Scottish Enterprise funding secured to enhance visitor experiences across Fife

Fri 13 Apr 18

£200,000 allocated to create authentic augmented reality experiences across the Kingdom

Dunfermline and the Heartlands of Fife has secured nearly £200,000 of funding from Scottish Enterprise to enhance the tourist experience. The funding will help create exciting augmented reality experiences in the Heartlands, and stunning guided tours across Dunfermline and west Fife, using state of the art digital technology.

As well as designing several self-guided driving and walking themed tours using digital technology, the funding will help improve the visitor experience in two other major areas. Firstly, there will be the creation of new regular professional walking tours, guided by a new team of local Welcome Ambassadors. Secondly, the finance will help businesses to work closely together, to improve the offer to visitors and, in turn, increase revenue for businesses from tourism.

The Heartlands project will see a new augmented reality ‘footsteps’ initiative created called ‘In the Footsteps of Kings and their Queens’, allowing visitors to trace the steps of historic royals in coastal and inland parts of mid Fife.  Travel between the footsteps could be by walking, cycling, car or even as part of a guided tour. 

As well as easy access to digital information, visitors value face-to-face contact with local residents.  Visit Scotland research in 2016 found that 53% of visitors got their information by talking face-to-face with locals, and cited interaction with locals as one of the most valued and positive aspects of their visit to Scotland. A team of local volunteer Welcome Ambassadors will be established in Dunfermline and given accredited WorldHost training to run tours so that visitors can experience Fife’s hidden gems in different locations.

With the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions reporting a 13.9% increase in visitors to Scotland in 2016 compared with 6.5% in Northern Ireland, and 1.2% in London, the SE funding will help Dunfermline and the Heartlands take advantage of increased tourism to Scotland. The new award-winning Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Gallery has already attracted 190,000 visitors. The hit TV series Outlander continues to attract tourists, and the release of the Outlaw King, the movie about Robert the Bruce, starring Hollywood actor Chris Pine, will shine the spotlight on the area.

The funding is being matched by members of the Dunfermline Heritage Partnership and the Heartlands of Fife Local Tourist Association, bringing the total to £339,567, to be managed by one of the lead partners, Fife Cultural Trust. Other partners include Fife Council, Dunfermline Delivers and Kirkcaldy4all, the two town centre BID companies.

Danny Cusick, Director, Food & Drink, Tourism & Textiles at Scottish Enterprise said: "Research has shown that visitors in Scotland are looking for true, authentic experiences. Dunfermline and wider Fife, has significant ancient royal connections, and this project, through the use of digital technologies and business collaboration will help to further develop the tourism offering that attracts both UK and international visitors”.

Councillor Helen Law, Fife Council said: “We’ve seen how the development of tours, such as North Coast 500, can help drive tourism.  With eight self-guided tours, around themes such as Kings and Queens, Pilgrimage, linen & damask and children’s tours, Dunfermline and the Heartlands, can attract more tourists. Businesses will be able to access better information, and, by working together, can benefit from longer stays by visitors to West Fife.”

Commenting on the funding. Councillor Ian Cameron added: “The widespread use of mobile phones and computer games are creating generations of digital natives, so to be relevant, heritage and history has to be accessible to them using their digital literacies. The ‘footsteps’ initiative is a fantastic opportunity to engage visitors in an authentic way, and will continue driving tourism to the area.”  

Events, training, a business tool kit, and a business-to-business section on a website will provide resources for businesses to help them benefit from visitors. Important information will be shared to help businesses plan for visitors, for instance, timings of when cruise passengers will be bussed to Dunfermline by volunteer, and head of Cruise Forth, Peter Wilson.

Since the Dunfermline Heritage Partnership was formed in 2016, it has been looking at how to establish and grow Dunfermline, and the surrounding area, as an attraction for tourists. Fundraising has been underway to put the building blocks in place and the DHP was pleased to announce, in addition to this award of £200,000 from Scottish Enterprise, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government, bringing the total investment in the area to £783,977.

The Dunfermline Heritage Partnership is a group of bodies working closely together to provide a joined-up heritage offer for tourists include Fife Council, Fife Cultural Trust, Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, Dunfermline Delivers, the Abbey, Historic Environment Scotland, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, Visit Scotland and Dunfermline and West Fife Local Tourist Association.

The Heartlands of Fife Local Tourist Association is made up of tourism businesses across the area, Kirkcaldy4all Business Improvement District and Historic Environment Scotland

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