The South of Scotland Destination Alliance Conference is the key annual gathering for tourism and hospitality in the South of Scotland.

The 2024 Conference will hold special significance as it will officially launch, and bring alive, the South of Scotland Responsible Tourism Strategy, which will underpin all work, by all agencies, over the coming decade 2024-2034.

Hear from Richard Lochead, Minister for Innovation, Tourism & Trade and inspirational speaker Bruce Fummey, Scottish comedian, tour guide and Burns aficionado.

The conference will explore through facilitated small group sessions and breakouts the four strands of the Responsibile Tourism Strategy to inspire visitors to come to the South of Scotland, to develop the visitor experience with a focus on quality, to support businesses to succeed and act responsibly for long term collective benefit.

For more information and to book your tickets go here.

Join Visit Moray Speyside for the first collaboration event with Moray Climate Action Network [Moray CAN] to hear from speakers about sustainable tourism.

This event aims to highlight the significance of sustainable tourism practices, shedding light on how collective efforts can contribute to preserving the beauty of Moray.

The event will feature The Cabrach Trust, Duffus Estate, Threaplands Garden Centre, InKeith and Strathisla and WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre who are all dedicated to being a sustainable business/organisation. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the conversation and learn how you can contribute to responsible tourism while enjoying the best that Moray has to offer.

This event is delivered in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland and it is aimed at businesses and organisations within the Highland and Islands tourism sector only.

Join this interactive day-event focussed on the critical issues and opportunities shaping the landscape of the Highland & Islands Tourism sector.

Hear real stories from peers, on staff retention, attraction and innovation. With a mix of case studies, panel discussion and workshops we will touch on topics that will help your business to stay competitive.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of a solution-focused conversation, and join a day of learning, inspiration and networking.

Agenda of the event and speakers will be announced soon.

Background

Therme Group is an industry leader in the wellbeing sector with multiple major water-based wellbeing facilities throughout Europe with new facilities in the UK and Canada under construction.

Therme’s guiding philosophy is “Wellbeing for all” which delivers a holistic approach to wellbeing and includes a social outreach dimension to make the facilities available to all of the community in the city regions where they have sites. This holistic approach encompasses the aesthetics and design of the built environment, the impact of the water based, and other wellbeing treatments offered and extends to nutrition and the sources of food offered on site.

Therme UK has plans to open a major new £125M facility on the Clyde serving as the regional centre in Scotland to deliver Therme UK’s 90:90 UK access strategy. This seeks to position Therme facilities such that 90% of the UK population are within 90 minutes’ drive of a Therme facility.

The Challenge

Therme Group have five main guiding principles and areas of focus around which they build their business model and facilities. These are Health, Equity, Security, Learning and Environment. In each case they are interested in strategic research partners that can help Therme as a group deliver improved operational delivery, minimise environmental impact and ultimately improve customer experience.

They have developed subject specific strategic research & development (R&D) relationships with the University of Florence for the built environment and in Scotland they have supported research activity in the University of Glasgow and James Hutton Institute (Dundee) developing frameworks of wellbeing and food technology respectively.

The collaboration facilitated by Interface came about from the combination of a planned major facility in Glasgow and the recognition of the strength in the University of Glasgow in four key areas of research, Wellbeing Research, Informing Policy, Wellbeing Technology and Environmental Technology directly relevant to Therme’s long term needs. This led to a feasibility study, supported by Interface, which provided an evidence base for exploring the creation of a global Centre of Wellbeing Research Excellence (WellEX) in Glasgow.

The Solution

Interface made initial introduction and discussions between Therme Group and the University of Glasgow who successfully applied to the Inward investment Catalyst Fund to support a WellEX feasibility.

The basis of the feasibility study was to raise awareness of the opportunity and develop connections between senior management at the Therme Group responsible for Innovation and the relevant Business, Social Science, Health and Technology academics and departments within the University. In particular, the feasibility exercise and subsequent discussions identified four areas of future collaboration where Therme’s interests and the University of Glasgow’s expertise aligned.

