Funding boost to tap into Fife’s growing tourism market

Dunfermline Abbey (Pic: VisitScotland)
Dunfermline Abbey (Pic: VisitScotland)

Fife has scooped £200,000 of funding to develop new ways of showcasing the region to tourists.

The money will tap into the latest technology to create new tours, and bring businesses together to ensure they don’t miss out on any markets.

The money has come from £200,000 allocated to create authentic augmented reality experiences in Dunfermline and the Heartlands of Fife – which includes Kirkcaldy.

It will help to fund guided walking tours, led by Welcome Ambassadors, as well as opportunities for visitors to walk and drive around the region under their own steam.

The Heartlands project will also 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 the region.

Visit Scotland research in 2016 found that 53 per cent of visitors got their information by talking face-to-face with locals, and that was one of the most valued and positive aspects of their visit to Scotland.

A team of local volunteer Welcome Ambassadors will now be established in Dunfermline and given accredited WorldHost training to run tours so that visitors can experience Fife’s hidden gems in different locations. The funding is being matched by members of Dunfermline Heritage Partnership and the Heartlands of Fife Local Tourist Association, bringing the total to £339,567, to be managed by Fife Cultural Trust.

Other organisations involved include Fife Council, Dunfermline Delivers and Kirkcaldy4All.

Danny Cusick, Scottish Enterprise said: `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 Ian Cameron, from Dysart, welcomed the funding.

He said: 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.

Important information will be shared to help businesses plan for visitors – for example, timings of when cruise passengers will be bussed to Dunfermline by Peter Wilson, volunteer, and head of Cruise Forth.