fund visit


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