These included:

Wellbeing innovations: Therme Group is primarily interested in understanding how wellbeing improvement can be brought about for individuals and populations, and the broader benefits of wellbeing on society, the economy, and the environment through evidence-based research.

Informing policy: Through close collaboration with the local government and communities, the research conducted by WellEX is expected to support the work of the University of Glasgow to explore, validate, and inform wellbeing strategies and policies at the local and national levels, working to understand the complexity of policy intervention.

Wellbeing technology: To explore, develop and test “wellbeing technology” focused on improving the effects of wellbeing innovations and users’ experience within and outside Therme Group sites.

Sustainability practices: To explore and validate sustainability practices for Therme wellbeing activities and facilities to leverage renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions.

The feasibility study validated the concept of a Global Centre of Excellence, providing an evidence base for a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding application in 2022 and ongoing funding applications.

The findings showed that the University of Glasgow was well placed to both anchor and act as an international R&D hub for Therme’s aspirations to develop a world-class centre of excellence in wellbeing. The planned development of a major new facility in Glasgow, serving the Scottish population catchment area, offers a unique opportunity to create such a WellEX and capture the significant research, societal and economic benefits this would bring to Scotland.

The University of Glasgow are commited to developing this proposition further and presenting a full business case for consideration by Therme Group, the University, and strategic partners such as Glasgow City Council and Scottish Government agencies, including Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Scottish Development International (SDI), and Scottish Enterprise (SE).

The Benefits

This project benefitted from the Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund. The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund launched by Interface and the Scottish Government promotes Scotland as a leading destination for inward investment and supports businesses not yet located in Scotland but seeking to establish stronger ties with academia here. As well as funding research and development it provides an opportunity for the company to establish relationships and give insight into other aspects of the Scottish landscape, such as further investment opportunities, supply chains and the skills base to strengthen the case for investing in Scotland.

Background

Smartify is a tech company originally based out of London.  It has developed an online platform serving the arts, culture and heritage sector, connecting destinations with their visitors. It provides cultural institutions with cutting-edge digital capabilities to manage the visitor experience; and at the same time, it acts as a platform to help them reach a broader audience. Smartify currently has a reach of over 4 million users as of June 2023.

The Challenge

Smartify was looking to develop its XR (Extended Reality) infrastructure to allow the company to develop experiences which could be easily scaled in a cost-effective manner and across multiple platforms (iOS, Android and Web).  Smartify were needing to develop a novel XR platform to be integrated within the Smartify app. They were looking for academic expertise in AR/VR/XR but also an understanding of the tourism and heritage sector.

The Solution

Smartify were already an active member of the Travel Tech for Scotland (TTfS) community with a strong customer base including Scottish National Galleries, Kelvingrove, National Museums of Scotland, Blair Castle, Highlife Highland, and National Trust for Scotland. 

Lesley Judge of TTfS referred Smartify to Interface who made them aware of the *Inward Investment Catalyst Fund. Through Interface’s search and matchmaking services, Smartify were introduced to Dr Marco Gilardi from the Division of Computing at the University of the West of Scotland, who has a wealth of experience in AR/VR/XR and has been part of an academic group providing knowledge exchange on this subject for the tourism and heritage sector. 

The project aimed to support the company in developing XR applications using web technologies and, in the process, help them develop their market presence in Scotland. The objective of the project was to develop proof of concepts and test them with the market which was achieved successfully with a commercial project delivered as result. 

*The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund has been set up by Interface and the Scottish Government to attract and support businesses, not yet located in Scotland to collaborate with academic institutions on their research and development activity to strengthen the case for developing a base in Scotland. 

The Benefits

For the Company

For the University

For Scotland

The award-winning event series, Art of Possible returns in August alongside the World Cycling Championships, and this time we will explore how innovation and technology can unlock Scotland’s pedal-based transport industry.

