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Virtually Scotland

Press Release   •  Feb 28, 2017 00:01 GMT

People across the world can now instantly walk through the prehistoric village of Skara Brae in Orkney, soar high over Edinburgh Castle like a bird, journey into the depths of The Hollow Mountain of Ben Cruachan and experience the Northern Lights – all from the comfort of their own home, with the release of a new virtual reality app from VisitScotland.

ScotlandVR is a ground-breaking virtual travel experience that allows people, wherever they are in the world, to be immersed in Scotland’s remarkable attractions.

Launched today (February 28), it is hoped the ScotlandVR app, which is available for Android and Apple users to download for free on Google Play and Apple Store, will incite emotion during those ‘I want to get away’ moments in life and inspire more people to discover Scotland for real.

Featuring state-of-the art 360˚ imagery and footage, users start their journey in a virtual glen complete with moo-ing Highland Cow, crackling fire and bellowing stag. From there, they can jump into a map of Scotland and experience 26 unique attractions covering every region of the country.

The whole environment can be experienced in Stereoscopic 3D when used with a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset, in 360˚ view using gyroscope phone technology or by touchscreen also in phone mode.

The Scotland VR app is a result of the collaborative effort and pioneering spirit of Scottish academic, technology and tourism sectors.

As part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, VisitScotland challenged young talent from Scotland’s academia to create an exciting, interactive digital product designed to inspire and motivate people to visit Scotland. The winners of the competition were a team from Edinburgh Napier University, led by Professor David Benyon and Dr Oli Mival who developed the concept for an innovative app in which to explore a virtual Scotland. The final ScotlandVR app was created by Edinburgh-based digital and creative agency, Whitespace in association with VisitScotland and Edinburgh Napier University.

The app launches with 26 attractions, but future phases of the software will see attractions added through refreshed content. The landmark locations for launch were chosen from set criteria including footfall, product diversity, online searches, showcasing attractions with innovative architecture and design and links to the current 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The launch attractions are:

AttractionRegion
Abbotsford HouseScottish Borders
Robert Burns Birthplace MuseumAyrshire
Cairngorms National ParkHighlands
Calanais Standing StonesOuter Hebrides
Cruachan The Hollow MountainArgyll and Bute
Dunnottar CastleAberdeenshire
Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh and Lothians
Eilean Donan CastleHighlands
The Falkirk WheelLoch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling and Forth Valley
Falkland Palace and GardenFife
Forth BridgesFife / Edinburgh and Lothians
Galloway Forest ParkDumfries and Galloway
Glasgow CathedralGlasgow
Glenfinnan Viaduct Highlands
The KelpiesLoch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling and Forth Valley
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and MuseumGlasgow
National Museum of ScotlandEdinburgh and Lothians
New Lanark World Heritage SiteLanarkshire
Riverside MuseumGlasgow
Royal Botanic Garden EdinburghEdinburgh and Lothians
RRS DiscoveryDundee and Angus
The Scottish Crannog Centre and Loch TayPerthshire
Skara BraeOrkney
Strathisla DistilleryMoray
The National Wallace MonumentStirlingshire
Shetland Museum and ArchivesShetland

Research shows that 60% of searches for destination information come from mobile devices. This, coupled with virtual reality experiencing growth worldwide (forecasted numbers of VR users between now and 2018 set to grow by 400% to 170 million) creates a prime opportunity for Scotland to be discovered in a new and innovative way. A recent report by Greenlight VR showed that travel and adventure VR content is the most sought after by consumers (74%), followed by movies and live-events.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

“This virtual reality app provides people across the globe with a window into Scotland’s fantastic attractions. They will experience 26 unique attractions covering every region of the country. It will, I hope, inspire more people to discover Scotland for real.

“In this, the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, there has never been a better time to come to Scotland and experience our world class destinations and historic buildings and monuments.

“A team from Edinburgh Napier University developed the concept for this app, it demonstrates the pioneering spirit and ingenuity of Scotland’s academic, technology and tourism sectors.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“We are excited to be able to launch our first venture into the world of virtual reality. Far from being a fad or gimmick, VR is revolutionising the way people choose the destinations they might visit by allowing them to ‘try before they buy’ and learn more about the country in an unique and interactive way.

“We have no doubt that once people get a taste of the spirit of Scotland or #ScotSpirit through ScotlandVR, they will be booking a holiday to experience our stunning landscapes and attractions in the flesh.”

Phillip Lockwood-Holmes, Managing Partner at Whitespace said:

"ScotlandVR has been a fantastic project for us to bring to life with the teams from VisitScotland, Napier University and xDesign. Combining inspiring 360s of fantastic sites across Scotland, beautifully creative 3D models and the latest in immersive mobile technology.

"We’re really excited to be able to share Scotland in a new stand out way with people all over the world."

ScotlandVR is now available to download from Google Play and Apple Stores. For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/app

Promotional videos of ScotlandVR:

30 sec edit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iWlo1YjWBE

75 sec edit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h80MpihZlhs

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
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    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017