Tourism gets a virtual lift from new app

The Falkirk Wheel.
The Falkirk Wheel.
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A new virtual reality app is allowing people across the world to “visit” landmarks like the Falkirk Wheel and New Lanark world heritage site.

These attractions are among an elite band of 26 sites to feature in special apps launched by tourism body VisitScotland,

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

Research is said to show that 60 per cent of people who visit historic locations check them out first on a mobile device.

The app is available for all Android and Apple users to download free on Google Play and Apple Store.

Featuring 360 degrees imagery and footage, the journey begins in a virtual glen complete with moo-ing Highland cow, crackling fire and bellowing stag.

From there, users 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, or in 360˚ view using gyroscope technology in phone mode.

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

During 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, which 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.

Tourism and culture cabinet minister Fiona Hyslop 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.