Art of Possible: Beyond Bikes – Unlocking Scotland’s pedal-based transport industry
14.00 – 17.00 on 8 Aug 2023
Free, In-person at Glasgow Science Centre, and livestreamed

Cycling is one of Scotland’s fastest growing sectors, with huge research and development potential for associated industries. Join Glasgow City of Science and Innovation as they bring together the tech and innovation community for the chance to network over beers, wine and nibbles – and hear how our SMEs are leading the way to developing sustainable, practical alternatives to traditional forms of transport – from electric pedal-assisted vehicles to innovative cycling accessories!

The event will also include a special-edition exhibition where you can network, meet the companies shaking up Scotland’s cycling industry and experience the latest tech from virtual reality to space data-based products and the newest e-bikes disrupting the pedal-based markets.

As well as hosting the inaugural Cycling World Championships this year (bringing together 13 international competitions in one country for the first time in 2023), Scotland is home to the Mountain Biking Centre of Scotland (MTBCOS), the world’s first centre for open innovation in the mountain bike industry – and a new Innovation Centre at Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders, providing industry support with market research, developing, testing and launching new products. With strong infrastructure and market opportunities, the future of the Scottish bike industry is bright. Hear how new tech and innovations in the circular economy and remanufacturing are revolutionising the industry.

Scotland’s commitment to reaching Net Zero means that businesses have realised that sustainability is essential to making their business fit for the future.

Whether its reducing carbon emissions, managing resources more efficiently or a commitment towards continuous improvement, introducing changes now will bring many benefits to businesses and also the environment, society and economy.

At this event you will hear from Gail Cleaver, Operations Manager, National Trust for Scotland – Culloden Cluster about how they are developing solutions to ensure more sustainable tourism. You will learn about their e-bike points, and their work to reduce single use plastic, their efforts to source 100% recycled retail products, and learn more about conservation grazing – using livestock to help restore the balance to natural habitats that have become overgrown or in poor quality and increase biodiversity to those areas.

Takeaways from the session:

Get ready to discuss with your peers about what sustainability means to your organisation and share what actions you are taking to reduce your carbon footprint. Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, this event is for you.

The event will take place online and will be interactive with group discussion, Q&A and networking opportunities.

With digital increasingly driving transformative new national and international opportunities for the creative and heritage sectors across the Highlands and Islands, Shared Perspectives offers a thought-provoking one day conference exploring what this could mean for your business, project, organisation or network.

Delivered by XpoNorth Digital, this free event will take a practical look at how digital technologies are unlocking ambitious new areas for regional businesses. It will also offer a platform for creative and heritage networks to meet with other sectors, make new connections and discuss collaborative approaches to shared challenges and opportunities.

Hear from a range of inspirational speakers and take part in workshop sessions on how digital storytelling can drive key parts of your business, regional impact and opportunities around the use of AI, crowdsourcing for the heritage sector and how creativity can power rural economies. There will also be an opportunity to meet 1-2-1 with XpoNorth Digital’s specialist advisors, HIE’s Creative Industries team and members of local development networks.

One-to-one sessions are now available to book on the day with our XpoNorth Digital Sector Specialists:

-Jessica Fox, Screen and Broadcast Specialist Advisor

-Nicola Henderson, Heritage Specialist Advisor

-Tim Wright, Digital Specialist Advisor

Email info@xponorth.co.uk to secure your space!

Produced as a hybrid event, attendees can connect with the programme in-person or online.

Scotland’s national parks and rural and coastal spaces are developing diverse projects deploying sensors, IoT, digital tools such as apps and dashboards to help manage visitors responsibly. This workshop, in partnership with CENSIS, explores how data collected from sensor projects can be used strategically. We’ll also learn more about some of the work being developed in visitor destinations to understand how digital tools such as apps can influence visitor behaviour, and get an introduction to some of them from those active in visitor management across Scotland.

This event is aimed at: Organisations and stakeholders involved in managing responsible tourism; visitor spaces, tourism networks, councils and third sector organisations.

Speakers:

Register here to attend.