Once again the bods up at Aviemore and The Cairngorms recognise the potential of new techonology in increasing information provision to visitors.
For the first time in the UK, tourists will be able to access tourist information 24/7 when three new Bluetooth terminals are launched in Aviemore and the Cairngorms. The technology is being launched by Aviemore & the Cairngorms Destination Management Ltd and will bring an end to the long-running concern held by tourism operators over the opening hours of tourist information centres not always matching visitor requirements and arrival times throughout the year.
Visitors to the Aviemore area who activate the Bluetooth reception on their mobile phones will be able to find details of local summer events. If successful the scheme will then be rolled out to provide visitors with last minute room availability, things to do, places to eat or drink, events listings for the area and local promotions.
Users will have the option to accept or reject the free content via their mobile phone and the system is set up so that no spam will be sent out from the terminals. The Bluetooth system does not rely on mobile telephone coverage, which can be a problem in the Highlands and is completely free to use for the visitor.
Alan Rankin, Chief Executive of Aviemore & the Cairngorms Destination Management Ltd, says: "Our website visitaviemore.com is very successful at providing information pre arrival and we have a printed guide of events for visitors once they are here. However, we will now be able to communicate in real time to our visitors and we are delighted to be the first in the UK to offer the technology in this way.
"With more than 1.2 million visitors throughout the year we are one of the countries leading tourist destinations, therefore it is vital that we provide the most up-to-date services possible. Given our location and the fact that we have year-round attractions, many of our visitors can arrive outside tourist information opening hours or out of season when the offices are shut. However, this new technology means visitors will always have correct and current information at their finger tips. "
The Aviemore and Cairngorms area has a wide visitor mix, attracting many young families, sports enthusiasts and media-savvy youngsters to the area. This was evident in the first stage of the pilot scheme, which took place throughout April and May and which identified 28,000 individual mobile handsets in the area that were Bluetooth enabled.
Heather Galbraith, Sustainable Tourism Officer at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: "This initiative will give visitors up to the minute information and has the potential to be used in a variety of innovative ways. For example, if bad weather closes Cairngorm Mountain, this technology could allow snow sports enthusiasts to receive an instant message telling them the mountain is closed and issue information on alternative activities instead. This scheme is an excellent example of the type of ideas that are developing within the Cairngorms National Park with funding support from Clim-ATIC, via the EU's Northern Periphery Programme."
The three trial terminals will be based around Aviemore - one in the town centre, one at Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre and one in the car park at Cairngorm Mountain. It is hoped that the scheme will be developed throughout the Cairngorms National Park later in the year.
Congratulations again Mr Rankin!