The event, which was held on Friday 20 November at the EICC, welcomed over 180 delegates and 20 exhibitors from across the tourism and digital technology sectors and provided the ideal launch pad for this new partnership initiative.
It will run until June 2018 and provide businesses throughout Scotland with the opportunity to work with digital experts. The programme aims to help businesses learn how to harness the power of digital and integrate this into their everyday operations in order to boost commercial growth and enhance tourism products and services.
The programme will offer insight from industry leaders from around the world on how digital tourism products and services are a useful asset to enhance visitor experiences and destination awareness.
This will be carried out through annual conferences, tourism workshops, surgeries and access to a wealth of online resources.
Danny Cusick, Senior Director of Food & Drink, Tourism and Textiles at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The launch of the Digital Tourism Scotland programme has the power to significantly boost the performance of Scotland’s tourism industry as well as raising the standards offered to visitors on a massive scale.
“The programme will provide a wide variety of networking and support platforms, for any business in the tourism sector looking to maximise its potential through innovative digital engagement.
“Our programme partners have developed a comprehensive support system that can improve operations for both small and large businesses no matter the level of their current digital activity.”
Digital Tourism Scotland has been created by Scottish Enterprise, The Scottish Tourism Alliance, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, VisitScotland, Business Gateway and Scottish Government.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “It is more important than ever for Scotland’s tourism industry to keep pace with an ever-evolving digital landscape. We are therefore delighted to help to develop the Digital Tourism Scotland programme, which will allow businesses of all sizes to seize the power of digital platforms and ensure that our tourism industry continues to punch above its weight in the global marketplace.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) added: "The STA is delighted to be a partner in the Digital Tourism Scotland programme, a key strand of the Tourism Strategy, and to support businesses in developing their digital products and services to enhance visitor experience in Scotland.
“The interest, enthusiasm and energy shown around the Digital Tourism Conference is illustrative of the appetite of Scotland’s tourism businesses to harness the power of digital technology and embrace digital solutions that will undoubtedly enhance their tourism business.”
Digital Tourism Scotland also has the support of the Scottish Government as it ties in with its mission of improving the visitor experience in Scotland and achieving annual visitor spend of between £5.5bn and £6.5bn by 2020.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Today’s launch of the Digital Tourism Scotland programme has the potential to help boost growth, productivity and visitor experience in a highly competitive global marketplace.
“This funding will work towards raising greater awareness and providing advice to tourism companies on how digital technologies can help them compete for and attract new business.
“This is an excellent example of the work being achieved through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, and illustrates how they are working towards delivering the sector’s ambitions as outlined in Tourism Scotland 2020.”
Pictured: Dr Samantha Vettese Forster of Edinburgh University with some 3D prints she has created