North tourist haunts feature on phone ‘app’

15th December 2010 from Caithness Courier

Top North attractions are among those to feature on a new iPhone “app” which provides users with suggestions of days out.
Thurso’s Caithness Horizons centre, the Castle of Mey, No1 Bistro at the Mackays Hotel in Wick, the RSPB reserve at Forsinard and Timespan in Helmsdale are all included in VisitScotland’s new service.

The “app”, which has been produced in association with Historic Scotland, builds on the Scottish staycation trend.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland’s regional director, said:  “Feedback from visitors tells us people like hands-on, practical information delivered in real time.  And with the increasing popularity of iPhones and similar devices, it is vital that we seize this opportunity.  People will still use our websites and VisitScotland information centre’s to find out about the attractions in the region but this is an added extra - it’s fun, free, interactive and extremely useful.

“Let’s not underestimate the importance of days out and the amount of money families spends in local businesses - whether that’s lunch out in a local cafe or admission to a visitor attraction, this sort of activity in each region is estimated to bring in more than £4billion in total for Scotland.
“The new ‘app’ is not just great news for the visitor, but for the industry too.
“Working in partnership with businesses across the Highlands, we’re helping to showcase the region’s wealth of attractions and ultimately bringing more custom to their door - all for free.

“Every penny spend on a day out is pumped back into the economy and helps ensure the sort of tourism growth which is critical to the future of Scotland.”
The project is part of the tourism body’s latest Winter White campaign which closely targets the domestic markets.
Available for free from the iTunes store, the “app” offers an “inspire me” button which allows the user to type in their location, give the phone a shake and, in a fruit machine style, it will spit out ideas for things to see and do locally.

Alongside extensive information on days out from Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, VisitScotland information centre’s, Associations of Scottish Visitor Attractions, and a selection of Quality Assured visitor centre’s are all pre-loaded onto the “app”, as well as various seasonal offers from tourism businesses nationwide.  Eat-Scotland awarded venues are also hooked in with the initiative.

Stephen Duncan, Historic Scotland’s head of commercial and visitor operations, says the initiative couldn’t have come at a better time.  “We’re delighted to be involved in this project as we recognise the increasing importance of digital media and its ability to engage visitors to help them make the most of their stay.
“Testing the ‘app’ in the wider marketplace is part of our wider commitment to embrace digital technology opportunities to deliver visitor information in a more innovative way.”

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