App-y to talk about tourism

Jemma Reid, the Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group project manager, launches the new Scotland Starts Here app. Photo: Phil Wilkinson
Jemma Reid, the Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group project manager, launches the new Scotland Starts Here app. Photo: Phil Wilkinson

This year, VisitScotland is celebrating 50 years of tourism promotion of Scotland.

Looking back, much about our industry has changed but undoubtedly the biggest changes of all have been driven by advances in technology.

If you are researching a holiday destination or just looking for a good day out from home, the first place to turn now is the internet and first impressions of a hotel, attraction or area are made through their websites. If you have questions, then email is often the easiest way to ask,if you want to pass on feedback then TripAdvisor is often the chosen route and, of course, rather than just telling people about your experience, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide easy ways to tell everyone.

Midlothian's tourism businesses should receive a boost this spring with a new app, embracing the latest technology, developed by MBTAG, the Midlothian and Borders Tourism Action Group. The app, called Scotland Starts Here, features interactive routes, maps and itineraries and you can also enjoy songs, myths, stories and legends from the area.

Another anniversary was marked last month when VisitScotland Expo, the largest tourism business event, marked its 40th year. Communication here was mostly face to face, as 340 businesses had the chance to speak to over 500 tour operators, encouraging them to bring more people to them.

Midlothian was well represented and we should see a benefit from this, too, in the coming months. As part of the event, VisitScotland also organise familiarisation visits for overseas tour operators to go and see places for themselves. After all, no matter how good technology is, nothing beats seeing somewhere at first hand.

With all the great attractions and experiences on offer across Midlothian, VisitScotland will be busy encouraging more people to come and enjoy themselves here, for the next 50 years and far beyond, however they choose to tell them.